“What you do AFTER a workout, training session or competition (especially one that drains you, or that was “high effort or intensity”) is almost as important as the work that you just did.”
EVERY TIME you hit it in a workout, you “mini tear” muscles down.
They MUST be repaired in order to: reach full potential, get it in the next workout out, reduce injury risk, and peak perform at the right time…
…Yes, it feels good at first to know you’re putting in the workout, but it sucks to continue to be sore, flat or dead ‘feeling’… which simply means that “your energy battery is dead or low”.
Which means that you can’t REALLY give it your all, or be your best.
And you might get hurt.
Hurt athletes don’t to play.
This is why when top track teams do sprint workouts they have to take at least 48-72 hours before doing a workout of similar intensity and muscle tear down…
… and why you would not do an all out sprint workout within 48-72 hours of a track meet.
You wouldn’t have what it takes to peak perform.
This ALSO APPLIES to ANY intense training… and probably even more so when you’ve activated “type II muscle fibers”.
Here’s what I do (the mostly not talked about basics) & why:
1. Water (replace the fluids). If you killed it like I’m thinking you did, then your gonna need to replace the lost fluids from sweating (you don’t have to be “dripping” sweat to have lost quite a bit of fluids)… you also lose water when you use your muscles.
Your body needs smooth flowing blood to deliver nutrients, oxygen and get rid of the build up waste products created from intense training like ‘lactic acid’…
Plus your body uses water in ALL it’s cells.
So, yea it’s a pretty important for bodily function.
2. Ice. Besides making a drink cold, Lol… Ice has always been about blood flow for me.
I believe that when you ice you decrease your body’s temp in that area, and when you do that your body sends blood to the area.
When blood is being rushed to that area a bunch of good happens: brings nutrition needed to decrease recovery times and recover, decrease inflammation that can cause pain and friction, delivers oxygen, vitamins, minerals, protein, and gets rid of waste products.
3. Amino Acids & Protein (forms). You need protein for your muscle to heal. Marinate on it. 😉
“The” Arnold once said when asked, that you can workout as hard and repeat as long as you can eat protein to support it.
Every time you hit it hard, you create “micro” tears in your muscle. When they grow back, they grow back stronger.
In order to “heal” they need protein.
In order to be ready for your next session, you need to have enough protein available heal without cannibalizing.
I like 40% of my diet to come from protein… and guess what, so does that same Arnold Schwarzenegger.
You don’t have to want to be Arnold, a body builder or want to win Mr. Olympia 7 times, but his input on developing muscles and workout recovery is kinda unquestioned.
4. Rest. Critical. This when so much of the healing process takes place. I actually started tracking my sleep with a FitBit last year. Pretty cool to see how much actual deep sleep and REM sleep I get.
When I was referring to rest, I was actually referring to “sleep” above, but that’s not the only type of rest you need.
You also need rest in between working out muscle groups and muscle fiber types.
You don’t wanna do bench press every day, or a sprint workout every day either.
48-72 hours rest is needed between.
5. Your muscles have been doing a lot of multiple hard CONTRACTIONS… now it’s time for them to “relax”.
Massage is one of the best ways to get your muscles to “relax”… the opposite of contract.
It also increases blood flow and decreases stress.
This in turn helps to decrease recovery time and helps you to just plain feel better.
- Calcium (important for muscle contraction & bones),
- Potassium & sodium (electrolytes: electricity important for nerve impulses & muscle contraction, hydrating body, balancing blood ph), and
- Iron (mission critical for oxygen transport… which is life).
I know, not your usual list of things you need to replenish, but very important none the less, because of their roles in post workout recovery.
I wanted this list to be solely about muscle recovery post-intense workout.
SIDENOTE: After intense training, workout, or competition… you should hydrate quickly, and then “cool down” or as some refer to it as “warm down”.
Basically, have a small “active rest” period… where you are doing some type of easy full body motion (like a very slow jog, or walk jog), followed by some light stretching.
This mixed with hydrating will help to get rid of the built up waste (i.e. lactic acid), start the process of delivering nutrient rich blood to muscles.
All of which helps to decrease recovery and healing time and lower chances of cramping from an amazingly fun, but draining session.
Thanks again for your ear… and your time, I know it’s precious. Rootin for ya always,
P.S. If you would like to upgrade your “pre workout routine” too, check out this post… it covers what you should be doing BEFORE every intense training session, workout or competition.