OUR TOP TIPS FOR MUSCLE RECOVERY
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
When it comes to fitness and exercise, most people tend to focus solely on the workout itself, forgetting that recovery is an essential part of the process. Whether you're a casual gym-goer or a professional athlete, a tradie or a shift worker, your muscles undergo stress and strain as you perform, which can lead to damage and soreness. If left unattended, it can lead to injuries, reduced performance, and even burnout. That is why taking care of yourself post-workout, post-workday and post-match is fundamental.
Let’s not waste time. These are the best tips for muscle recovery.
And when we say cold, we mean (almost) freezing.
Cold water therapy, also known as cryotherapy, has gained popularity in recent years for its numerous health benefits, particularly surrounding muscle recovery for the hardcore gym junkies and muscle-worn-out athletes.
This therapy method involves immersing the body or specific muscles in cold water for a set period of time, typically ranging from a few seconds to several minutes. Usually, that water is packed with antarctic-like ice. From a cold bath tub at home after a weary day on the job site to a professional cryotherapy chamber, you can ice those sore muscles and improve your recovery. Seriously, if you're a tradie you should try this out. Grab a cold one, and have a cold one. It's a win-win really.
The cold, icy water helps to reduce inflammation, alleviate muscle soreness, and enhance muscle recovery and repair. By exposing the body to cold temperatures, blood vessels constrict, which can help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Additionally, the cold temperature stimulates the production of endorphins, which can help to reduce pain and improve overall mood. Incorporating cold water therapy into your post-workout routine can significantly improve muscle recovery, helping you to train at higher intensities (Stanborough, R. 2023).
Saunas are often associated with relaxation and peace, but they are also perfect for recovery. If you frequent the gym or listened to the likes of Andrew Huberman and Joe Rogan, you’ve probably taken advantage of these before. You’ll find them in most gym bathrooms too, which makes them super convenient.
Sauna therapy is a valuable tool that can significantly enhance muscle recovery (and be beneficial for weight management). The heat generated by a sauna can penetrate deep into muscle tissue, improving blood circulation to torn muscles to accelerate repair. This increased circulation delivers vital nutrients and oxygen to damaged muscles, reducing inflammation and soreness. Allowing yourself to relax for just thirty minutes in the sauna can decrease that post-workout soreness, supporting quicker recovery in muscles and nerves (Houck, S. 2022).
Why not treat yourself to a massage?
Massages are popular among elite athletes and are used to reduce muscle soreness after training while offering improved flexibility and decreased symptoms of DOMS. You don’t just need to be an athlete to enjoy the muscle recovery (and relaxation) benefits of massages, however. Whether you’re a shift worker spending too much time on your feet, a bricklayer spending your day lugging…bricks, or a footballer with shin splints and a sore back, a massage can restore your body to 100%.
A massage can improve blood circulation, increasing oxygen and nutrient delivery to your fatigued muscles. By restoring healthy circulation, a massage can loosen and lengthen the muscles and tendons, while also repairing damaged tissues. This can help to reduce recovery time and decrease the risk of injury, releasing tightness and increasing your range of motion and flexibility. Best of all, if you’ve had a long week, massages are fantastic for relaxation, easing tension and reducing stress (Aubrey, C. 2022).
You’re lying if you say you haven’t seen these at the gym.
Foam rollers have earned their reputation as the elite at-home accessory for muscle recovery in the fitness world. With the proper technique, they can improve athletic performance and prevent post-workout soreness, allowing you to hit the gym just a little harder the next day. By using your body weight to apply pressure to a muscle and effectively loosen tight knots (similar to a massage), you're breaking down adhesions, reducing inflammation and improving circulation, all of which contribute to healthy muscle restoration. While it may sound like a chore to add to your workout routine, the benefits of foam rolling are immediate and undeniable (Bevilacqua, A. 2020). Besides, they're relatively affordable and readily available, making this one of the easiest tools to incorporate into your post-workout recovery routine.
Next time you’re shopping for activewear, take a look into compression gear.
Muscle recovery is just as important as the workouts when it comes to pushing our physical limits. Whether you're a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, reducing muscle soreness and inflammation is critical to maintaining a consistent routine. This is where compression wear comes in. Designed to fit tightly and apply pressure to key areas of the body, compression garments have been shown to improve circulation and promote faster muscle recovery. By providing support during and after exercise, compression wear can reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, helping you get back to your next workout with less downtime (Tao, D. 2022).
At last, our bread & butter. If you’re looking for the best supplements for muscle recovery, you need to consider what you’re putting into your body after finishing up at the gym. At ASN, we offer a detailed range of protein powders and muscle recovery supplements that can refuel and replenish your muscles after an intense day of physical activity.
