Exercise Recovery - How To Properly Recover After Workouts
Pain equals gain! More training means more muscle! Train until
you puke or pass out! Does this sound familiar? Does this sound
reasonable? NO! This is the hardcore mentality that many bodybuilders
and gym fanatics adhere to but this mindset usually results in plateaus
and injuries galore. Recovery is not taken seriously enough and
it's not recognized as part of the muscle building and strength
training process by most of the enthusiastic young muscle worshipers.
Recovery comes in many forms yet most of these forms are ignored
by weightlifters, powerlifters and bodybuilders in the iron game.
Rest comes in 3 forms when referring to resistance training. There
is rest between your exercise sets which can vary in time depending
on the style of training you're following and the amount of intensity
being used. Then there is rest that you take during the week you're
working out which is usually that day or two off which is needed
for muscle recovery and growth. Last is the active rest period which
is not really taking a large period of time off, but rather taking
a small amount of time like 1 week for every 4 weeks of hard training
which allows you time away from the normal weight training routine.
Active rest also helps to avoid hitting plateaus by making sure
you partake in some different activities that you normally would
not do. Taking a week off for active rest and enjoying biking, hiking,
step classes or basketball is ideal for recovery. Just make sure
to pick something fun and take your mind off of the weights. The
active rest period for the week really helps to shock your body
and get it ready for ongoing gains when you get back into the gym.
These forms of rest cannot be ignored if you want consistent and
continued results with your training program.
Water, which is not normally covered when talking about recovery
methods, is actually a huge part of recovery. Drinking 8 glasses
of water per day is the minimum that the governments dictates knowing
most people will barely get this amount in. However, you should
be working toward drinking a liter or more per day if you are very
active or if you consume excess caffeine, sugars and processed foods.
Water carries oxygen into your system which is very important for
muscle growth and recovery.
Stretching helps to bring oxygenated blood through to the muscles
which enhances the results of packing on lean muscle tissue. Stretching
also prepares the muscles for the next intense workout and helps
decrease muscle soreness the day after training.
A popular supplement that is widely used for muscle recovery and
rebuilding is glutamine. An average of 5 grams per dose taken 1-4
times per day is a great way to help your joints as well. Glutamine
is one of the cornerstone supplements you should include in your
dietary regimen for muscle recovery and growth!
Getting enough sleep each night is critical for recovery. It amazes
me how many people function off less than 5 hours of sleep per night
especially when 7 hours per night is already cutting it a little
low. A normal person who has a traditional job and does not workout
or do any strenuous activities still needs 8 hours of sleep per
night to function optimally. Now, let's take the athlete or bodybuilder
who is busting their butt in the gym 4-5 days per week lifting heavy
weights and also doing hours of cardio each week. A minimum of 8
hours of quality sleep is crucial for these people in order to allow
for optimal muscle recovery, rest and recuperation. It may be hard
to get into an ideal sleep pattern so keeping a sleep diary might
help with this as well as including things like chamomile tea, a
small banana before bed or some hot milk (the latter 2 choices are
not ideal if you are overweight). Make sure to keep the temperature
in your bedroom on the cooler side and keep it as dark as possible
with very little noise. These factors are very important for setting
up your sleeping environment and taking advantage of the benefits
from getting hours of quality sleep during the night.