What to do when you’ve over done it: Muscle Recovery 101

Summer in a great time for overindulgences. But unlike the sweet overindulgences of the winter holidays, summer we overindulgences include things like too much mountain biking, beach volley ball, or crossfit, after which it hurts to laugh, it hurts to sit down at your desk, it hurts to stand up again. What do you do when you’ve over done it? In this post we take a look at muscle recovery.

Here are four very important elements of post workout self-care that will ease your recovery and help you better enjoy those muscles you’ve spent so much time building.

Hydration
Stay hydrated during your workout! Staying hydrated during and after working out will help flush toxins and lactic acid from your system. And keep a water bottle with you, so you can stay focused on your workout rather than on the drinking fountain.

Rehydrate after your workout, but choose your post-workout beverage wisely. A beer might seem the perfect post-workout beverage. It contains carbs, electrolytes, and plant-based nutrients. Cheers, mates. Beer certainly has its qualities, but alcohol will actually leave your body dehydrated. It is somewhat counterintuitive – it’s a liquid, right? But all liquids are not created equal. Recent studies suggest that alcohol might even hinder your muscle recovery after exercise. One beer won’t kill you, but if you do indulge, make sure you also drink plenty of water.

Nutrition
Your muscles take their fuel from glucose (from carbohydrates), fatty acids (from fat), and amino acids (from protein). During an intense workout, muscles deplete your body’s stores of these goodies.

What you eat after your workout might just be your most important food of the day.  Because your circulation is accentuated right after you workout, your nutritional intake is elevated. The fuel you consume at this time is automatically used to replenish energy and for muscle recovery. Choose high quality foods rich in protein and carbs, low in fat.

Rest
Get some sleep: this is the time the body repairs and strengthens itself. Getting enough sleep before and after working out is essential to mental health, hormone balance, and muscle recovery.

Active Muscle Recovery
Active muscle recovery happens in the hours immediately after a strenuous workout. Staying active at a lower intensity will keep your blood circulating, help prevent some aches and pains, and can speed up your recovery time. Take a walk, a swim, or practice yoga. A couple gentle laps or sun salutations will lengthen some of the muscles you’ve tightened up in your work out.