Disclaimer: KOR Shots doesn’t provide medical advice or treatment information. Consult your physician or physical therapist if you have underlying health issues or need further direction on workout recovery.
Workout recovery techniques aren’t just for hardcore athletes.
Whether you’re a newbie working out or a regular gym rat dealing with delayed-onset muscle soreness, it’s never fun to limp around post-workout. That’s why every workout recovery period should be taken as seriously as the workout itself. It’s not only a period of rest for your muscles but also growth.
That means resting when your muscles need it, healing your muscles, and doing your best to minimize soreness.
Thankfully, there are effective ways to reduce muscle soreness quickly if you use the right workout recovery techniques. Drinking water is a must, of course, and so is rest, but there’s actually more to it than that!
Here’s a look at a workout recovery checklist that will help you get back in the gym sooner.
Why Workout Recovery Matters
After your workout, it’s important to let your body recover. During this 24-48 hour period, muscle tissue is repaired. When you work out hard — or even after being inactive for a long period of time — letting your body heal is important to reduce soreness.
That’s one of the reasons it’s smart to work out different body parts on different days!
If you don’t want to hobble around the following day thanks to stiff muscles, you’ll want to make an effort to incorporate some muscle recovery techniques and tools.
Below, we’ve included a few that may not necessarily feel super comfortable at the moment, but we bet you’ll reduce your soreness quite a bit if you choose to give them a try!
Your Workout Recovery Essentials
You may want to rotate through these options depending on what works for your body. Two that are non-negotiables: sleep and water! Your body can’t function normally without those two necessities, so ensuring you get enough of both will help you recover much faster.
Remember that proper hydration is the only way to feel your best. Hydration is everything for proper body function, especially after intense workout sessions. During your workout, you need to stay hydrated in order to help your body regulate your body temperature. If you don’t, you can also wear out faster and not get in a complete workout. Plus, staying properly hydrated will reduce the risk of heat illness, too.
The American Council on Exercise advises drinking:
- 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before exercising
- 7 to 10 ounces of fluid for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise
- 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise
In fact, after an hour of exercise, the body can lose over a quart of water, according to the American Council on Exercise. Since 75% of all muscle tissue and about 10% of fatty tissues are made of water, it only makes sense that you need to continuously drink it to recover quickly. Drinking water also helps each cell transport nutrients to aid overall wellness so you can get your next workout in sooner.
Healthy ways to hydrate: Give flavorful coconut water a try or enrich your plain water with vitamin c-rich fruit slices!
You already know the importance of catching your ZZZs. The body needs time to recover from all the activity we put it through during the day, but even more so when we put it through physical activity. Quality sleep allows the body to repair itself — including the microscopic tears in the muscles that occur during working out — so sleep is pertinent.
Cytokines are proteins, peptides, or glycoproteins that are released by cells of the immune system and have an important role in chemically induced tissue damage repair. This repair process is known to be negatively impacted if a person doesn’t get enough sleep. Since many anti-inflammatory cytokines are known to help promote healing, it’s definitely a good idea to rest up so cytokines can do their best work!
If you’re training for a marathon — and subsequently upping your mileage — squeezing in some power naps may also help enhance muscle repair and recovery. Aim for these naps to be shorter than 40 minutes to help muscles rest and repair themselves.
Muscle Recovery Foods
Speed up recovery time by eating healing foods that minimize inflammation AKA muscle soreness. Post-workout, you need to have a balanced eating plan in place; including anti-inflammatory diet foods can help, too.
A balanced eating plan should have:
Why are those three so important? Carbs — think Greek yogurt or brown rice — replenish the muscles and liver’s energy stores. This helps you maintain lean muscle and your energy levels. Protein is a must to rebuild the tissues that have broken down during a workout. Increased fluid intake will prevent dehydration, which can cause headaches or muscle cramps.Workout recovery foods and drinks worth trying:
Turmeric shot - This root’s inflammation-fighting antioxidant, curcumin, is known to help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. When you ingest it, the curcumin halts chemical pain messengers, which is why many people use it for arthritis. Learn more about the benefits of turmeric here.
Ginger shot - Thanks to the powerful anti-inflammatory in ginger known as gingerol, you can reduce muscle soreness with a potent fresh ginger shot. Give our ginger shot, WELLNESS, a try after your next workout!
