It’s wrong to assume that all the hard work you put in at the gym is solely responsible for boosting your muscle growth. In fact, it’s the time afterwards when your muscles are relaxing and recovering that muscle growth actually takes place. To capitalise from your post-exercise recovery, follow these essential tips.
Get enough sleep
Your body won’t recover from workouts unless you get adequate sleep each night – between 7-9 hours. When your body is properly rested through quality slumber, your immune system will kick into action and lower harmful inflammation, while helping to repair muscles. If you have the time and opportunity, a short power nap in the afternoon can also work wonders for post-workout recovery.
Remember to rest
No matter what level you’re at in your exercise game, it’s vital to incorporate rest days into your training regime. Rest days give your body time to recover. Experts reckon you should also have a rest week about once every two months. You can still exercise during this week, but you should cut back drastically on the intensity levels.
You shouldn’t just top up with fluids when you down at the gym. If you want your body to recover properly after workout sessions, you need to remain hydrated afterwards. This ensures your muscles don’t suffer from fatigue, low plasma volume or thermal stress, which can all compromise recovery.
The food that you put into your body following exercise can assist in recovery, so stock up on high quality protein-rich ingredients such as fish, poultry, red meat and eggs. Don’t forget those all-important carbohydrates that do their bit to keep your muscles and tissues in tip-top order. Healthy fats should also be incorporated into your diet and include oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados. It might also be a good idea to supplement with fish oils, as these are known for assisting with the recovery of muscles and the nervous system.
To restore depleted glycogen levels in the body after exercise, experts claim that whey protein mixed with a high GI carbohydrate should be consumed straight after the end of a workout session.
Your post-workout diet should also make way for potassium-rich foods that can assist with re-energising muscles. Bananas are a great source of potassium, so always make sure you’ve got one in your gym bag for afterwards.
Focus on stretching
After any type of exercise, it’s always a good idea to devote at least 20 minutes to gentle stretching of the muscles. This helps to relieve tension and aches in the muscles and it can also assist with muscle growth – vital if you’re looking to maximise your pump potential.
Get into the habit of warming up before exercise, too, as this prevents injuries and gives you increased flexibility during workouts.
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