Push your body. Fuel your body. Rest your body.
Pushing the body:
Intense workouts and strength training are great ways to enhance your physical and mental health. However, these types of exercise can cause muscle soreness, fatigue, and leave you less motivated to keep working out and achieving your goals. Giving your muscles a chance to repair themselves and grow is necessary when pushing yourself in the gym. Here are a few ways that you can use nutrition, sleep, and active recovery to bounce back from your workouts faster.
Fueling the body:
The most important aspect of recovery is ensuring that you’re replenishing your body through your diet. Protein is the macronutrient that is responsible for building and repairing muscle cells that are damaged when you push your muscles to the point of fatigue. Whether you are an elite level athlete or someone who is just beginning strength training, getting adequate levels of protein through your diet is essential to replenish your body. The recommended amount of protein intake varies, but a general recommendation for someone with an active lifestyle is around 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, a 200-pound person who exercises at moderate to vigorous intensity 4-5 days per week should consume between 140 to 200 grams of protein per day. Our muscles are made up of close to 75% water, so being properly hydrated before, during, and after workouts is essential for recovery. Drinking around 20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before a workout can help prevent muscle cramping or early fatigue during your workout. Every time you contract a muscle, water is driven from your blood into the muscle to help the muscle function. In addition, seating during workouts also contributes to water loss, so be sure to replenish your body with water and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) after a workout to counteract this.
Resting the body:
Outside of replenishing your body through your diet, lifestyle factors like sleep and rest are also important to restore your body after a workout. Sleep cannot be overlooked when it comes to recovery. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night allows your body’s tissues to heal and allows you to have more energy so that you can continue to push yourself. As you fall into deep sleep, your body releases growth hormone which helps with muscle repair and growth. Without adequate sleep, the secretion of growth hormone declines, slowing your recovery. Taking rest or active recovery days to allow your muscles to repair themselves is also important. If you are engaging in intense physical activity each week, nominating 2-3 days for active recovery, things like yoga or walking, will help facilitate blood flow and increase muscle repair.
Whether you are just starting a workout regimen or have been working out consistently for years, use these tips to keep yourself fresh and motivated to continue with your fitness journey. If you have questions about exercise, nutrition, and recovery, talk one of our doctors at Chiropractic Health and Wellness.