If you’re burning calories and sweating through an intense session at the gym, focusing on your post-workout recovery is a health-smart move. Whether your strategy involves eating nutritious carbohydrates or taking Vitamin C supplements, here are our top five ways to return to your regular energy levels after a heart-pounding workout.
1) Have a dose of carbohydrates with yogurt, fruit or whole grains: While the body processes carbs as glucose and eventually converts them into energy, this fuel dwindles during that fast-paced run or spin class. The body’s levels of muscle glycogen, which normally produce energy, are also reduced. If you’re craving a post-workout treat, try snacking on a carbohydrate-enriched fruit such as an apple or pear. Yogurt and healthy whole grains like brown rice and pasta are also solid sources of carbs. To replace your body’s dipping levels of glucose, aim for a snack immediately after exercise.
2) Add healthy forms of protein to your diet: When combined with carbs, protein plays an essential role in helping those tired muscles recover from the strain of fitness. According to Active.com, a hearty helping of protein will refresh the body’s amino acids, which are protein building blocks, and will also minimize sore muscles as a result. Try grilled chicken breast, strips of lean steak or baked salmon to satisfy your system’s need for protein.
3) Replenish any lost fluids with basic H2O: The simplest solution to post-workout recovery may actually be nature’s own drink. Bring your water bottle along to the gym, and be sure to take sips after winding down your session. With about 75 per cent of the body made of water, the drying effects of dehydration kick in once you start losing water through sweat. According to Fitday.com, it’s best to keep sipping water before and after exercise to keep replenishing yourself.
4) Stretch after a workout to allow sore muscles to heal: If those aching limbs have left you in bed all weekend, you may not be stretching after completing your workout. Stretched or overworked muscles can suffer from torn fibers, especially if you’re making a return to the gym after weeks away. Enjoy a pain-free recovery by slowly stretching before you hit the shower.
5) Support your immune system with the benefits of Vitamin C: That juicy orange or pineapple may look pretty in a fruit bowl, but it also offers a helpful boost of Vitamin C. Dailyburn.com reports that taking this antioxidant-rich vitamin before and after a workout can cut back on post-workout coughing, wheezing and metabolic stress on the body from fitness. As a result, the powers of Vitamin C may even prevent exhausted fitness fanatics from developing a dreaded cold or flu.