If you’ve recently started working out, or if you’ve stepped up your training on the track or in the gym, you may find that recovery is one of your biggest challenges. When you train hard, you’ll often feel sore or run down for days after your workout. This can make you more sluggish in your day-to-day life, as well as preventing you from training hard again in your next workout.
Sleep is one of the most effective yet overlooked methods of recovery available to us. A lack of sleep has been clearly linked to a decrease in performance. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has had to function on less than their optimum amount of sleep for a significant amount of time. It has been found that between 7-9 hours of sleep is what’s needed for optimum performance. Missing out on this can have additional side effects such as reducing expected lifespan and increasing the risk of heart disease. CBD oil or capsules have been shown to relax the muscles and improve sleep. You can find an excellent resource for further reading here.
Eat enough protein.
Protein contains the building blocks of muscle when digested, which is why athletes prioritize it as a macronutrient. The minimum requirement for anyone who trains for a sport that takes a toll on the body is between 0.5-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This should be spread out throughout the day into several feedings, so that the body has a constant supply to optimize recovery. Having a slow-releasing protein, like from cottage cheese, just before bed can ensure you’re recovering through the night, and then ensure that you have a serving first thing in the morning when you wake up. Here you can read about the best vegan protein powder.
Get some easy calories.
If you’re running, cycling, or training hard, it can be easy to forget that you need to increase your energy input to compensate. Chocolate milk is an easy way to get some post-workout calories in, and the protein in the milk will help get your muscles recovered for your next training session. If you’re trying to gain weight, this is a particularly useful hack, as a liter of chocolate milk has over 600 calories and is an easy way to get into a surplus.
One of the best ways to recover from the gym is to get a massage, but this can be costly if you’re doing it regularly. The next best thing is to ‘self-massage’ using a foam roller or a lacrosse ball. The muscles are rolled out onto these implements, helping to release knotted muscles and get you ready to get back to the gym.
Use hot and cold treatment.
Cold baths are often used by athletes to reduce soreness and encourage recovery. This can be improved further by alternating between hot and cold, either in two separate tubs or just in the shower.