Beginner athletes and inexperienced fitness enthusiasts spend much time at the gym. For them, intense workouts and training could lead them to their goals.
However, new studies learned that post-workout recovery is as crucial as any strength and weight training or other exercise programs. Adding a rest day to your workout routine will allow you to recuperate and strengthen your tired muscles.
Recreational athletes can also benefit from engaging in active recovery. It helps them keep a more workable balance between their family, career, and fitness goals.
If you have yet to incorporate recovery into your workout routine, these factors will convince you about the importance of this activity in your workout routine.
Why is Recovery Crucial During Workouts?
Intense physical activities like bodyweight exercises and weightlifting develop micro-tears in the muscles. These tears will become more prominent if you do not allow your body to heal. Thus, making your muscles swollen, exhausted, and inflamed.
Experts share that recovery is as essential as your workouts to help your body reach its full potential. They also explain that rest and recovery are the secrets to improving mobility and establishing a suitable range of motion while exercising.
With proper recovery, your body can prevent the adverse side effects of excessive workouts, like muscle and joint pain and a weaker immune system. Most importantly, recovery will help your muscles grow as the micro-tears heal.
What Can Recovery Do for Your Body?
Getting an adequate amount of rest after every workout comes with numerous physical and psychological benefits. It includes:
Encourages Muscle Recovery
Muscle glycogen is the source of the muscle's metabolic fuel. Glycogen is where energy from carbohydrates is stored. The fact is that muscles need plenty of energy to move.
During exercise, the muscle glycogen stores are depleted, making your muscle tissue break down. If you have enough time for rest, your body can naturally address these issues by repairing tissue damage and replenishing your lost muscle glycogen.
Without sufficient time to replenish your body's glycogen stores and let your muscles recuperate, your body's performance will weaken. It may also lead to constant body pains.
Helps Defeat Adaptation
Based on the principle of adaptation, the body adapts and increases its efficiency when it feels the intensity of physical exercise. It can be challenging the first time, but you will get used to it in the long run.
However, the body also knows its limits before it ends up in injury. For example, if you exert too much effort too fast, you may damage your muscles. On the other hand, doing minimal workouts at a slower pace will also prevent you from seeing any improvement in your performance.
Because of this, professional trainers create customized programs that increase the intensity and time of the training at a calculated rate. They also include adequate time for resting.
Athletes and gym buffs taking reduced rest and recovery days are at risk of the overtraining syndrome.
According to studies, about 60% of elite athletes and approximately 30% of non-elite endurance athletes deal with this syndrome. Once they have it, it could be hard to recover from it.
For this reason, fitness experts recommend doing interval workouts for better performance.
Phil Ellison, a senior Triathlon coach from Total Tri Training, explained that an interval session involves a work period with higher-intensity training followed by a rest period for recovery. According to the expert, the athletes who follow this training will have a better workload than those who insist on having continuous workouts.
However, he also reiterated that too much of everything would affect the training's outcome. Again, too much work or rest will not do the body any good. So always find the right balance between working out and recovery to achieve your body goals.
Aside from reducing the stress on your body, a recovery period from workouts can also benefit your mind.
If you have at least one day away from the gym, you can add more free time to your hectic schedule. In addition, you can use it to do other things you love, like spending time with family and friends.
Your brain also reminds you to rest from your usual workout routine.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), changes in behavior or mood, like irritability and mood shifts, can signify that you are overexerting yourself. You may also experience insomnia and an intense craving for comfort food if you deprive yourself of a recovery period.
Best Methods for Muscle Recovery
Maximize your muscle recovery period by doing the following techniques.
1. Stretch and Cool Down
The simplest but often neglected muscle recovery method is stretching.
If you do cool-down exercises like stretches, your body releases and eliminates lactic acid to speed up your post-workout recovery. It will also help reduce the risk of muscle stiffness and cramps and prevent strains on your muscles and joints.
However, please always remember to do the best stretches for your body. It would be best to learn from a personal trainer which methods are effective for you.
2. Understand Proper Nutrition and Hydration
Your body needs nutritional replenishments after an intense workout. Since you put a lot of stress on your muscles, consuming adequate amounts of protein is necessary to boost your muscle strength and enhance muscle mass.
Studies suggest that consuming 0.4 to 0.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight during and after workout sessions can help maximize muscle growth.
Aside from eating protein-rich foods, you may add supplements like Extreme Endurance to your diet during recovery. It can help reduce the production of Creatine Kinase for faster muscle recovery.
Supplements with Creatine Monohydrate and Lactate like Creatine-JB also help boost recovery by encouraging faster muscle growth. In addition, adding Protein supplements ensures the consumption of this nutrient in your body while in recovery mode.
You may add more carbohydrates to your nutrition consumption by taking Fuel-5 to maintain energy and reduce the risk of cramps and muscle burn.
3. Get Some Sleep
Sleeping is also crucial for muscle recovery. However, you must ensure that you get plenty of quality sleep after an extreme workout.
Lack of proper sleep for a night or two can affect the quality of your performance. It can also drastically change your hormone levels, especially those involved in stress, muscle building, muscle recovery, and overall body performance.
In addition, lack of sleep can weaken the activity of the human growth hormone, which is crucial for tissue repair. So always have at least seven to nine hours of quality sleep for proper muscle recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should You Rest Your Muscles?
Resting from your workout routine is ideal every three to five training days. However, for intense cardio workouts, consider doing more regular rest days.
What Should You Eat During Recovery Days?
Boost your muscle recovery by consuming protein-rich foods for muscle growth and repair and carbohydrates for glycogen.
Can You Eat Less During Recovery Days?
If you watch your calories for weight loss, you may reduce your food consumption during your post-workout recovery period. But you may add supplements to your diet to ensure you get the proper nutrition.
Take Your Time to Rest and Recover for Better Muscle Health
Always remember that proper recovery from workouts is crucial to building and maintaining muscle mass. It is also necessary to reduce your chances of having injuries.
Remember, too much of everything can be harmful. So take a break from your workouts to help your muscle recover.