You’ve made THE decision – to burn calories and get crazy in the gym. This will surely produce lean muscle mass, you’ll be thinner and more fit. Just lift heavy, run faster and try harder – and remember, that voice in your head is always right.
Well, even if this looks like a bad TV commercial from the `80s, a lot of people accidentally fall into this trap. They are trying and trying, but the performance only gets worse, they feel more stressed and sensitive to injuries and weight gain. Why is this so?
Muscle growth begins the moment after you induced them to proper recovery. In the gym, muscles suffer micro tears due to the process called catabolism. This basically means you’ve broken them – but your body could repair, only if you recover properly.
While we rest, our body is working in our favor and that is to reduce the stress we’ve put on it. See, a muscle needs up to 48 hours to repair and rebuild. Pushing it may cause the tissue to breakdown instead of building it. You should never work for the same muscle groups two days in a row, get them enough time to repair and regain strength.
Training or physical effort never goes alone without the emotional stressors -like work, relationships, family, financial or other demands. Keep your mental and emotional health strong, let it heal and grow together with your gym body.
As well as you must prioritize your pre-workout, you’ll have to maximize recovery. This will get you maximum gains. This means, nutrition, supplementation, hydrating and rest. Have you ever wondered what happens to people who reduce their calories too drastically while training heavy?
They can easily burn out. How’s that?
Well, they lose strength and fitness, experience an excessive amount of joint and muscle pain and may even experience changes in mood, such as major depression. These symptoms may be followed by significant sleep disruption, immunity problems (illnesses, infections) or hormonal changes.
And even if you are just feeling “the blues”, feeling sore or moody, or anxious, you might be overstretching.
Luckily, there is a solution to this.
Just Do the Fundamentals
Please, by any means necessary:
- get enough quality sleep
- watch closer on your diet
- establish your own recovery protocols and stick to it
Already scared for not reading anything about supplements? Supplements always follow the fundamentals.
If you insist on excessive workouts even if your body weeps, you’ll soon realize the harsh truth –no supplement will ever have greater power over a good rest and proper recovery.
Take a break, a day or a week off
One of the best ways to heal after a hard workout is getting enough good night sleep. Let your body take care of it because it really has the ability to repair and recover naturally if you just let it. Good night sleep is sometimes referred to as deep sleep. It’s the time when our bodies are recovering to the fullest. It is strengthening our minds as well as our bodies from the previous day’s physical efforts. People who look and feel rested usually say that they had enough quality deep sleep.
And if one night of good night sleep wasn’t enough, you should have another or as much as you need. If you properly listen to your body, it will show you what to do. After some time off, you might want to go with lighter exercises for a few days, remove any heavy-lifting and of course, continue to listen to your body.
Take enough vitamins and minerals
Nutrients are essential to stopping any muscle weakness. This includes:
- low vitamin D (very common – a vast number of Americans are deficient)
- low B12 (vegetarians that don’t supplement)
- low iron (women as a most vulnerable group and vegans)
Get your levels checked frequently and supplement appropriately. It is important to eat, hydrate and rest well, but if you still feel tired and weak, consider some supplements to aid your recovery.
Getting enough water during exercise is essential, but filling up after exercise makes wonders for your recovery. Water supports all metabolic functions, so drink enough water to function and recover properly.
Stop Soreness and Inflammation
You might think that balanced and well-planned fitness regime will never result in soreness, but it doesn’t always work that way. Whenever we feel sore or weak, we need to focus on rehabilitation. The inflammation arises when immune cells are recruited into recovering, muscle is occupied with the immune cells, trying to get things back together. This brings to the inflammation and soreness, but also to protein synthesis –making your muscles stronger.
Some people don’t cope with inflammations and soreness’s so well. They want to heal and to “grow” but can’t get through the pain, nor may feel relaxed. Many sportsmen have been using natural products to reduce pain and deal with inflammation. There’s nothing funny about it, and no matter how common it is in daily consumption – nature works.
For example, ginger has been around for hundreds of years and seems to have a better therapeutic effect than many anti-inflammatory drugs. It works as an inhibitor of several genes involved in inflammatory processes. Also, if you’re not a great fan of Chili Peppers and their capsaicin (which makes them hot and anti-inflammatory) you might want to try eucalyptus oil. It is made of Eucalyptus plant and helps reducing pain and inflammation in the body.
In the past few years, medical cannabis has emerged as one of the popular solutions for many athletes when it comes to reliving inflammation after workout. Cannabis can help your body recover because of it active ingredients. Both of its main components (THC and CBD) have an anti-inflammatory effect and can reduce pain, calm the mind, and stimulate endorphins.
All of these herbal remedies came as a response to the overwhelming pressure of the synthetic supplements industry.
Pre and Post Workout Nutrition
Well, you could always eat a table sugar and get an easy fix. There is a healthier and long-term solution, and that is to eat for a more optimized immunity. Get enough calories and replenishing nutrients. Don’t save drastically on your food intake. You need to refuel if you want your body to recover, repair, and get stronger and ready for the next challenge.
Pre-workout nutrition is also highly important for the healing and recovery process once the workout is over. Proteins and carbs that you’ve eaten will be circulating the body after the workout. So, choose your foods wisely. Plan your meals around two hours before the workout to avoid digestive issues or cramps.
Post-workout nutrition is also important. And we’re talking proteins – 20-50 grams after each workout depending on your bodyweight. Try natural foods before any supplementing, but that’s up to you. If you are still on the quick fixes team, try whey protein. Possible benefits of using whey protein include weight loss and lowering cholesterol.
Get Your Timetable Ready
As we already saw, recovery is an essential part of every fitness-related goal. Try to make your fitness plans on time and stick to it. We’ll be more than happy if you could squeeze all our tips into your daily routine and get the results you want. Getting stronger or better won’t happen overnight, it takes discipline, hard work, and some planning!
Listen to your body – it would give you the right signals and lead you to the process. You could plan your activities, but no one should plan or predict recovery time or a break from training. If you are feeling energized after a hard workout, you don’t have to stop or force yourself a break. If you listen to your body, it will let you know what to do. We just have to listen to those warnings and not fall into some self-imposed trap like “I could have been better yesterday” or “stop being such a wimp, Robert”. Seriously, be easy on yourself, and your body will double thank-you.