Your muscles may be strong, but they need to be properly taken care of to stay that way and get stronger. Don't neglect the proper steps for muscle recovery so you can keep making gains at the gym.
Follow these tips for optimal muscle recovery:
1. Dress in comfortable clothing to allow the muscles to move unrestricted and remain warm.
2. Eat a meal with protein to provide nourishing amino acids for the muscles.
3. Practice dynamic or moving stretches for five to 10 minutes before your workout to warm the muscles and help prevent injury. Take it easy and breathe normally.
4. Start your routine slowly and gradually increase the intensity.
5. Stop when your body tells you to, not when you're in intense pain. Focus on quality reps where you exhibit full range of motion without losing form.
6. Drink plenty of water throughout your training to keep the body hydrated.
7. Stretch for five to 10 minutes after your workout using static stretches this time. This means holding a static pose. Be sure to breathe and don't push it too far.
8. Consider drinking a glass of coconut water for electrolytes, which are minerals that help the body retain the proper fluids.
9. Within an hour of completing your workout, have another post-workout meal, even a shake or a bar, to provide additional protein for additional amino acids to help the muscles repair themselves and grow strong.
10. Snack on some watermelon, which contains the amino acid citrulline and the mineral potassium, an important electrolyte.
11. Have a glass of tart cherry juice before bed to reduce inflammation and get antioxidant protection. Tart cherries also contain melatonin, a hormone that promotes deep, restorative sleep.
12. Massage the muscles using a foam roller or massage oils. Essential oils like arnica, camphor, menthol, eucalyptus, myrrh, avocado and grapeseed can be especially helpful in easing any discomfort.
13. Switch up your routine, working different muscles groups on different days and allowing adequate time for rest.
If you do experience an injury, make sure to alternate hot and cold compresses for 20 minutes each and elevate the wounded body part if possible for proper circulation and to reduce swelling. Make sure to take it easy and allow your body adequate time to heal -- pushing through your routine while sore can only escalate the problem.
You can find all of the supplements and products mentioned in this post at eVitamins. Share your tips with us for optimal muscle recovery on social media.