Tips For Better Muscle Recovery

Tips For Better Muscle Recovery

When it comes to working out, there is a lot of talk about pushing your body to its limits. Something that doesn’t get talked about as much is muscle recovery. 

Assuming you train hard already, I would argue that recovery is even more important. If you don't allow your muscles to recover, they can be in a constant state of breakdown. 

You see, when you resistance train, you're actually doing two things to your body: 

1. You are depleting your muscle glycogen stores. This means you're burning off the energy stored in your muscles. For the most part, this can be the main reason why you get tired. This also plays a role in why you get sore.

2. You are creating micro-tears in your muscle fibers. This means you are breaking down your muscle tissue. While this sounds bad, it's actually what gives them the chance to build back bigger and stronger.

Because of these two things, it's important to make sure you recover properly.

There are many things that you can do to promote a good recovery routine. This can be everything from the foods you eat to the supplements you take and your lifestyle habits.

The better you can cater to these factors for recovery, the better results you can earn in the long term. So, let's take a deeper look at why muscle recovery is important and how you can improve it!

Why Is Muscle Recovery Important? 

Muscle recovery should be one of the cornerstones of your training program. People who look and feel the best use it to their advantage. I definitely make sure to set structured time in my plan to promote muscle recovery.

Again, what you are doing in the gym is actually depleting energy and breaking down muscle. What you're doing outside of the gym is your window for recovery. If you approach muscle recovery correctly, it can help you repair this muscle damage and replenish your energy stores. This is essential for reaching your fitness goals!

However, that's not the only reason why muscle recovery is important. It can also help improve exercise performance, reduce your chance of injury, and help your body feel better overall.

In fact, if you don't get adequate muscle recovery, and work hard in your workouts ... It could actually do you more harm than good.

What Can Happen Without Proper Muscle Recovery? 

As I said, not taking the time to recover can have negative consequences. While it is good to work out and work out often, there is a balance!

Again, training hard is a good thing! But, if you train hard, train a lot, and don't get the recovery your body needs ... That's when problems can come up.

Here are some of the issues you could run into by neglecting muscle recovery:

Dehydration

Making sure that you get adequate water and electrolytes can be crucial for recovery. It's important for performance, energy, and the way you feel. By not hydrating properly as part of your recovery, the opposite can be true. You could experience lower performance, fatigue, and just not feel as good overall.

Fatigue

If you don't recover properly, fatigue can set in. Over time, this could lead to chronic fatigue and decrease your workout performance and motivation. That's just another reason why getting adequate recovery can be important!

Excessive Soreness

Intense workouts can lead to soreness, which is normal. However, without proper recovery, that can limit your progress. If you're always sore, it can be very difficult to push yourself. Plus, when you constantly break down the muscle and don't give it time to repair, you can't build more muscle.

Increased Risk of Injury

Excessive training without proper recovery can increase risk of injury. It's important to give your body the best chance to stay healthy throughout this process.

Muscle Recovery Do-Nots

Before we dive into tips to improve muscle recovery, let's talk about some things you should avoid. For the best recovery possible, these factors certainly won't help!

Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol can limit your body’s ability to build and repair muscle tissue. In addition to this, alcohol can lead to dehydration, which can also impact recovery. For this reason, it's important to limit your alcohol consumption.

Using Tobacco/Nicotine

These substances can prevent your body from recovering properly. That's because they can decrease your body’s ability to deliver nutrients effectively. This comes from the fact that they can restrict your blood vessels.

Training Too Hard/Too Much

Working out too much and training too hard can inhibit muscle recovery. It can also negatively impact your immune system and hormone health. At the end of the day though, if you keep breaking down muscle, it won't have time to repair!

The Benefits With Proper Muscle Recovery

So, on the flip side, what are the benefits of getting adequate muscle recovery?

Muscle Repair

Proper recovery comes with better muscle repair. The same can be said about muscle growth too, but that would also require you to eat and train in a specific way.

But yes, you can more effectively repair muscle tissue with the right approach to recovery. This can make sure you're ready to crush your next workout when it comes around.

Refueling and Replenishment

It's important for your body to replenish electrolytes, energy stores, and even water. All of these things will play a big role in helping to optimize your training and results. 

If you're constantly training, you can also constantly be depleting your body. That's why making it a point to recover is important.

Stress Reduction

Proper muscle recovery can help decrease the stress on your body. This could help you perform better and feel better as a whole. Exercise can put your body under quite a bit of stress. Make sure you recover!

Tips For Muscle Recovery

Now that we've talked about its importance, what exactly does muscle recovery look like? While a lot of people think of recovery as sitting on the couch and taking it easy, that isn't necessarily true.

Yes, recovery does mean taking a break from intense exercise. That doesn't have to be sitting around without moving a muscle though!

On top of that, several different factors play into your overall recovery. Here are some tips that can help you maximize your recovery and earn great results.

1. Nutrition 

Many things can play a role here, but it can be very simple. 

When I say nutrition, I’m specifically talking about calories, protein, and carbs. So why are each of these so important? 

Calories For Muscle Recovery

These are a unit of measurement of energy. These are the fuel for our bodies. If you aren’t consuming enough, then your body won’t have the energy that it needs to recover.

We need to make sure that our body has enough total calories to recover, yes. But, even before that, we need to make sure we have enough energy to live.

