are you’ve been doing recovery all wrong – here’s what you need to know.
After a hard workout, whether in the gym, running on the road, or smashing a functional training session, you can’t underestimate the need for recovery. No matter how hard you work out, if you’re not recovering properly, and not within the recovery period then chances are you’re losing out on muscle gains and quite frankly looking like the next Zac Efron in Baywatch.
If you don’t want this to be you, then you need to optimise and get the most out of your recovery period.
What is the recovery period?
Many researchers agree that there is a period of 30-minutes following exercise that is essential to optimise recovery. During this period, it is advised to consume a high-protein snack whether this is a protein bar, whey protein shake, or even canned tuna.
Essentially, consuming protein during this small chunk of time is shown to increase protein synthesis, helping our muscles repair and rebuild much quicker than not utilising the given window. Therefore, resulting in less soreness the day after your workout, as well as the ability to workout harder each session, as well as more often, resulting in further gains in both strength and muscle.
However, the importance of carbohydrates following an intense workout is often overlooked. During exercise, our glycogen stores deplete (carbohydrate), therefore, replacing these stores as soon as possible reduces fatigue and increases energy – a must-have if you want to feel somewhat human once finishing your workout.
Therefore, whether you choose to eat foods high in protein and carbohydrates after exercise, or just high in protein, make sure to consume plenty of carbohydrates as soon as possible. This could simply mean drinking your protein shake on the way back from the gym, where then you’ll prepare a full nutritious meal.
As well as consuming high-protein snacks, getting in some light static-stretching following your workout is always a great idea. This allows us to increase our flexibility, range of motion, and most importantly reduces our risk of injury by flushing the toxins out of our soon-to-be sore muscles.
As well as stretching, a great myofascial release is foam rolling. This too will provide a great stretch for the muscles and reduce our risk of injury – preventing us from being side-lined from our favourite sport or away from those gym gains.
Finally, as well as consuming a high-protein snack, plenty of carbohydrates, and stretching, you will also see benefit to supplementing Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) into your diet. Various scientific studies have shown BCAAs to be effective in reducing muscle soreness and DOMS, allowing you to hit the gym with less fatigue the next day allowing you to push through those heavier sets.
The bottom line
Recovery is no joke. If you want to make gains in the gym, don’t want to walk like you’re heading to the toilet, or simply want to feel great following your workout then you cannot overlook the important of recovery, in particular, the recovery period of 30-minutes.