To improve your health, boost your self-esteem, improve your mood and increase your energy levels, nothing beats a solid workout routine. That being said, you’ve got to focus just as much on what you do after your workouts as you do during your workouts. Quality spa tables and massage therapists can most certainly help your body recover from your workouts, but there are additional steps you can take and information to learn as well.
Listen to Your Body
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to pay close attention to how your body feels while you’re working out and afterward. If you wake up and feel like you can’t possibly bring yourself to go to the gym due to the ache in your muscles no matter how much you might want to, it’s best that you simply stay home and rest rather than risk overtraining and injuring yourself, which can equal a longer recovery time than if you’d just listened to your body and took a day off. Know that you build muscle not while you’re working out, but while your muscles are at rest.
Pay Attention to How You Fuel Your Body
After your session in the gym, it’s essential to replenish the energy you burned with a healthy meal. Refrain from eating fast food and food that has a lot of sugar. Sugar is known to inflame the muscles, which can result in a longer recovery time. The main issue with fast food when it comes to recovery is that not only can such foods cause inflammation, they lead to diseases as well, diseases you’re likely working out to prevent in the first place.
Engage Your Entire Body Rather Than Perform Isolated Exercises
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bigger chest, arms, calves or any other body part. The true danger lies in performing isolated exercises that only target a single muscle. Isolated exercises don’t build as much muscle as you’re hoping for, nor do they build the type of muscle you’re likely aiming for. By engaging your body in compound movements that target groups of muscle rather than single muscles, you better release human growth hormones and recover faster all at the same time.
Work on Eliminating All Signs of Fatigue
While it’s great to take one or two days off a week from your workouts to allow yourself recovery time, it’s better to take an even longer break to truly strain every bit of fatigue from your body. Professional athletes who have an upcoming event usually schedule their training so that they’re in peak condition two weeks before the event. The two weeks leading up to the event allow the body to make a complete recovery so the athlete can perform at her or his best during the actual event.
If you’re looking to make a 100 percent recovery and get rid of all your fatigue, you might have to rest for longer than two weeks. Studies have shown that Olympic swimmers still show indications of fatigue six months after the end of their season. Anyone who isn’t a professional athlete can make a complete recovery by resting a full month or two. If you simply can’t bring yourself to rest for that long, you should at least aim to take it easy during your workouts so you don’t add more stress and fatigue for your body to deal with.
Focus on Boosting Other Useful Physical Attributes
While you’re resting your body and looking for other ways to stay in shape, it’s a good idea to train to maximize other physical attributes that can help you in other areas of physical fitness. For instance, if you run or ride a bicycle, you can concentrate on strength training to protect your muscles from injury while gaining more strength. Basketball and tennis players are sure to benefit from the cardiac workout provided by mountain biking, which also allows the joints to rest up at the same time. The point with this particular tip is to simply try out a new type of exercise you’ve never done before and complements your regular workout routine.
Learn how to take proper care of your body while training your body to take proper care of you. Resting doesn’t mean your body hits a wall, but instead climbs a wall to get you to the next plateau.