by Nick Marshall
The “no pain, no gain” maxim is great for motivation during a workout, but it’s not going to take you to the next level, alone. When your workout ends, the real work is only just beginning for your muscles.
Up your workout routine by giving as much attention to your recovery as you do to your reps in the weight room. To support the process, and keep discomfort to a minimum, try these natural recovery methods and supplements.
Why muscle recovery matters
When you’re trying to build muscle, rest day is just as important as leg day. We have to give our muscles time to heal. If you’re not just as focused on your recovery as your gym session, you’re not getting the most out of your workout.
In order to make gains, you have to do temporary damage to the muscle fibers. The body responds to the stress of a workout by resolving to come back stronger. The side effects are post-workout inflammation and tender muscles and joints shortly after a session, and possibly delayed onset muscle soreness a day or two after your workout.
Massage soothes muscle recovery
Muscles become sore because of the buildup of lactic acid during aerobic exercise and due to inflammation as the tiny individual fibers tear from exertion. If you don’t have regular access to a professional massage therapist, you can still soothe muscles yourself with the help of massage sticks or a tennis ball.
Roll either over tender areas to work out the pain. Foam rollers are also effective in soothing connective tissue through a myofascial massage. By massaging the joints and muscle groups, you help flush out lactic acid as well as limit the soreness from scar tissue.
The best recovery shakes and supplements
Strenuous exercise might feel invigorating while you’re in the zone, but it takes a toll on your body’s energy stores. To speed up recovery, water, electrolytes and nutrients need to be replaced. Branded workout bars and shakes suggest you mean business, but anything with protein and carbohydrates will do.
No later than two hours after your workout, aim to get down one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, one liter of water for every 1,000 calories burned and plenty of carbohydrates to replace glycogen in the muscles.
Get plenty of sleep
Surprisingly, you don’t build muscle in the gym. You build it afterward in bed or on the couch. A long nap or a few hours lounging around doing nothing is by no means a sign of weakness. You’ll have earned every minute.
While you’re sleeping, anabolic hormone secretions boost recovery, and your muscle fibers will repair, knit together again and return denser and bigger.
Try CBD workout supplements
If you want to minimize inflammation from your workouts, reduce soreness and improve your quality of sleep, reach for a natural CBD supplement.
When combined with other powerful herbs and botanicals, a CBD capsule like FOCL Night can promote sleep, limit post-workout soreness and boost the body’s levels of serotonin and melatonin — the hormones that champion well-being and relaxation.
You can take it an hour or so before hitting the sack, or, if you’re looking for an immediate boost, you can add a few drops of a CBD tincture to your post-workout smoothie.
If you’re pounding the gym regularly week after week but not seeing the improvement you were hoping for, don’t fire your personal trainer just yet. Take a closer look at your post-recovery routine to make sure you’re giving your body enough time to respond. Integrate the methods above into your regime and you’ll find that even the workouts themselves become easier.