Better Muscle Recovery, Better Workouts

October 2, 2014

After a tough weight training session or running a long distance, muscles are sore and torn apart. In order to rebuild these muscles quickly and effectively, it is important to eat the right foods and use the right recovery techniques.  

Foods high in protein and carbohydrates are essential for muscle recovery. About 30 to 45 minutes after running or doing another form of exercise training, the post-workout meal should be eaten. Waiting longer allows for the body to create excessive cortisol, the hormone the body creates while exercising that creates muscle atrophy. What is eaten is also extremely important to decrease this as well. 

Hot chocolate is an excellent food choice for after a hard workout. Studies show that it has the same benefits as drinking a Gatorade does, as it contains similar carbohydrates and proteins. Additionally, hot chocolate is much cheaper than sports drinks. Heat up a cup of hot milk or dairy substitute and drop in a square or two of chocolate. The nutrients as well as the caffeine will start the recovery process in the muscles. 

Pasta with the addition of lean meat and cheese is a great choice for after a workout. The combination of the complex carbohydrates and protein are just what the body needs to rebuild muscle. Including a fresh salad or piece of fruit makes it a balanced meal.

To accelerate the body’s recovery process, there are several techniques that can be used. Applying heat to destroyed muscles soothes and aids in the rebuilding process. Taking a hot bath or using a heating pad on the effected area relaxes muscles, helping them heal more quickly.

Using a foam roller to massage sore muscles after running or another form of workout training is an effective way to promote healing. It breaks up scar tissue and massages out knots in the muscle, helping reduce soreness. Reducing aching and soreness helps the body feel ready to get out and work again sooner.

Doing a more relaxed form of exercise like swimming helps the body release lactic acid in the muscles and promotes healing. Doing slow, easy laps in the pool in between running or another workout training method helps stretch the muscles and keeps them moving without wearing them out. 

Stretching is one of the best things that can be done for sore muscles. Soreness usually means knotted, tight muscles. Stretching relaxes the tension in muscles and reduces soreness for the following day.  

Taking care of the body after working out is just as important in muscle growth as exercise itself. Eat right and follow the correct techniques for best results.

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