What you eat and how intense your workout is matter, but your progress really comes down to your post workout recovery routine. You can work your body to its breaking point and eat everything you’re supposed to, but if you don’t give your body enough time to rest in between workouts, you could easily be doing more harm than good.
A healthy workout recovery routine means eating right, staying hydrated, stretching before you leave the gym, and making sure you get enough sleep at night. While you could perfectly perform the same exercises as a professional athlete, if you don’t focus on how you recover, you won’t see even a fraction of the results.
Why Your Post Workout Recovery Matters
Whether you’ve just started working out or you’re in the middle of training hard for a specific goal, you might be thinking, “I need to focus on my exercise routine to see progress – I don’t have time to take a day off to rest.”
That kind of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth.
Believe it or not, taking the time to wind down and recover after exercise can actually be more important than the workout itself. A complete post workout recovery routine is vital to preventing injuries and affording your muscles enough time to strengthen and repair. By allowing your body to recover in between workouts, you’re not only allowing your muscles to recover, but you’re also making future workouts easier.
Make Tomorrow Easier
If you’re really a “workout maniac” who can’t bear to take a day off, here’s the good news: workout recovery and rest days only apply to specific muscle groups. There’s a reason “leg days” and “arm days” exist. That’s because while it’s true that your muscles need 48 hours to rest after a high-intensity workout, as long as you make sure to switch between muscle groups every few days, you can technically work out every day of the week.
That is, except for full-body workouts. In those cases, you really should allow your entire body to rest before hitting the gym again.
Whether you’re taking a full workout recovery day or just resting a specific muscle group, there are several active workout recovery techniques you can add to your routine to speed up the recovery process – such as what and when you eat.
If you want to eat to speed up your workout recovery, focus on specific foods like healthy fats, proteins, and unprocessed vegetables. Eating a meal high in proteins and carbohydrates roughly 30 to 45 minutes after a workout can also accelerate your workout recovery process. And of course, remember to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercising. But we’ll get into that in greater detail later.
Sleep is also integral to your post workout recovery. So much that achieving regular, quality sleep can actually boost your immune system and lower your cortisol levels.
5 Workout Recovery Techniques
- Quality sleep is important for your mind and body as it’s the time at which your body focuses on recovery and repair
- Increase hydration and eat to restore energy
- Massage your muscles to increase blood flow and remove lactic acid buildup
- Contrast therapy – fluctuate between icing and heating your muscles
- Ice baths force your blood vessels to constrict so that when your body warms up, blood rushes back into your muscles with extra oxygen
Don’t Forget to Stretch
While it might be tempting to grab your towel and pack up as soon as your workout is over so you can get home with enough time to relax before bed, take a deep breath and give yourself a few extra minutes, it’s incredibly important to take the time to stretch before you run out of the gym. Making stretching a part of your active workout recovery routine can greatly improve your flexibility, muscle recovery, and workout performance.
Using foam rollers to help loosen your muscles and break up the lactic acid or bracing a tennis ball against the wall for those hard-to-reach places are two great tools you can use to help you get the most out of your stretch.
Benefits of Stretching
- Increase flexibility and range of motion
- Reduce lactic acid buildup
- Improve blood flow and circulation
- Lower your stress by relieving muscle tension
- Reduce back pain by loosening muscles
- Better posture from strengthened muscles
Workout Recovery From the Inside Out
Your post workout recovery routine doesn’t stop with stretching. In fact, what you eat, how much water you drink, and the quality of sleep you get all play a major role in enhancing your workout. It could be said that your natural and active workout recovery processes are closely linked.
No matter how hard or strenuous your workout is, your results depend highly on your post workout recovery preparation. This means that even if you’ve planned your workout routine to a “T,” it could all be for naught if you don’t put the same kind of effort into your workout recovery.
- Refuel with healthy carbs, proteins, and fats
- Reduce inflammation
- Remember to rest
- Regenerate and resynthesize muscles
- Restore your body’s homeostasis
Focus on What You Eat
Like we mentioned above, it’s not just what you eat that matters, but when you eat. This is because it takes time for your body to digest certain fats, carbs, and proteins. So if you want to get the most out of your food before and after a workout, focus on which foods will give you the most energy and help rebuild muscle.
When it comes to what you should eat for optimal post workout recovery, try incorporating muscle recovery foods such as healthy carbs and proteins. After a workout, the healthy proteins you eat will help boost the amino acids your body needs to build and repair new muscle tissue. On the other hand, healthy carbs will help to replenish your body’s glycogen stores, which are often consumed as fuel during a workout.
