Post Workout Muscle Recovery Tips – Recover Faster After Weight Training

Top Tips for Faster Muscle Recovery - strip image

There are few things better than the afterglow of a good gym session, but when that wears off you can find yourself feeling sore and achy. This is completely normal and is a sign that your body has undergone the necessary stress for muscle growth. In this post, we are going to give you some of our top tips for speeding up the recovery process.

Eat these essential foods for quicker muscle recovery

Think about muscle recovery from your body’s perspective. Training, whether it be cardio or strength, is a form of stress that causes damage to the muscles’ microfibers.

Your body responds to this by healing the area, leading to muscle growth. To do this, it requires certain nutrients – these act as the building blocks of new muscle – and water, which it uses to transport nutrients around the body. This is why nutrition and hydration is such an important part of gym aftercare.

Nourish yourself

The nutrients that the body most needs at this time are protein, vitamin C and zinc.

We always encourage people to get their protein from whole foods, rather than protein products. Why? It is cheaper and it cuts out the sugar or chemical sweeteners that are typically used to make these things palatable.

Good sources of protein for speedy muscle repair

  • Lean meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Yoghurt (especially Skyr)
  • Beans
  • Veggie products like Quorn.

Vitamin C is found in fresh fruit and vegetable. Zinc is in red meat and poultry and is also in chickpeas, beans and nuts. You can easily imagine how one meal could contain all of these nutrients e.g. chicken breast salad.

Guides related to healing your body in less time

What are some good supplements for muscle recovery?

As we have just mentioned, it is better to get your protein from good quality whole foods – this goes for vitamin C and zinc too. In addition to being cheaper, getting your nutrition through your diet should help to improve bioavailability and to prevent overdose. Bioavailability is essentially how ‘available’ a nutrient is to your body, i.e. how much of it you can absorb.

Protein absorption is improved when combined with something acidic, as this helps your body to break down the protein molecules. Zinc absorption is better when protein is present. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is readily absorbable.

This might sound complicated, but a varied diet will take care of this for you.

How much protein do you need for muscle recovery?

Going back to our chicken salad example, the chicken contains protein and zinc, and if we say that you have some tomatoes on your plate then there is an acidic element too. If you took a separate protein, vitamin C and zinc supplement then you would have to think about how these things interact and time them appropriately.

It is also important to think about the total intake of these nutrients.

Excess protein can, over time, damage the liver. Too much vitamin C generally passes through the body unused and therefore is a waste of money, but long-term overdosing can lead to kidney stones. Zinc shows its effect much sooner, through stomach cramps and digestive problems. Generally speaking, it is much easier to overdo things when popping pills than when chomping through good whole foods.

Do massage guns speed up muscle recovery?

Massaging using massage gun

Massage guns use the force of percussive therapy to manipulate your body’s soft tissue.

A massage gun is a handy tool that gets right into the sources of your muscles aches and physically works through the area. The vibration from the gun promotes circulation, so oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood gets to the recovery site sooner. It helps with lymphatic drainage too, which is essentially the removal of toxins. And it reduces stiffness, allowing you to move with less pain.

There is a massage gun to suit every budget. Generally, the more upscale you go, the better the quality and the wider range of attachment heads (these can be useful for getting at specific injuries and body parts).

Can a massage gun replace stretching?

Massage guns, however, are not a replacement for stretching. If you ache, then you need to be stretching 3 times a day. This forces the muscle to loosen and promotes healing.

Take an Epsom salt bath to speed up muscle recovery

Another good way of dealing with sore muscles is by soaking in a hot bath, especially one with Epsom salt. Epsom salt contains magnesium salts, which have been proven to have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect.

It is best to keep bath time to about 15-20 minutes though if you soak for longer than this then your skin will dry out because the heat of the bath causes oil to seep out of the pores.

Pain medications – a quick path to tissue repair?

Sometimes your pain can be in a really fun spot and nothing seems to help. In this situation, ibuprofen can help. Should it be your first line of action? No. Should you take it regularly? No. But do not be afraid to reach for pain medication if you really need it.

As always, make sure to check in with your form and weight load if you are regularly feeling sore after strength training.

Reference and Further Reading

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