Recover from your workout like a professional athlete
You might not have the money dedicated to training like a professional athlete, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to train like one. Professional athletes and their trainers know that the secret to successful training is recovery.
We cannot stress enough how important recovery is in avoiding injuries. At Missouri Orthopedics, we know that most of you do not have the option to hire massage therapists to be at your disposable. That being said, below are some techniques you can perform yourself without having to shell out big bucks.
1. Contrast Showers
A contrast shower, alternating between hot and cold water, may be better to relieve muscle soreness than a full hot shower. Temperature extremes dilate and constrict your blood vessels, moving metabolic waste products away from your muscles and bringing oxygen and nutrients back to them.
Here’s how to do it: Start with five to 10 minutes of warm water. Then repeat trading off between one minute of cold water followed by one minute of warm water four to five times.
2. Drink Your Protein
30 minutes after exercise is the perfect time for a protein shake. It may help to repair damaged muscles and aid in recovery. Whey shakes are what we highly recommend going with. Whey is a protein found in milk which contains the amino acid leucine. It has been shown to jump-start muscle protein synthesis. For better results, blend in a nutrient-dense green-powder supplement or other antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as dark, leafy greens or berries. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, a byproduct of hard training that can damage your cells.
3. Myofascial Release
Dedicate at least 10 minutes a day to self-myofascial release (SMR). This process works out muscle knots and relieves tension in the fascia (the tissue covering our muscles). While SMR can be done after workouts, it can also be done before a workout to get your body tissue primed to be lengthened through mobility work. If you use a foam roller prior to exercise, spend another 10 minutes doing mobility exercises. This pre-workout routine promotes more efficient movement during exercise and less wear and tear on your joints.
4. Ice Baths
Ice baths have been shown to reduce muscle soreness. It’s an extreme technique and it takes a little getting used to, but when you experience how fresh your muscles feel afterward, you’ll be hooked just like many NBA players are during halftime. All you need is a tub, a couple of bags of ice and the courage to soak for five to 10 minutes.
The final and most important piece of recovery is sleep. Your body continues to repair itself during sleep. Lack of sleep interferes with the protein synthesis that helps your muscles grow. Make an effort to go to bed earlier so you can get the recommended seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night. Give yourself time to wind down before you go to sleep and avoid using a laptop or phone too close to bedtime. Stick to a routine so that you are sure to get a good night’s rest.