While weightlifters and runners should consume healthy carbs and proteins as part of their post workout recovery routine, their ratios will differ. This is because high-endurance sports, like running and swimming, use more fuel (glycogen) than resistance training. Weightlifting causes small tears in your muscles and results in greater stress, meaning weightlifters should consume more protein than carbs during their workout recovery.
Exercise actually enhances your body’s ability to digest proteins and carbs but to get the most out of your post workout recovery food; it’s recommended you eat within 45 minutes of your workout. Delaying your after-workout meal by even two hours can decrease your glycogen production by almost 50 percent.
The American Council on Exercise suggests you drink at least 45 ounces of water before, during, and after your workout. This includes 17-20 ounces of water at least two or three hours before your planned workout and at least 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before you start. Once your workout begins, you should try to drink about 10 ounces of water every 20-30 minutes during your workout and another 8 ounces within a half-hour of ending your workout.
- Sweet potatoes
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut oil
Quality Sleep is Important for Workout Recovery
Although your sleep can be broken down into four main stages, the main categories of importance are REM sleep and non-REM sleep. While REM sleep is the most important sleep stage for memory retention, non-REM sleep is responsible for your muscle and workout recovery, specifically the third stage of sleep. Since your brain is resting during non-REM sleep, more blood and oxygen are available to help your muscles rebuild.
Non-REM sleep is the stage at which your body secretes a muscle-building growth hormone to stimulate your tissues and repair your muscles. This means that with less sleep comes a decline in your growth hormone secretion, which is associated with a reduced capacity for exercise and even some loss of muscle mass.
Quality sleep can reduce the amount of pain you experience the following morning since non-REM sleep allows your muscles to relax without tension. Sleep is also the time at which your metabolism hormone, responsible for indicating when you’re full, is released. This is why less sleep is often associated with an increase in appetite.
How CBD Benefits your Active Workout Recovery Routine
What you really need after a good, hard workout is to allow your body to reach a state of calm, which is why adding CBD benefits your workout recovery routine.
But that’s not all CBD can do.
By combining CBD with a number of different ingredients, CBD can do everything from promoting a sense of relaxation after a draining workout to helping to improve your sleep so that your muscles can recover at night.
CBD for Sleep
Regular, quality sleep is integral to both muscle recovery and appetite suppression. It’s important to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Adding CBD oil to your post workout recovery routine could be just what you need to get the sleep you need and kick your muscle recovery into high gear. That’s because it’s a great addition to evening wind-down routines. At cbdMD, we’ve made it easier than ever to relax your mind and body to promote a good night’s rest.
While your body naturally produces melatonin, sometimes it’s still not enough to get you to sleep at night – especially if you’ve been staring at your phone or altering your natural sleep schedule. By introducing additional melatonin to your system in combination with the calming and relaxing CBD benefits, CBD PM can help you maintain your normal circadian rhythm so that you can get the most from your post workout recovery rest.
CBD Topicals for Muscle Recovery and Minor Discomfort
cbdMD has several CBD topicals you can massage into your sore muscles as a part of your post workout recovery. From CBD creams like CBD Recover to gels like CBD Freeze and massage oils, we’ve got whatever you need.
While CBD topicals have many benefits as CBD tinctures and softgels, CBD topicals often contain well-known, active pain relievers such as menthol, histamine dihydrochloride, and lidocaine to provide soothing relief to specific areas.
CBD Creams and Lotions
CBD creams and other topicals soak into your skin and work with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in your skin, just like any other CBD product. The combination of hemp extracts, common topical pain relievers, and a range of botanicals creates products that are carefully designed to help relieve the discomfort in your joints and muscles caused by strenuous exercise.
CBD Recover, for example, contains histamine dihydrochloride, a topical analgesic designed to provide temporary pain relief. Histamine dihydrochloride also provides a warming sensation that can soothe your tired and sore muscles during your workout recovery. CBD Recover is great for those specific areas of discomfort.
CBD Revive is considered a CBD lotion because its moisturizing formula is lighter than a cream; therefore, it can easily spread over a larger area.
CBD Freeze Gel
Just like Recover and Revive, CBD Freeze can be a great complement to your post workout recovery. It contains our Superior Broad Spectrum CBD formula, which is great for skin support. But it features menthol as the active ingredient, which can provide temporary relief and soothing effects to sore and tired muscles. CBD Freeze will be your product of choice if you prefer a cooling sensation rather than a warming one.
When you use these soothing CBD topicals during your active workout recovery (especially your post-exercise stretching and massage), you increase your ability to build lean muscle. For more information on CBD benefits, using CBD as a part of your active workout recovery routine, and stay up to date on the latest news and special offers, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also, make sure to check out our blog to increase your hemp and CBD knowledge, and stay tuned for special offers and upcoming products!