We all know that proper recovery plays a large role in reaching our fitness goals. Whether you’re over training or have just been hitting the gym harder lately, we can all benefit from better sleep, better nutrition and more stretching/mobility work.
Here are five less known ways that you can help yourself recover faster and make better progress in the gym.
1. Listen to music immediately post-workout
We all know some good tunes, whether rock, rap or house, (or T-Swift of course) can pump us up for a workout. However, did you know that listening to music post-workout can help you recover faster?
A 2010 study showed that listening to “slow” music immediately post-workout can slow your heart rate, help your blood pressure recover and put your body in recovery mode quicker than not listening music. Bottom line: put on some slow jams to get back in the gym faster!
2. Drink tart cherry juice
Nothing like an ice cold glass of fruit juice right? Well, swap that OJ for some tart cherry juice. Not only is it great for heart and digestive health, drinking cold cherry juice regularly can help improve post exercise soreness.
Additional studies indicate that tart cherry juice can also improve sleep quality and duration by boosting levels of melatonin. And since we know that getting adequate sleep is crucial to proper recovery, weight management, and just about everything else, we think it is a no brainer to use regularly.
We love Lakewood Organic tart cherry juice. It’s not too sweet or too tart… just right.
3. Eat protein and carbs pre-workout
Most of us know the importance of post-workout nutrition for maximizing progress in the gym, but did you know that eating protein and carbs before your workout might be just as important to your progress? Studies show that elevated levels of insulin and amino acids in your system from carb and protein intake during your workouts improves muscle performance.
Also, eating protein before your workout can contribute to protein synthesis (muscle growth + recovery) for long after your workout.
So if you follow a nutrition program like IIFYM (Flexible Dieting) make sure to budget your calories for protein and carbs accordingly and grab a snack before you hit the gym.
We recommend eggs and toast, a protein smoothie, oatmeal + a light protein shake, or greek yogurt and fruit about 15-45 minutes before your workout.
4. Reduce alcohol consumption
Okay, so this one’s not that unusual, but studies show that post-exercise alcohol can impede progress in the gym. However, it should be noted that low levels of alcohol consumption should not affect your progress significantly. What does this mean for you?
If you’re planning on going out on the weekend and having several drinks, it’s best to not exercise right before you go out, or even that day if you want your workout to be beneficial. Keep the drinks in moderation when you’re on a strict workout program.
5. Take a nap after working out
We all love naps, so why not use them as part of your recovery plan? Studies show that daytime naps have a potential role as a valuable recovery tool after exercise. Hit the gym hard in the morning or at lunch? Take a quick power nap before you return to work.
In addition to the usual recovery methods we’re all familiar with, try giving some of these a shot and see if they help improve your performance!
Looking for additional ways to boost recovery? Check out some of the packs at PrettyFit to try new supplements, healthy snacks and fitness goodies each month!