You spend 20 minutes or so each day to get fit. Well, what happens during the other 23 hours and 40 minutes until your next workout?
Post-workout recovery! In fact, the most important part of your workout routine. And actually, if you think about it, what you do between workouts will not only help to improve your muscles, but if done properly, will also help you lose body fat! In a sense, while you are simply trying to get the most from your workout, you will also be losing fat in the process.
The recommendations that I want to share with you aren’t just things that work for me, but also have been backed by research, specifically from this article in the journal Sports Medicine.
Let’s go through the highlights:
Prior dehydration can be detrimental to performance
The most important step you can take for post-exercise recovery is to drink water so your body can transport proteins, vitamins and nutrients to recovering muscles. Further, an adequate blood volume is needed to remove waste from damage muscles and body tissues. You should be sipping water continuously throughout your workout. Make sure to avoid drinking large quantities at once, which may lead to an electrolyte imbalance. For moderate to intense activity, you should be drinking about 8 ounces over every 10-minute period of your workout. Drink immediately after and throughout the next day.
If there were ever a time to eat carbs, eating them for post-exercise recovery presents the perfect opportunity to do so. Carbohydrates contain sugar, which your muscles store in the form of glycogen. When you workout, your muscles use glycogen as fuel for exercise. Therefore, making sure you have enough glycogen is essential for recovery. Prefer complex carbohydrates (which burn fat), such as whole wheat breads or brown rice, versus simple carbohydrates, including sweets, white breads and white rice. (Read more on Eating and Exercise).
Medications (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs)
Many people use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Aleve, Ibuprofen or Motrin for post-exercise recovery. They are highly effective in reducing inflammation and offering pain relief for multiple conditions, including musculoskeletal pain. Particularly, research notes that NSAIDs are particularly useful when muscles are extremely sore, but not found to be effective with minimal soreness. More importantly, these medications can be dangerous to take. Specifically, NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding, liver damage, kidney damage or increase your risk for a heart attack. Do not use these unless absolutely necessary. Sports Medicine notes:
Repeated use of NSAIDs over extended periods might have a detrimental effect on muscle repair and adaptation to training.
Recommendations for Optimal Recovery
- Rest (with light activity)
- Good food (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats and low-fat dairy)
- (and maybe a cold bath…)
Perfecting the FAST PACE Workout!
Today, we are going to repeat the Exercise Menu Fast Pace Workout Routine from Day 2. Let’s make a deal though. Perfect the FAST PACE routine today, and we will change things up a bit on our next cardio day. Deal?
Let’s get to it:
FAST PACE 20
Step 1: Pick your exercise. (Running, walking, biking, skating, etc.).
Step 2: Mark your starting point. (Home, point on a track, etc.).
Step 3: Advance for 10 minutes in one direction at the fastest, most comfortable pace that you can.
Step 4: Mark your halfway point, or the distance on the treadmill/elliptical/exercise bike.
Step 5: If exercising outside, get back to your starting point in 10 minutes!
If on a treadmill/elliptical or bike, achieve the same distance or total steps in 10 minutes!