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In the end, muscles need repeated workouts to adapt and become stronger. One secret to improving your endurance and strength is effective recovery. The quicker your body recovers, the sooner you can look towards your next workout. Here’s a handful of easy and very effective ways to speed up your recovery.
The bottom line; recovery helps you get back into action.
1. Take an Active Rest Day: I’ve lived my whole athletic career living by the saying, “Train into shape, rest into fitness.” To me, this means it’s best to spend several weeks building up to tougher and tougher workouts, then rest the muscles so that they can become stronger. Go out for a good workout, then come home crawling with exhaustion.
Greg LeMond once said that he would never take a rest day. On his rest days, he would roll around the neighborhood cruising in only easy gears. He wouldn’t go hard or strain his muscles. He simply didn’t like that stale feeling after a day without moving the muscles a bit.
Go for a rest day, but do something to move the blood around. Give your muscles time to mend, but keep your muscles feeling fresh by doing something active.
2. Get a Massage: Massaging muscles helps move blood through, unties “knots” that have built up with your connective tissues and reduces swelling. Take it easy, don't press hard, your muscles may feel tender.
3. Take an Ice Bath: It’s an intimidating thought for some (especially me!) however ice baths are also very effective in reducing core body temperatures and can effectively reduce soreness and inflammation. Fill the bathtub with cold water and throw in a bunch of ice. Afterward, your muscles will feel fresh, relaxed and cool. You may also experience more comfortable sleeping.
4. Eat Something: After your workout, your muscles are eager to start the recovery process, therefore absorption happens quicker. Focus on protein and complex carbs for your immediate recovery nutrition. Begin refueling within 30 minutes after your workout. This is especially important for events that last for multiple days (e.g. stage races).
5. Use Compression Garments: For most of us we’d like to recover from a tough workout then, the next day, get back to another tough workout. Research has shown that compression garments can help improve recovery time.
6. Use Consistent and Proper Nutrition:Proper nutrition is not easy in our way of life. We all have to work at it and be consistent. We always recommend using real food as your foundation of nutrition. Using supplements, like a multivitamin, will help ensure that you aren't deficient in any essential nutrient. Take Beetroot Pro and Endurance360 to help enhance your recovery and protect against muscle cramps.
Do compression garments enhance the active recovery process after high-intensity running?Lowvell, D.I., Mason, D.G., Delphinus, E.M., et al. School of Health and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011 Dec;25(12):3264-8
[Cooling makes recovery of muscle faster after eccentric-concentric than concentric exercise]. Sipaviciene, S., Skurvydas, A., Ramanauskiene, I., et al. Lietuvos kūno kultūros akademija. Medicina. 2008;44(3):225-31
Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. Karp, J.R., Johnston, J.D., Tecklenburg, S., et al. Dept of Kinesiology and Applied Health Science, Human Performance Laboratory, Indiana University. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006 Feb;16(1):78-91
Sleep, recovery, and performance: the new frontier in high-performance athletics. Samuels, C. Centre for Sleep and Human Performance. Neurologic Clinics. 2008 Feb;26(1):169-80; ix-x.