Keys for Post-Workout Recovery

A good post-workout plan is key for anyone who exercises regularly. It'll help you improve your physical performance, prevent injuries and, in short, meet your objectives.
Keys for Post-Workout Recovery

Last update: 24 September, 2019

Many of us don’t bother too much with a post-workout recovery after exercising. But both warming up and winding down are key for improving athletic performance. Today, let’s look at the importance of a post-workout recovery session.

What is a post-workout recovery?

You should think of post-workout recovery as an extension of your normal workout because it’s where your body tries to wind down back into a normal, pre-workout state.

Your body also uses post-workout recovery to rest and repair any muscular damage as well as normalizing your heart-rate and certain hormone levels.

If you take on an intense workout, your body faces a greater amount of neuromuscular and metabolic stress. In addition, it finds itself low on glycogen reserves.

As a result of all the above, your body releases cortisol, a catabolic hormone, and tapers down testosterone levels, which is an anabolic hormone. If you follow proper post-workout recovery, you can reverse this situation. Failing to do so however, will result in its consequences.

Proper post-workout recovery isn’t only crucial for professional or competitive athletes but for everyone. Regardless of your physical condition or fitness goals, you should know how to follow through with the steps to recovery to reduce your risks of injury.

Keys for post-workout recovery

In order to help your body return to a normal state, read over these key factors for post-workout recovery:

1. Resting between workouts

Resting sufficiently between your workouts is extremely important. If you’ve already worked up to a high fitness level, your need for rest won’t be as dire. But, if you’re just starting out, lacking the rest you need is dangerous.

post workout recovery rest

In addition to the potential dangers, your workouts will become less efficient because your body never returns to a normal state. Consequently, you might struggle through workouts or even notice the symptoms of overworking your body.

Regardless of your fitness goals, if you’re just starting out, start by taking a day to rest in between your workouts. In addition to preventing physical problems, resting will help you reach your goals sooner.

2. The importance of a good stretch

Stretching properly after a workout— never before– is immensely important. On the other hand, stretching before a workout can shorten your muscles, provoke more pain and hinder both recovery and improvement.

You should invest at least 20 minutes to stretch out sufficiently after a workout. Stretch out the muscles you’ve worked with in your workout. Adding a cold bath for certain body parts will also help your body recover.

3. Hydration, key for post-workout recovery

Replacing the water you lost during a workout is fundamental after any kind of physical activity. It’s crucial for getting your body back to a normal state.

After exercising, you should take in around 150 percent of the total weight lost. Drink the water in two or three sittings; the first should contain 800 ml, drink around 200 ml portions, every 15 minutes.

4. Keeping your glycogen reserves under control

You also need to consider your glycogen reserve. In order to minimize muscle damage, you have to make sure that your body has access to these reserves. Making sure you have glycogen reserves available will help your body better synthesis proteins in addition to creating a good hormonal balance to optimize these reserves.

Thus, eating before and after a workout is crucial to help you perform and recover correctly. Your pre-workout meal should be rich in proteins and healthy fats along with complex carbohydrates such as pasta or rice if you’re planning on doing a long workout.

5. Avoiding certain products and unnecessary boosts

We want to refer to certain products for our last key. After your workout, you should avoid alcohol and anti-inflammatory medications because they both hinder recovery considerably.

Additionally, these substances prevent muscle and connective tissue from healing properly as well. As a consequence, recovery is much slower and less efficient.

post work out recovery products

6. Try adding omega-3 to your post-workout recovery plan

Consuming small amounts of oily fish or walnuts after your workout an help reduce the muscle soreness that results from an intense workout.

Another benefit that omega-3 has in store is its anti-inflammatory quality, which helps reduce body stress while improving blood circulation. Similarly, fruits such as blueberries can help relieve muscle soreness.

Following all of these key points in crucial for seeing the desired results. Now that you have the recipe for a successful post-workout recovery, there are no excuses for not recovering properly! Time to workout!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Brophy-Williams, N.; Landers, G. y Wallman, K. (2011). Effect of inmediate an delayed cold water inmersion after high intensity exercise session on subsequent run performance. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 10, 665 – 670.
  • Kenttä, G. y Hasmén, P. (1998). Overtraining and recovery, a conceptual model. Sports med, 26 (1). 1 – 16.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.