To build muscle and strength you have likely signed up to your local gym, and have then proceeded to workout as often as you can.
The problem is that despite your best efforts you are not seeing any muscle gains. What is the reason?
Are you allowing your muscles to recover between workouts? If not then this is probably a good reason why you are not seeing gains.
The following are some post-workout recovery tips that will help you to recover from your workouts.
Why Is Recovery So Important?
When your muscle fibres are torn during exercise it can take between 24-48 hours to repair the damage.
Working the same muscle too soon will cause further muscle damage rather than the repair and growth you are looking for.
This is why it is often recommended to avoid working the same muscle group on consecutive days.
Those looking to build muscle often split workouts, sometimes using an upper and lower body split. This allows adequate time to recover.
Tips For Post Workout Recovery
You should follow these tips if you want to aid your recovery from working out:
#1: Hold Back A Little
Quite often you will read or hear that you should give 100% in the gym. While it is important that you push yourself you should never push yourself so hard that you are feeling the damage days later.
Destroying yourself each workout will stop your body from building muscle as you will be in a constant state of repair.
#2: Look At What You Eat
Obviously, the foods you eat have an impact on how much muscle you are able to build.
Good quality protein and complex carbohydrates should be consumed both before and after a workout.
It is best to consume them 2 hours beforehand to avoid any potential digestive issues when you work out.
#3: Stretch Thoroughly
Stretching before you work out is incredibly important because if your muscles and joints are tight then your range of motion will be limited.
It has been shown that stretching can help to relieve muscular tension, helping to relieve muscle soreness.
#4: Drink A Protein Shake
If you are not consuming enough protein then you will struggle to repair the damaged muscle fibres torn during your workouts.
One of the quickest ways of getting protein into your body is through a protein shake.
I would also recommend consuming a fast-acting carbohydrate post-workout. This will help to restore your glycogen levels, which will help to restore energy and will help to increase insulin production.
Insulin is anabolic and will help prevent the breakdown of protein. It also helps to stimulate protein synthesis.
#5: Drink Water After You Workout
During exercise, you will likely sweat, so these lost fluids will need to be replaced.
Water is a good choice as it helps support your metabolic function and will help transfer nutrients around your body.
#6: Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Eating potassium-rich foods like bananas and mashed potato is a good idea after your workout.
This is because when you have worked out your potassium levels may be low. The problem with this is that potassium and minerals like sodium and calcium play a key role in muscular energy.
#7: Take An Ice Bath
Alternating between hot and cold showers can help you to recover from exercise.
Water therapy helps to constrict and dilate your blood vessels. This helps your body flush out toxins, and in turn, helps reduce muscle soreness.
#8: Bath In Epsom salts
Epsom salts contain magnesium sulphate that has been shown to flush toxins from your body, helping to reduce inflammation in your muscles.
Taking a bath in Epsom salts has also been shown to relieve chronic stress, which has been shown to improve recovery too.
Most of us do not get enough sleep, which can have a negative effect on your bodies ability to repair itself.
During sleep, your body is actively repairing itself so getting a minimum of 7 hours sleep each night is incredibly important.
I would recommend knocking off all of your devices before you go to bed, this includes your phone, and to leave them out of your bedroom.
#10: Active Recovery
While it is important now and then to have a day off where you are not doing anything, you cannot discount the benefits of active recovery too.
With active recovery, you are not necessarily pushing yourself too hard, but you are not doing nothing either.
It has been shown that activities like walking or a short bike ride can stimulate blood flow and circulation, therefore helping to improve recovery.
#11: Have A Massage
Another method shown to improve circulation is having a massage. This can also help with relaxation, which will relieve stress. Leading us onto our next point.
#12: Reduce Stress
The stress you experience when you workout is good for you. However, the stress you experience in your day to day life is not.
A stressful life full of deadlines and a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your ability to recover from exercise. And therefore your ability to build muscle.
Luckily there are things you can do that can help to relieve stress. For instance having hobbies that you enjoy, or yoga and deep breathing exercises.
#13: Listen To Music
Up-tempo music while you workout has its benefits, but so does slow tempo music after a workout.
Slow music has been shown to reduce blood pressure and pulse rate post-workout.
#14: Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Do you enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink? If so then you may want to rethink this activity.
It has been shown that having more than a couple of drinks could reduce your bodies ability to recover from exercise.
#15: Use A Natural Anti-Inflammatory
If you are in pain post-workout then you may be tempted to pop a few NSAIDs like Ibuprofen or Aspirin. Unfortunately, while these will reduce the pain they have also been shown to hinder muscle growth.
Your better option would be a natural anti-inflammatory like turmeric or ginger. Research has found that this help speeds up recovery.
The above tips will aid your recovery, but the one tip we haven’t mentioned is to listen to your own body.
If you notice that you are struggling during your workouts, or are feeling tired and lethargic then perhaps you need to take a bigger break between workouts. Maybe even take a week off from training.
Learning to listen to what your body needs is key to progression. Failure to do so could potentially lead to overtraining and potential injury.
For more muscle building tips you should check out Skinny2Fit.com.