It's Blogmas day 17 and heavy deadlifts have left the body in pieces! With Christmas just around the corner, quick, intense and possibly heavy workouts when time is short, will be a must. But one thing you don’t want is for your recovery to let you down. After tough workouts, there is no escaping the pain of muscle soreness a.k.a. Delayed-onset muscle soreness or ‘DOMS’, whether it happens the following day or 2 days after.
Now, too much pain is something that can generally stop you from continuing your training. But have no fear! There are a few things that can be done to help speed up recovery and keep you going on your chosen path.
Preparing the body before you exercise may not prevent soreness those days after, but it can definitely help you to feel more comfortable post workout. There are many different ways you can do this.
- Foam rolling – use it pre workout to roll out any knots in muscles or any lactic acid build up from previous sessions. Doing this post workout can also help massively.
- Cardio – do 10 minutes low intensity cardio to promote blood flow to the muscles and prepare the body for the workout ahead.
- Bodyweight Exercises - Perform some basic bodyweight exercises to warm up and promote blood flow to specific muscle groups.
With all of these be sure to use a full range of motion, especially when your main workout involves resistance exercises and high intensity cardio training.
Training at any discipline, whether resistance or cardio based, can be sweaty work. It’s a by-product of your body working hard. So there is a big chance that post workout you can become dehydrated. This can cause fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. It is also known that dehydration can increase the symptoms of DOMS. So staying hydrated during and after your training session can have a massive effect on your recovery. Your body will need essential vitamins and minerals, electrolytes and sodium to help rehydrate you after your workout.
For more info on staying hydrated click here
Eat to Recover
Getting in a meal with a mix of carbohydrates and protein is one of the smartest things someone can do after finishing a tough workout. The Carbohydrates are used to replenish energy through our body’s glycogen stores. The protein is used to rebuild muscle tissue. It also makes up the foundations to various cells, hormones and enzymes. Eat around 2 hours after the initial meal to keep the recovery process going.
Put it on Ice
Now, I’m not talking about your favourite bottle of champers! Exposing your muscles to extreme cold temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict. This can reduce tissue swelling/inflammation due to muscle breakdown. Fill your bath with cold water and ice and take a 10-15min dip.
WARNING: This is not pleasant, nor is it fun. So to make it a little more comfortable, try submerging the legs first then your maybe one arm at a time (or vice versa).
Sleep on it
Lack of sleep can lead to dips in performance but, can also lead to a dip into your mood, which will probably have a negative effect on you next workout. Aim for about 7-9 hours sleep to give your body the best chance at recovery. The more intense the session, the closer you need to aim for that upper number of hours kip.
With all that pain from DOMS the first thing your going to want to do is…NOTHING! But research shows that performing low intensity exercise after an intense session can alleviate soreness and remove lactic build up from muscles. We call this active recovery. So on your days off go for a walk, bike ride or a yoga class etc. to keep you moving.
Getting in some (if not all) of these tips will get you back into your normal routine before you know it.
Until next time,