After workout recovery: 5 tips on how to minimize the pain and maximize the gain
5 Tips for making after workout recovery more effective:
Human being is a complex machine and our physical performance relies on many different factors. Why are we in pain after a particularly heavy workout? The answer is that when you push yourself to the limit you do some "damage" to your muscles called micro fractures that are necessary for a muscle to grow. The same happens when you perform some form of exercise that you usually don't do and engage groups or muscles that are usually not very active. Contrary to a popular belief this has nothing to do with lactic acid being stored in your muscle tissue. While DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is not a pleasant feeling it is a process in which your body regenerates the muscles and adapt it to a new training regime by making them stronger and more durable.
Best solutions for after workout recovery and dealing with muscle soreness:
Tip #1: supplements
Fast absorbing protein shake. This one is a no-brainer if you want to quickly rebuild your damaged muscles and to keep the benefits of your training and increase your muscle volume.
Vitamins and minerals. Your body lose vitamins and minerals when it sweats so it is important to replace lost microelements
Creatine? While creatine certainly increases your performance during a workout and helps to build your muscle volume it doesn't help much with muscle soreness. Of course, once you started taking it you should continue to do so also on your day off from workout - I just wanted to point out that it will not speed up muscle recovery process.
It may sound counter-intuitive but stretching and some light workout may bring the relief for your muscle pain and it also speeds up healing of a sore muscle tissue. But don't try to do a regular heavy workout when you still feel the pain cause this may cause even more damage and you can even tear one of your muscles and this will guarantee that you will be out of gym for weeks.
Tip # 3 A proper diet will speed up a recovery process and will help to rebuild a damaged muscles faster:
Read more about it in a Muay Thai dietpost where I explain it with more details.
Tip #4: coffee as a pre-workout booster to reduce muscle soreness:
Most of you know that coffee may reduce the absorption of some vitamins and minerals and that may have a negative effect on your performance. Not many are aware of benefits of drinking coffee before training though.
I have tested it on myself and results are pretty good. I have to mention that I don't usually drink coffee so the results of this experiment are even more visible for me. I simply added some more weight to my dumbells and put some pressure on your body and done few exercises that I usually don't do just to engage the muscles that I usually don't engage this much. After the workout I could still feel some muscle pain but it was milder than usual after this kind of treatment. And since caffeine is a natural booster that it also helped me to keep going for longer.
This looks like a great formula for me. So it was tested on humans - if you need more proof than that then do it yourself but you have no reason to question my commitment or my testing methods :-). Seriously though there are some sources available online claiming the benefits of caffeine intake for performance and physical recovery.
Tip #5: other important things that may have impact on your after workout recovery process:
how much time you need to recover also depends on the intensity of a workout and your current fitness level. How long it takes your body to rebuild damaged muscle tissue depends on many individual factors. Just because some of your friends train 5 days a week doesn't mean that this schedule will work for you. Find your own pace.
injuries like bruises, cuts, swellings etc. that you suffer during sparring may also slow down your recovery
metabolism: when you have a fast metabolism your body heals faster and you lose weight much easier but it is also harder for your body to build a muscle mass
mood and a general mental state: mind and body is one. Your mental state affects your performance and the time your body needs to regenerate