If you worked out today, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re doing awesome things for your health. Regardless, know that this is just one part of the game. Recovery matters even more. This is the period after a workout when all the good stuff happens. The fact is that all the benefits of exercise happen afterward. Muscles don’t grow as you lift, and pounds don’t melt as you run.
Even the heart doesn’t get stronger as you break a sweat. Everything happens as your body repairs itself. Here’s where you come in! With the right post-workout habits, recovery will be the best that it can be. This will make sure that your hard work pays off. Check out these five ways to recover even better than you train.
Ways To Recover After You Train
1. Supplement With BCAAs
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are needed for protein synthesis. They also make up 35 percent of
To replenish your levels, take BCAA supplements. This will delay muscle soreness, maintain protein synthesis, and improve muscle growth. Don’t let those reps go to waste! For best results, The Journal Of Nutrition recommends taking BCAA supplements before and after exercise.1
2. Fuel Up On Antioxidants
After working out, oxidative stress increases. This is your body’s way of reacting to the physical exertion. However, high levels of oxidative stress can damage cell membranes, something you want to avoid.2 With antioxidant-rich foods, you can do just that. Berries are at the top of the list. Eat them as a post-workout snack or mix them into a smoothie. Green tea, pomegranates, and curly kale are also packed with antioxidants.3
3. Visit The Sauna
There’s a reason why so many gyms have saunas. Heat therapy preserves and protects muscle mass. It also decreases oxidative stress, a major factor of muscle atrophy.4
Heat will also help the neuromuscular
4. Meditate After Your Workout
That’s right. After getting physical, it’s a good idea to zone out and relax. A 2016 study in Translational Psychiatry found that exercise plus meditation reduces depression. Each activity has its benefits, but the combination makes it even better. At the same time, the combo enhances brain activity and the effects of exercise. All it takes is 30 minutes of focused-attention meditation.7
5. Never Stop Moving After Your Workout
A hardcore workout isn’t an excuse to veg out in front the television. Sure, you might feel sore, but staying still won’t do any good. Remember, oxidative stress increases when muscles are immobile. Don’t make it worse. Instead, stay active with light and easy exercise. Take brisk walks and do low-intensity stretches. This way, you can keep your body “awake” while letting it rest.
When you’re not working out, don’t forget about hydration. Drinking enough water will support your body before, during, and after exercise. Be mindful of meals and snacks, even on days when you don’t work out. It will all add up.
|↑1||Shimomura, Yoshiharu, Taro Murakami, Naoya Nakai, Masaru Nagasaki, and Robert A. Harris. “Exercise promotes BCAA catabolism: effects of BCAA supplementation on skeletal muscle during exercise.” The Journal of nutrition 134, no. 6 (2004): 1583S-1587S.|
|↑2||Selsby, Joshua T., and Stephen L. Dodd. “Heat treatment reduces oxidative stress and protects muscle mass during immobilization.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative
|↑3||Carlsen, Monica H., Bente L. Halvorsen, Kari Holte, Siv K. Bøhn, Steinar Dragland, Laura Sampson, Carol Willey et al. “The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide.” Nutrition journal 9, no. 1 (2010): 3.|
|↑4||Selsby, Joshua T., and Stephen L. Dodd. “Heat treatment reduces oxidative stress and protects muscle mass during immobilization.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 289, no. 1 (2005): R134-R139.|
|↑5||Mero, Antti, Jaakko Tornberg, Mari Mäntykoski, and Risto Puurtinen. “Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men.” SpringerPlus 4, no. 1 (2015): 321.|
|↑6||Laukkanen, Tanjaniina, Hassan Khan, Francesco Zaccardi, and Jari A. Laukkanen. “Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events.” JAMA internal medicine 175, no. 4 (2015): 542-548.|
|↑7||Alderman, B. L., R. L. Olson, C.