How to Recover From an Intense Workout
I recently had an intense workout – it was boot camp style and even though I work out almost every day it really kicked my trash. In fact, I could barely move at all the next day. What to do?
Take a cold bath – this is advice from a bodybuilder I know. I tried it. It took me 20 mins. to get the courage to get in all the way up to my neck. I’m not sure how much it helped but I felt brave. By that time the soreness was already wearing off on its own.
Walking, getting a massage and other advice hasn’t done much to help either. Here’s what does:
1. Stretch out your muscles. Spend more time doing gentle stretches at the end of an intense workout. Don’t rush through this – let your muscles cool down gradually. This would be a good time to take a walk – before you cool down completely.
2. Eat. You should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout. High-quality protein and complex carbohydrates are best.
3. Drink a lot of water. You sweat a lot during exercise and you are likely not getting enough water. After an intense workout it’s particularly important to replace the water lost when you sweat. Dehydration won’t help your sore muscles.
4. Take it easy in the day or two following an intense workout. Excessive exercise and heavy training can set you back.
5. Take potassium. Either get this from eating a banana (or put it into your protein shake) or through supplements.
6. Take B vitamins (here’s an online vitamin store). Vitamin B1 is the most important. B1 is thiamine, and if you’re deficient it can cause muscle soreness. Even though you might not lack thiamine, it can help in recovery.
Whatever you do, don’t take the temptation to take it too easy. The more you sit and are not active (think low to moderate movement) the worse life will be for you. Keep moving but take it down a few notches.