Among gym-lovers, recreational runners, and professional athletes alike, muscle soreness is considered a hard-earned prize for their efforts. As painful as it may be, sore muscles are a clear sign you’ve crushed your workout, pushed your boundaries, and your body got enough stimulation to grow stronger and more resilient.
However, what most workout novices fail to understand is that muscle growth and recovery will not happen on their own, no matter how mighty you may feel with those sore muscles.
When it comes to physical recovery, professional athletes have mastered the art of crafting the best recovery routines to enable their bodies to fully utilize the effort they’ve put into their workouts and truly achieve their fitness goals.
Understanding that growth and progress don’t happen in the gym is vital, and only by following pro-recommended techniques you can know for sure when is the best time to time off for recovery.
Because we want you to progress towards your fitness goals, let’s see what some of the world’s most renowned athletes consider to be their best recovery strategies, not just to beat sore muscles, but to live up to their true fitness potential.
As painful as it may be, sore muscles are a clear sign you’ve crushed your workout, pushed your boundaries, and your body got enough stimulation to grow stronger and more resilient.Tweet This!
Active recovery sessions
Most people can barely fit their workouts into their busy schedule, so asking them to add a bit more physical activity would most likely be greeted with pure disbelief. However, the idea of rest and recovery are different for getting sick, catching the flu, or wrapping up a strenuous workout.
For the former, every physician would tell you to take it down a notch or two, while the latter actually requires you to move your body in order to help your muscles recover properly.
Some enthusiasts will find it difficult to use their rest day to take a stroll in the park or do some yoga, while the busy bees among you will struggle with the concept of including more active time into their routine.
Whichever your issue may be, the solution is as simple as it gets: walking.
This simple activity not only helps to reduce inflammation that causes soreness, but it also boosts microcirculation to flush out toxins and reduces the stiffness associated with post-workout soreness.
Improve your nutrition and hydration
Feeding your muscles the right nutrients is essential not just for curbing soreness, but also for helping muscle protein synthesis.
In order to use your diet properly to aid your recovery, make sure to focus on including healthy carbs that will replenish your glycogen stores, and lean protein to build new muscle and repair muscle tissue affected by your training session.
Furthermore, you need to drink plenty of fluids, especially water and electrolyte-infused water to kick your muscles into recovery mode. Some athletes even mix their protein into pure water instead of milk to meet both of their hydration and nutrition needs post-workout with a single move.
By timing your meals and your water intake right, not just after your training but before and regularly during the day, you’ll maximize the speed of recovery and minimize the intensity of soreness that follows.
Look at mother nature and allow her to work for you.
Science keeps revealing new ways to utilize natural means such as plants to heal our sore muscles, which is especially appreciated by the likes of Andrew Talansky, whose grueling triathlon preparations take a severe toll on his muscles and performance.
Like many other professional and recreational athletes, he has started using cannabidiol, or CBD for short, to mitigate his muscle soreness and more importantly, help his body heal well enough for the next round of strenuous exercise. As one of the main active compounds found in marijuana, CBD is responsible for reducing pain, anxiety, improving sleep quality and many other perks, without the “high” side-effect.
Due to this fact, a growing number of athletes across the world have started using marijuana concentrates and other forms high in CBD to bolster their recovery after workouts. This active ingredient alone can help reduce pain and inflammation that caused by injuries, all the while improving other aspects of your recovery regime, including appetite and sleep.
The only prerequisites involve two factors: first, that CBD has to be legal in your region, and second, that the strain you’re using isn’t high in THC, so it won’t actively get you feeling “high”.
Cryotherapy at its best
Do names such as Shaquille O'Neal and Floyd Mayweather ring any bells?
Considering the fame they earned through their athletic careers, in basketball and boxing respectively, their choice of recovery has to be acknowledged as successful as their careers. The notion of cryotherapy, or using freezing and near-freezing temperatures to improve health, wellbeing, and of course, fitness recovery, may seem a new one outside of elite circles, but it’s an already widely-embraced practice worth considering for your own recovery regime.
However, if this sounds like an extreme you’re not yet ready to try out, the least you can do is treat your body with a bit of cold water while you shower, and your muscles will still benefit from this.
Of course, you start at a temperature you usually use for showering and gradually get to a colder one, which will boost your blood flow and help your entire body detox properly. Cold compression is another way to go, especially if your joints are achy, which is where the cold helps reduce localized inflammation rather successfully.
Professional sports massages
We all know that a tough workout will lead to damage in the muscle tissue, but to what extent, only a professional massage therapist will know. Pro athletes from all fields rush to book their time with their massage therapist, as they understand how important it is to prevent injuries and treat those sore trigger points with pressure.
Unlike a regular, relaxing massage, sports massages can be quite painful, which may sound counter-intuitive if all you’re looking for is momentary relief from sore muscles. However, this is one of the most effective long-term methods that helps fitness enthusiast stay safe while working out and treat any scar tissue resulting from strenuous workouts.
Specific methods may offer short-term relief, while others focus on long-term results, but all of them combined are a great way to combat exercise-induced soreness as well as a slew of other side-effects.
It’s vital that fitness lovers everywhere start embracing a recovery-focused mindset to actually reap the benefits of their workouts and truly accomplish their health goals.
About the Author: Scarlet Gratton
Scarlet is a passionate writer and regular contributor at ripped.me, and she’s interested in fashion, lifestyle, and health. She loves traveling; one could say that she is a real travel addict, especially when she has a chance to visit exotic destinations. She thinks that we can draw inspiration from the most unexpected places.