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A killer sweat session is good for the mind, body, and soul, but not without a recovery plan. From taking a fitness class on the MINDBODY app to finishing your daily run, it's so important to not only care for your muscles, but your well-being as a whole.
Whether it's snacking right or making time for that *oh-so-good* stretch, we've got five easy tips to help you successfully recover and get your body back to the workout grind.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but whether you just completed a strenuous bootcamp or rejuvenating yoga class, it’s important to replace the fluids lost during exercise. Make it a goal to consume at least two liters of water per day. Tack on a bottle refill (or two) if your workout had you really sweating.
Pro Tip: Grab a few organic mint leaves, slice up some citrus and add them to your water for a thirst-quenching treat.
Light stretching before and after your workout can help facilitate quick muscle recovery by reducing lactic acid build-up and improving circulation. Stretching is proven to help your range of motion and flexibility in addition to improving your performance in the long run. Try these simple movements, holding each for one minute:
Pro Tip: Take stretching seriously! Commit to making it a part of your workout routine every time.
Foam rolling is a great way to speed up recovery and can ease soreness by breaking up tight knots of tissue and enhancing blood flow. Experiencing discomfort is part of the process, and does your body good—however, if you’re experiencing sharp, unexpected pain, pause and speak with your doctor before continuing.
Pro Tip: Looking to release tension in a targeted spot? Try a roller ball. Rubber, lacrosse-style balls can get into those tight areas where you need centralized, deep tissue relief.
Juices, smoothies and nutritional supplements are all post-workout ways to assist in your body’s recovery. It’s crucial to get a mix of protein and carbs into your system fast, ideally within 20 minutes of completing your workout. Determine what your body needs—maybe it’s watermelon juice’s soothing effect that helps get more oxygen to muscles, or pomegranate juice’s antioxidant-packed ingredients that decrease muscle soreness (specifically in your arms).
Pro Tip: Looking to pick a protein powder that benefits your specific workout plan? True Nutrition offers the ability to customize your powder and flavor through easy-to-use tools and a helpful support staff.
Reach for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as hemp, flax seeds and chia. Nuts and blueberries are also great sources to help these fatty acids speed up recovery and reduce inflammation. Check out this article for more snack ideas.
Pro Tip: Plan ahead and buy from the bulk section at your local health food store. Create portioned bags with an omega-3 “trail mix” so you can snack healthy on the go.
Athletes are more likely to be exposed to heat, friction, oils and sweat. Used gym mats are a key offender of holding onto oils, which can lead to acne issues. Take good care of your skin by cleansing heat rash and turf burn, washing areas prone to breakouts after every session and moisturizing.
Pro Tip: Keep facial wipes in your gym bag so you can do a quick cleanse before (and after) your workout.
Prevent inflammation in worn-out muscles by booking a 30-minute to 1-hour massage after an intense workout. If you can't swing an afternoon at the spa, circle back to your foam roller and incorporate a foot massager into the mix. Regular foot massages can decrease the risk of injury.
Pro Tip: Rub marjoram essential oil on sensitive spots for added relief and relaxation.
For the final piece to your post-workout puzzle, mix Epsom salt into your hot bath. The salt’s minerals will be quickly absorbed through the skin, alleviating muscle pain and inflammation when combined with hot water. Though it’s not long-lasting relief, this remedy is almost instant.
Pro Tip: Post-bath, rub coconut oil onto damp skin for a soothing, smoothing and moisturizing effect.