When your body is fatigued after a particularly grueling workout, there are many ways to accelerate muscle recovery to ensure your next workout is a strong one. Focusing on recovery between workouts is the best way to enhance your performance when you exercise. This will reduce the number of potential injuries that intense training schedules may cause.
1. Repair Stressed Muscles through Rest
After a long workout, your muscles may feel tired and sore. This is a sign of microscopic tears in the muscle that occur naturally during exercise. Your muscles rebuild and repair these tears during times of rest, allowing you to become stronger and more able to endure the strain of your next intense workout.
The best way to ensure your muscles do not endure tearing that is above and beyond what they are capable of repairing is by making sure to include days of rest in your schedule. The fastest way to endure an injury is to prevent your body from repairing muscle tissue by overtraining. In addition to permanent muscle fatigue, preventing your muscles from recovering through rest can also stress the immune system and make your body doubly susceptible to sickness during your next workout.
2. Restore Fluids and Essential Minerals
When you sweat during exercise, your body loses important fluids and electrolytes in an attempt to keep the body cool. This is a natural and healthy process, but it is vital to replace those fluids after a workout so as not to keep muscles and tissues depleted of essential minerals and electrolytes.
An easy method for replacing fluids, should you endure a particularly long workout, is weighing yourself immediately before and after you train. Although some hydration can be accomplished during your exercise, you may find that you weigh some ounces less after a workout. This is not actual weight loss, and you should replace these lost fluids within an hour or two of completing your workout.
3. Restore Glycogen
Glycogen is the fuel in your muscles that provides the energy required for a work out, and there are two levels of glycogen your body will use when you train. One level is the easily accessible blood glucose that will generally be burned first by your body during a workout. This type of glycogen is easily replaced through sports drinks.
The second level of glycogen is that which is stored in the muscles and liver, and this is what your body will start to use in the later hours of an intense workout. This glycogen is not so easily replaced, but in the hours immediately following a workout, your body’s muscles will be very receptive to the replacement of glycogen in the form of high quality carbohydrates.
4. Restore Muscle Protein
Just as the body will use glycogen during a workout, you body will also use muscle proteins when glycogen becomes depleted. Protein is essential for rebuilding muscles and when your body has dipped into its protein stores, your muscles will be unable to repair and rebuild until you replace that protein. Therefore, consuming protein after an intense workout will allow your muscles to start the rebuilding process as swiftly as possible.