Post Workout Recovery Tips and Ideas

What you do after and between your workouts is equally as important as the workout itself. Our bodies need time to rest and recover, otherwise we aren’t giving our bodies the time to repair the micro tears that actually create muscle. So grab your favorite recovery meal or drink, have a seat and let’s discuss how to best help our bodies recover.

Don’t Skip the Stretching

Stretching and flexibility are overlooked by a lot of men I know who are looking for “max gains”. Stretching for 20 minutes immediately after your workout is a great way to get it in, because it’s immediately on your mind. But why is it important when you’re interested in building muscle? First, it will help to ease muscle tension and may keep you from experiencing soreness the next day. It also will make sure your muscles and tendons are flexible enough to get into those deep squats you’ve been aiming for.

Active stretching and yoga also help the body with posture, alignment and balance. Taking a yoga class on an active recovery day is a great way to still engage your body and helps strengthen muscles that otherwise aren’t used in weightlifting, and improves your posture and body alignment to stave off soreness from poor posture. Adding yoga back into my routine helped with neck and shoulder issues I had been having for a while, and was a whole lot cheaper than seeing the chiropractor every week!

Roll Out

I’m not going to lie, every time I use a foam roller to roll out, the Ludacris song of the same name pops in my head for a second. I hadn’t ever rolled out before my boyfriend and I started living together, but it’s like a little mini massage after your work out. And the pops in my back I get feel heavenly!

Using a foam roller can help reduce muscle soreness and increases blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, helping with the repair and muscle building process. This mini massage also helps to increase flexibility and lengthen muscles, as well as increased range of motion. Some articles out there suggest that it also helps reduce cellulite by increasing blood flow to the area, but there isn’t much science to necessarily back this one up, as cellulite is a cause of weak or wider-linked connective tissue under the skin.

Fueling your Body

Don’t forget to refuel your body after your workout! Eating within a 60-minute window after your workout is ideal, with high quality protein and complex carbs (aka skip the white bread). One highly researched and easy solution? Chocolate milk. Seriously. Multiple studies show that chocolate milk has many of the minerals and vitamins needed to help athletes recover after a strenuous work out or game, and it’s easy and quick to grab from the corner store on the way home, if you’re in a pinch. And don’t forget to add back the water. Hydration is super important and will help minimize muscle cramping and post-workout muscle fatigue.

If you’re looking for supplement options, choose a high quality protein shake and a recovery drink supplement to help build muscle. Again, you’re looking for high quality BCAA’s for max muscle building and recovery. I really love TC Nutrition’s BCAA recovery drink in Fuzzy Peach. It’s not overly sweet, and I use it during and after my workout. If you’re questioning what to look for in a whey protein shake, check out this article for suggestions.

Don’t Skip the Self Care

Taking care of yourself is imperative to avoid burnout. Self care has been talked about a lot lately. So much, that it’s almost a buzzword that we skip over in the articles online and social media. But self care is important to reducing stress (see my last article for more stress relief tips!) and to post-workout recovery.

Take a Rest

Listen to what your body needs, and take care of yourself. If you’re feeling more fatigued or seeing reduced performance after a series of hard workouts, give yourself a little extra time to recover. Recovery isn’t lazy, it’s necessary.

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These are some great tips. I spent 25 years in the military and it use to upset me how we had to always do so much stretching before we actually began any physical activity. As I educated myself through the years I realized the importance and you reminded me of that again today 🙂

I have a bad habit of not replenishing in a timely manner. I have not heard about the chocolate milk, so thank you for sharing that. I will definitely try that one. I typically drink a lot of water but having that variety is very useful.

Listening to your body is vital. I have many friends who are gym rats and they tend to not follow that advice and time and time again I see them paying for it eventually. Great tips and thanks for sharing.

Thank you for being so real about the importance of this! I need someone like you to consistently remind me that these tips are really just as critical as the workout. It is SELF CARE to take care in every way you have suggested. Your voice will be in my head to STRETCH! (fuel and roll out too!!) Much appreciated.

“Listen yo what your body needs, and take care of yourself.” Ouch.

This has been the areas where I neglect the most. Although I’ve not been working out for like a year or so, I felt the fatigue all over me. I don’t go to gym because I prefer doing HIIT at home. I dislike being seen by other people when I do exercise. Self-conscious.

Regardless, your content reminds me of what I should be doing. Keep my healthy body on track. Thank you so much for that. 🙂

HIIT is soooo great, but I know that I felt like I’d been hit by a truck the first few classes I took. The soreness almost makes you stop all together sometimes, and I really want people to keep at it, so stretching and recovering are so important. Good luck with your journey!

I just started going back to the gym and I do get very sore after a workout. It was interesting to read about stretching as a way to prevent soreness. I’ll definitely start doing that. And I have never thought about chocolate milk as a post workout drink, I’ll consider that as well. Good article, thank you!

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