Did you know that what you do after your workout is just as important as the work you put in the gym? That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best things you can do directly after a workout to help you maximize muscle gains and prevent injury. Never under-estimate the absolute importance of recovery. Do it right and you will see better and faster progress at the gym. Can you think of a few things you can do to improve your current recovery? Well if not, don’t worry, because The Lifevest has it all for your right here!
#1. Foam Rolling & Stretching
What sounds better than having the nicest, firmest deep tissue massage right after your workout? Imagine the endless benefits of doing so after a tough workout on your back. By foam rolling, you are greatly increasing the blood flow to those muscles, losing any build up of lactic acid, while maximizing your muscle gains. Foam rolling will allow you to get rid of adhesions, muscle knots, and scar tissue, assisting with the healing and recovery after your workout. When it comes to stretching alone however, it’s been debated whether or not stretching makes a difference in helping to reduce muscle soreness. Foam rolling on the other hand is highly recommended.
Taking a BCAA supplement such as 2:1:1 by Optimum Nutrition for example is great for reducing muscle soreness and helping you get back to your workouts sooner than later. BCAA’s contain a high amino acid profile that supplements your muscles with the necessary nutrients for faster recovery. BCAA’s increase the rate of protein synthesis and reduce protein breakdown, which equates to better muscle gain and maintenance.
#3. Drink More Water
It’s kind of hard to believe that just by drinking water, you can work to reduce your muscle soreness. But, water is highly essential for muscle growth and recovery. Did you know that 65 to 75 percent of your muscle mass is made up of water? By consistently drinking water through out the day, you’ll remove a lot of the built up toxins and lactic acid in your body. Aim for 1 and 1.5 gallons of water per day.
#4. Use a Steam Room Or Sauna
If you’re gym has a steam room or sauna, there is no reason you shouldn’t want to hop in directly after your workout. Not only is it beneficial for muscle recovery and possible growth, but it feels good. Using a steam room will particularily increase your blood flow and allow fresh blood and nutrients into the muscles you just worked so hard on. So make sure to reward them by hopping into a steam room from time to time.
#5. Protein & Carbohydrate Intake
We all know how important it is to get the required amount of protein and carbs immediately after your workout.. But what about the rest of the day? As a result of the previous catabolic state your body was in, you want to make sure that you are also consistently taking in protein through out the next 24 hours resulting in more muscle gain and better workout recovery.
#6. Proper Sleep
Whatever you do, make sure you’re not depriving your body of the rest and sleep that it needs. This is the time when your body is replenishing its nutrients and the best time for your body to naturally heal itself. For more alertness, higher energy levels, and a stronger immune system, your optimal rest time should be seven to eight hours a night.
#7. Creatine Monohydrate
Taking a creatine monohydrate supplement (preferably containing L-Glutamine) will drastically help to delay the onset of DOMS and decrease the amount of time needed to recover. Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most popular supplements in bodybuilding, aside from protein. Just beware that taking too much can cause bloating and can cause dehydration through out the day. Make sure to take 5g of creatine monohydrate post-workout and you should see a great improvement in your recovery time.
7 Most Essential Things To Do After Your Workout
These are the 7 most essential things you can do post-workout to make sure your muscles are getting its proper care. And, by doing so, you should see better progress and a faster increase in attaining your goals.
Drink water, foam roll, take essential supplements (e.g. protein, BCAA’s, and creatine), and get the proper rest and you will see a drastic improvement in both your recovery time and muscle gains. I can’t by the way, emphasize foam rolling enough. If there’s one thing I attribute a lot of my progress to, that would honestly have to be one of them.
Especially as weight lifters, we need to keep our muscles nice and supple to make room for more muscle gain. I found BCAA’s and L-glutamine to really improve muscle recovery as well and help me to work out at a much higher capacity the following day as a result of reduced soreness.
Sleep and water are a no-brainer, while creatine is actually a supplement I stopped taking over-time as a result of too much bloating. But whether you want to supplement your workout with creatine is completely up to you.. I’m kind of off and on it at this point. But I see no harm in doing so.
Using a steam room or sauna is great for toxin removal, sweating, and very beneficial to your respiratory system. I recommend using it just for an improvement in overall health and improving the blood flow to your muscles helping get the nutrients that they need. I’m very confident in the fact that each one of these 7 steps will help to bring you that much closer to a more well-defined, healthier, and leaner body, when done consistently.