These supplements help repair muscles after an intense workout by providing the necessary amino acids. The amino acids in protein shakes help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which can lead to increased muscle growth and recovery. Recovery supplements, on the other hand, contain compounds essential for faster muscle recovery, such as vitamins, minerals, and branched-chain amino acids. Using protein shakes and recovery supplements as part of your post-workout regimen will aid in nourishing your muscles, maintaining them, and allowing for faster recovery (Yetman, D. 2023).
Don’t sleep on sleep.
Sleep is not only important for cognitive function and overall health, but it also plays an essential role in repairing and building muscle tissue. During periods of deep sleep, growth hormone is released, which stimulates muscle growth and repair. Adequate sleep also helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which is crucial for muscle recovery. So, if you want to optimise your workout results and accelerate your muscle recovery, prioritise getting enough sleep each night. Try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to support muscle protein synthesis and repair (Sports Lab NYC. 2019).
Check out our other blog on The Relationship Between Sleep and Muscle Growth to learn more about how sleep can influence your muscle growth and recovery.
Drink water, drink protein shakes, skip the beers and drink more water. Hydration is key if you’re looking to optimise your recovery.
Hydration is crucial when it comes to improving muscle recovery. Staying well-hydrated helps to keep your muscles healthy and functioning at their best. Dehydration can slow down the recovery process and can also cause muscle cramps and soreness. Not only does drinking enough water help to flush out any toxins that may be present in your muscles after a workout, but it also helps to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery, leading to faster muscle repair and growth. So, make sure to drink plenty of water during your day, whether you’re working, training or playing, to keep your muscles healthy, happy, and ready for their next challenge (Tao, D. 2022).
Looking for a convenient and delicious post-workout snack on the go? Why not try protein water? It contains protein to kick-start muscle recovery, decrease muscle soreness, and prep the body for the next challenge. Be cautious around alcohol after working out because anything with 4% or more alcohol can increase dehydration, delay rehydration, and result in cramping and delayed recovery. Tart cherry juice or supplements can be beneficial to reduce muscle swelling and promote faster recovery (Tao, D. 2022).
Life gets pretty full-on, and you’re going to put yourself through stress that translates into muscle damage. Whether you’re stuck in your 9-5 carrying trays of coffee to customers, playing competitive football in the evenings after work, labouring on the job site in a physically demanding trade, or chasing gains in a busy gym at 5 am on a Monday, your muscles will fatigue, and your body will wear out. This is why recovery is essential. You don’t leave the house with your phone at 40%, so don’t force yourself to perform when your muscles are running that low. Prioritise recovery.
If you need more advice or help finding the best supplements to improve your muscle recovery, our team has the solutions. Just head in-store or reach out online; our friendly team at ASN can help you find what you’re looking for.
Stanborough, R. 2023, ‘What to Know About Cold Water Therapy’, Healthline, accessed 26 July 2023, https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-water-therapy
Houck, S. 2022, ‘The Benefits (and Drawbacks) Of Hitting the Sauna After Working Out, According to Pros’, Physical Therapy Central, accessed 26 July 2023, https://ptcentral.org/blog/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-hitting-the-sauna-after-working-out-according-to-pros/
Aubrey, C. 2022, ‘How Massage Can Help Improve Your Post-Workout Recovery Routine’, Discover Massage Australia, accessed 26 July 2023, https://www.discovermassage.com.au/blog/how-massage-can-help-improve-your-post-workout-recovery-routine/#:~:text=A%20post%2Dworkout%20recovery%20massage,well%20as%20repair%20damaged%20tissues.
Bevilacqua, A. 2020, ‘10 Best Ways To Recover After A Tough Workout’, Muscle & Fitness, accessed 26 July 2023, https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/10-best-ways-recover-after-tough-workout/
Tao, D. 2022, ‘Get Well Soon: 18 Ways to Speed Exercise Recovery’, Greatist, accessed 26 July 2023, https://greatist.com/fitness/18-scientifically-proven-ways-speed-recovery
Yetman, D. 2023, ‘15 Proven Tips to Maximize Muscle Recovery’, Healthline, accessed 26 July 2023, https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-recovery
Sports Lab NYC. 2019, ‘The Importance of Sleep for Muscle Recovery’, Sports Lab NYC, accessed 26 July 2023, https://sportslabnyc.com/sleep-muscle-recovery/#:~:text=Sleeping%20for%207%2D9%20hours,and%20human%20growth%20hormone%20release.