Post Workout: 7 golden rules for an optimal recovery.
What if I ask you, which is the best machine to use in the gym for muscle grow? You’re still thinking? Obviously none of them will make you “bigger” but they all play an unique role; destroy weaker muscle fibers to build stronger and thicker ones in order to deal better with the fatigue in the next sessions … Adaptability is the prerogative of the human species and this is one of the reasons why we survived until now.
Now that we know we are not going to die after an exhausting session in the gym, let’s see what’s the best we can do in order to optimize the recovery process at its best.
From the moment you leave the gym you reap the full benefits, the same that will follows you for a long run.
These are, in my opinion, the seven golden rules you need to follow in order to get all the possible benefits from your workout:
1. BRING DOWN YOUR HEART-RATE
Because the recovery process starts before you leave the gym.
If you stop exercising suddenly, without giving time to your body to cool-down, the heart rate will slowdown sharply and all the additional blood that was brought in the peripheral areas of your body will stay there which no longer having the need of the fluid since workout is done so, in some cases, this process can cause dizziness and fainting especially if the session was intense and the person doesn’t have that much experience. So, never stop and go home, but always bring time to your heart to get to the normal resting rate gradually with a useful cool-down stretching routine.
It is a vital mineral and it helps our muscles during the contraction/relaxation action, most of the its ions are inside the muscle cells. Potassium plays an important role to the new muscle tissue’s growth and improves the release of energy by the metabolism which contributes in muscle strength. If you have low levels of potassium in the blood, you might be suffering of muscle cramps. Bananas are rich in potassium and they are the best choice for the immediate post-workout meal.
The contrast shower consists of alternating between hot and cold water, it relieves muscle pain, it soothe your body after a hard workout and improves your immune system. Our body reacts to extreme temperatures and it will dilate and constrict blood vessels, facilitating the expulsion of metabolic waste of the muscles and replacing the space with oxygen and nutrients.
How it works? Start with 5-10 minutes of hot water then, alternate one minute of cold water followed by one minute of hot water and repeat the cycle for three/four times.
4. DRINK, DRINK AND DRINK (Water, of Course :D).
In one hour of exercise the body can lose more than a liter of water (heat and humidity can increase its consumption).
It is very important to be sure to drink enough before, during and after training. Having enough water in our body can reduce our recovery time since it helps to bring back the electrolyte balance to normal.
As the body loses its electrolytes through sweat, the imbalance can lead to symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea and mental confusion.
Remember! A workout with a complete absence of water it drastically lengthen the recovery time.
Water also plays an important role in the lubrication of the body joints and tissues in order to remain elastic, it also helps to reduce pain in joints and muscles and increases flexibility.
As we mentioned before, exercise stimulates muscles to produce more specific proteins suitable to recover and grow stronger for the next training sessions so, you probably understand that taking the right amount of protein after your workout is the key to promote and maximize this process at its best.
There’s a theory called “The Window of Opportunity” that says you have about 45 minutes after a workout to consume them in order to accelerate body’s ability to recover, develop muscle mass and to better respond to the exercises.
How much proteins do we need to take?
The authors of the International Olympic Committee have found that the amount of protein needed to maximize the response to post-workout exercise is up to 20/25 grams ( if the body weight is approx 70/80kg).
6. MYOFASCIAL RELEASE
Myo whaaaaat ??? the Self Myofascial Release(SMR) is a a new technique introduced in the recent years and is increasingly being used by fitness and rehabilitation professionals in order to improve myofascial mobility. The SMR is commonly performed by using a Foam Roller. In this way, by rolling your body on the area concerned, you will get a self massage adjustable by duration, pressure and rolling speed. You must roll to the direction of the muscle development and you must feel pain during this action otherwise, you either not rolling properly or simply you are not sore/stiff enought in that area.
You have to stop before touching the joints and you have to work in a single muscle district at once (for example hamstrings). There is scientific evidence that indicate this tool can also improve the range of motion (ROM) and the recovery process by reducing the late effects of post-workout muscle soreness (DOMS).
Sleeping 7/8 hours a night is very important for muscle recovery.
Our body continues to repair its muscle while we sleep, the lack of it could seriously interfere with muscles to grow properly.
During the restful sleep there is an increase in protein synthesis that repair all the damaged tissues and builds new muscle fibers; it happens mainly due to the growth hormone (GH) which promotes this process, this is vital for anyone who looks to improve muscle mass and volume. Workouts promote the release of GH in the blood for sure but, most of GH release occurs during sleep so, sleep tight.
It’s a commonplace to think that if you train hard then you feel fulfilled with your consciousness for a little while and maybe you just let yourself go to unnecessary habits like eating disorders or not having the proper rest … well, now you know it’s a big mistake though..
Recovery is just as important as your workout routine and it needs to be purposeful.
If you see yourself getting stronger, leaner and (if you are a bodybuilder) bigger, then you are on the right track.
BUT: Beware of over-training and be sure to rest enough between workouts, without the proper recovery, it will go almost wasted.
Have a good post-workout then!
Written By Tony Pantano