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After exercising, it's important to properly take care of your body. Learn the top things you need to know to boost your muscle recovery.
Have you ever given your all at the gym, only to feel so sore you can barely move a day or two later? This phenomenon, known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), is completely normal. Taking a few precautions after exercising can help aid in muscle recovery and reduce soreness.
This is important for several reasons. First of all, extreme DOMS can lead to inflammation, reduced range of motion, and even muscle damage. Almost half of all people who start a fitness routine end up giving up within 6 months, so you'll want to do everything you can do set yourself up for success.
Reducing the physical pain that goes along with changing your body makes it far more likely you'll stick with your resolve to keep working out. These five tips will help you recover as quickly as possible so you can jump back into your fitness plan.
1. Always Stretch After Exercising
When you're really focused on gains, spending time stretching after a workout may feel like a waste of time. However, this actually couldn't be further from the truth. Stretching after a workout improves your range of motion and helps flush out the lactic acid that builds up while you exercise.
Stretching can also improve your flexibility and posture, reduce lower back pain, and help relieve tension and anxiety.
Plan to spend at least 20 minutes after every workout cooling down and properly stretching your muscles. Consider this a critical component of your workout routine and you're much more likely to stick to it. For best results, take your time and hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds.
2. Optimize Post-Workout Nutrition
Fueling your body after exercising is critical to getting the results you need. Non-keto exercisers will typically chug down a protein shake and add a banana for potassium. The mix of protein and carbs is excellent for physical recovery and the potassium helps reduce muscle cramping.
Giving your body the nutrition it needs also helps ensure that you won't go on a ravenous food-binge shortly after your workout. This makes it easier for you to continue making decisions that support your overall fitness goals.
Post-Workout Fuel Tips for the Ketogenic Lifestyle
If you're following a ketogenic diet, you'll need specialized nutrition to help you properly recover. A ketogenic pre/post workout spray can give you a boost of energy without a glucose spike. Look for a product that is designed to encourage muscle gains while reducing lactic acid build-up and fatigue. Also, try one of our delicious keto-meal shakes to fuel up after your workout.
3. Don't Minimize the Importance of Active Recovery
Rest days are important for adequate muscle recovery and are an excellent way to avoid overtraining. Giving your body a break for a day or two often results in far better performance when you do return to the gym.
As important as rest days are, choosing an "active rest" instead can help you avoid feeling overly stiff and lessen your muscle pain. A restorative yoga class, short walk, or easy bike ride around the neighborhood are all great options. These lightly active exercise sessions help increase blood flow and improve circulation.
Making the Most of Your Rest Days
During your rest days, make sure to stay hydrated and eat healthy meals. Take some time out to meditate, journal or read a book. If you're feeling really sore, an Epsom salt bath and a body rolling session may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
4. Take a Recovery Shower
You may be tempted to plop right down on the couch immediately after exercising. Don't make this mistake. Research suggests that "hitting the showers" is actually one of the best things you can do for your body following a workout.
Many professional athletes minimize pain and inflammation by hopping into an ice bath after their intense workouts. You don't have to go to this extreme. A post-workout "recovery shower" is good for far more than just rinsing off the sweat.
Benefits of Alternating Temperatures
Begin your shower with a temperature that's as cold as your body can handle. This decreases blood flow, reduces inflammation, and minimizes pain.
After some time, switch your shower over to hot water. This helps increase blood flow and flush out toxins that have built up during your workout. The heat also relaxes your muscles, helps minimize stiffness, and can improve your range of motion.
5. Get Plenty of Rest
When you finally hit the hay, that's where the real magic happens. Experts recommend getting at least six and a half to seven hours of sleep every night. If you're working out really hard, you may need even more than that.
Not only will getting enough sleep allow your body to rest and recover, it can help you perform better. Get plenty of ZZZs and you'll be able to power through those burpees and drop-sets without a problem.
Getting enough sleep also helps regulate the body's hunger hormones, lessening the chances you'll ruin your hard work with an unhealthy binge after exercising.
Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep
Set a reasonable bedtime for yourself and do your best to hit it consistently each night. Limit the use of electronic devices a few hours before you want to go to bed. Create a relaxing routine like a hot bath or warm cup of tea to help you wind down.
Although it may be tempting, avoid alcohol or sleep aids. These will make it harder for you to get into a consistent routine and can also interrupt your recovery.
Are You Ready to Change Your Body?
Fitness is a lifestyle that requires ongoing dedication. Combining regular physical activity with a ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to create serious long-term changes to your body shape.
Real change is hard, and you'll need all the support you can get. Our full line of nutritional products and supplements are designed to help you get into ketosis and maintain optimal health.
Interested in learning more about the ketogenic lifestyle? Check out our blog. Here you'll find all of our best recipes, tips, and keto life hacks.