- Tart cherries - Use tart cherry juice post-workout to reduce muscle pain and promote muscle recovery if you’re a runner. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and the Antioxidants in Sport Nutrition published research indicating eating dried cherries or drinking the juice can “dramatically reduce muscle breakdown, pain, and inflammation.”
- Quality protein - Since protein is the “building block” of all your muscles, it’s essential that you consume protein post workout and on a daily basis. This helps you keep your mass and grow it, too. Tofu, plant-based protein powder, soybeans, almond butter, and beans are all examples of high-protein options to fuel your body after an intense sweat session.
No matter if you’re a fan of HIIT workouts, bodyweight exercises, or yoga, activated muscles tend to be sore after a good workout. If you haven’t found relief in your arsenal of post-workout recovery items yet, it may be time to add a foam roller into the mix.
These are relatively easy to find online. Once you get it, roll out sore muscles to get knots out after your workout. A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training stated, “After an intense bout of exercise, foam rolling is thought to alleviate muscle fatigue and soreness (ie, delayed-onset muscle soreness [DOMS]) and improve muscular performance.”
Make the time to roll out!
Muscle Relief Rubs or Oils
Soothe your sore muscles post-workout and post-shower with a muscle relief rub, gel, or oil of your choice. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you may opt for a rub over oil, but both are good options.
Options for hands-on treatment include:
Arnica gel - This plant-based rub can be massaged right into the muscle. In fact, many massage therapists like to use it during sessions as a pain-reliever.
CBD rubs - CBD (short for cannabidiol) can help aid muscle recovery. If you opt for this, be sure to get the high-quality, third party tested products. It’s important to note that most rubs won’t have THC, so it won’t get you high, but it will help heal your muscles!
Peppermint oil - Use 100% peppermint oil mixed with coconut oil and rub into sore muscles. The menthol has a cooling effect and works as an anti-inflammatory.
Like ginger? Give a ginger compress a try Try using grated fresh ginger to alleviate pains. Pour hot water over the ginger and let it sit for several minutes before dipping a clean washcloth into it. Make sure the cloth isn’t too hot before placing it on your sore muscles.
If you like heat therapy, hitting the sauna before and after your gym session may sound like a heavenly way to ease into recovery. Dry heat in a sauna can help increase circulation and blood flow to muscles.
A study conducted at Auburn University of Montgomery with Sunlighten’s mPulse full spectrum sauna increased flexibility up to 3x. Benefits included joint mobility and less joint friction, enabling joint function to decrease stiffness.
A few benefits of using a sauna:
- Flushes out toxins
- Improves circulation
- Induces deeper sleep
Heat therapy is available in most gyms. If you’re able to access it and give it a try, compare workout days when you don’t use it to when you do to gauge if it’s an effective recovery option for you.
Last but not least, it’s important to let muscles rest.
As you refine and develop your workout routine, don’t forget to build-in recovery days. Even the most intense athletes know that rest days are a part of the workout process. Days away from the gym don’t have to be totally lazy. You can still do a light workout — like a walk or casual bike ride — to keep your body moving.
If you don’t allow your muscles to have that much-needed break, you may slow your recovery process. When your body isn’t allowed to rest, you can also interrupt the natural muscle-building process.
You won’t lose your muscles overnight as you also didn’t gain them overnight. Let your body rest to reload glucose and restore other body functions.
Workout Recovery Looks Different For Everyone
Since we all do different workouts and experience unique recovery periods, the most important part of workout recovery is listening to your own body. What might work for you may not work for your best friend and vice versa.
Downtime for your muscles is when activated muscles grow, which is why recovery periods matter.
The typical rule of thumb is that whichever muscle group you work on, you’ll want to rest it the following day. You’ll know you’ve overdone it if you feel excessive soreness, can’t sleep, or you get winded quickly doing your normal activities. That’s your body telling you, “Hey, it’s recovery day!”
When in doubt, just remember that letting tired muscles recover is a key element to prepping your body for an even better workout next time.
Ready to recover and ease muscle pain faster? Try our turmeric shot, VITALITY, which harnesses the powerful anti-inflammatory benefits of Hawaiian turmeric root. Order some today!