Protein For Muscle Recovery

Proteins are complex molecules that give our body a lot of its structure and functioning. When it comes to muscle recovery, protein is especially important. After all, muscle tissue is made from these proteins.

Once our muscles are broken down from training, they need protein to rebuild and repair. Getting enough protein in your diet can ensure that you can rebuild your muscle tissue. Especially after exercise, protein intake can help support recovery, and even performance in your next workout (1).

Protein sources are made up of different amino acids. 9 of these amino acids are considered essential, and what your muscles need to rebuild. The sources of protein that contain these 9 amino acids in abundance are typically animal-based. These are sources like poultry, beef, fish, dairy, and more.

Carbs For Muscle Recovery

Carbohydrates are your body's preferred source of fuel and energy. This is especially true during resistance training.

You see, all carbs we consume are broken down into glucose. This glucose is then stored in your muscles in the form of glycogen. When we work out, we deplete our glycogen stores.

By replenishing glycogen levels after training through carbohydrates, you can help maximize your recovery (2). So, don't forget this crucial aspect of recovery as well!

2. Sleep 

Quality sleep is beneficial for a lot of reasons, especially when it comes to fitness. When you sleep, your body secretes hormones essential for muscle recovery. It can even help control inflammation and support muscle recovery from injuries (3).

Most importantly, sleep deprivation has been shown to have a negative impact on cortisol levels. Chronic stress could contribute to longer recovery times and make you more susceptible to injury and illness (4, 5). This is why it can be critical to make sure you're getting adequate sleep for muscle recovery.

3. Post-Workout Supplements 

Post-workout is the only time that I recommend supplements over whole foods. I say this for a few reasons.

During intense exercise, your body sends blood from your GI tract to active muscle tissue and your lungs. This can put your body in a weakened digestive state during, and immediately after exercise (6).

During intense exercise, our body also breaks down muscle and uses glycogen for fuel.

Now, I believe the more quickly we can restore our body's energy and give our muscles protein to repair, the better. This could help prolong the time we have to recover and prevent the body from breaking down more muscle.

Given the fact that we're also in a weakened state of digestion, it can take whole foods longer to accomplish these tasks. That's where a rapid digesting form of carbohydrates and protein could be beneficial.

The first thing I recommend is a high-glycemic carbohydrate like a glucose powder. That way, your body doesn't have to work hard to break it down to replenish energy.

The second thing I recommend is a rapid digesting form of protein like whey protein isolate. Whey protein can help spike amino acid concentrations in the blood quickly (9). For this reason, it can be a great tool to use after exercise to support recovery.

The combination of these supplements is something I personally use. In fact, it has made a big difference in my overall recovery, soreness, and results.

The two supplements I take for this are Ignition and Phormula-1.

Ignition is a pure glucose powder that also has a lot of the vitamins, minerals and electrolytes we lose through our sweat during training.

Phormula-1, on the other hand, is a whey protein isolate. This is a form of whey protein with most of the fat and lactose removed to encourage rapid digestion.

If you'd like to give Phormula-1 and Ignition a try, you can get them together in the Post Workout Stack. Personally, I love the Root Beer Float flavor because it tastes just like vanilla ice cream and root beer mixed together!

If you’re somebody who prefers naturally sweetened or plant-based options, we got you covered there too.

For a naturally sweetened option, we also offer the Natural Post Workout Stack. Or, if you follow a plant-based diet or lifestyle, we have the Vegan Post Workout Stack too.

When it comes to recovery, it all starts with what you do immediately after you finish training. I’ve been using the Post Workout Stack for well over 3 years, and I can honestly say it makes a massive difference. I’m less sore, I have more energy, and my recovery feels 10x better than it was before.

But if you ever find it challenging to get the best recovery, to feel your best, and to earn the results you're after ... We're here to help!

We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches you can call at 1-800-409-9732 or email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com. We're available to talk every day of the week from 6 AM to 10 PM Central.

Post Workout Stack

References:

(1) Cintineo, Harry P et al. “Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training.” Frontiers in nutrition vol. 5 83. 11 Sep. 2018, doi:10.3389/fnut.2018.00083.

(2) Gonzalez, Javier T, and Gareth A Wallis. “Carb-conscious: the role of carbohydrate intake in recovery from exercise.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care vol. 24,4 (2021): 364-371. doi:10.1097/MCO.0000000000000761.

(3) Chennaoui, Mounir et al. “How does sleep help recovery from exercise-induced muscle injuries?.” Journal of science and medicine in sport vol. 24,10 (2021): 982-987. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2021.05.007.

(4) Dáttilo M, Antunes HKM, Galbes NMN, Mônico-Neto M, DE Sá Souza H, Dos Santos Quaresma MVL, Lee KS, Ugrinowitsch C, Tufik S, DE Mello MT. Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Acute Skeletal Muscle Recovery after Exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2020 Feb;52(2):507-514. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002137. PMID: 31469710.

(5) Perna FM, McDowell SL. Role of psychological stress in cortisol recovery from exhaustive exercise among elite athletes. Int J Behav Med. 1995;2(1):13-26. doi: 10.1207/s15327558ijbm0201_2. PMID: 16250786.

(6) Brouns F, Beckers E. Is the gut an athletic organ? Digestion, absorption and exercise. Sports Med. 1993 Apr;15(4):242-57. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199315040-00003. PMID: 8460288.

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