By Gabby Pavlovic (Guest Post)
When maintaining an active lifestyle, there are certain things you can do to get the most out of your workouts. Training sessions can be a real challenge on your body, so ensuring you have the right fuel, muscle recovery supplements, and practices are essential.
In this blog we will share some top muscle recovery tips and other insights curated by our resident personal trainer Jacinda, so you can optimise your training sessions and take your workouts to the next level.
PRIORITISE REST AND RECOVERY
It can be great once we establish a regular exercise routine, but do you factor in rest and recovery time when planning your workouts? These are just as important as exercise itself!
Recovery is a two-stage process, as it firstly returns what was lost by working out (renewed energy after fatigue), and secondly, it helps us adapt to training demands so we come back fitter and stronger than before1. By actively setting aside time to rest and recover between sessions, you give your body time to repair and rebuild itself and to come back stronger for future workouts. Prioritising adequate recovery can therefore result in more effective future workouts, whilst also reducing injury risk1.
Rest and recovery may be different form person to person, so maybe it looks like leaving a rest day in between workouts, or perhaps swapping out a heavier training session for a less intensive type of exercise (such as yoga). Maybe you also incorporate post-workout products into your routine, such as our Magnesium Oil Topical Spray which you can rub into the skin where your muscles are sore.
Whatever you do to rest and recover between sessions, just don’t underestimate the power of prioritising this!
FUEL YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT NUTRITION
To maximise performance and recovery, adequate food and fluid intake are essential2. What works best nutritionally can differ substantially from one person to the next, but generally you can find your “sweet spot” of balancing intake of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and a diversity of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you give your body its best chances at performing optimally throughout and between training sessions.
Consuming sources of carbohydrate (e.g. wholegrains, starchy vegetables like potatoes) and protein (e.g. meat, eggs, tofu) at the same time can help inhibit breakdown of muscle and replenish muscle glycogen stores3, and this is particularly pertinent when recovering from injury2.
Your specific nutritional requirements will vary depending on the type of exercise you engage in (and many other factors), but generally more heavy or strenuous exercise can increase your requirements for certain nutrients like B vitamins (i.e. riboflavin, folate), sodium, chromium, iron and magnesium4,5, so ensure you aim to eat a diverse range of wholefoods throughout the week to consume a wide nutritional profile.
Whilst personalised nutritional plans which acknowledge your unique body and its needs are the best way to tailor your requirements, it is worth remembering that making sure you eat enough food is paramount, as physical activity is a stress on the body. If you don’t fuel yourself appropriately you may experience lingering fatigue, poor recovery, decreased alertness, sleep disturbance and muscle loss6 – we don’t want to lose those gains!
It can be helpful to aim for 2.5 – 3.5 litres of water daily for optimal fluid intake7, however exercise can acutely disrupt fluid balance, further adding to the physiological stress that exercise already places on the body8. Your optimal level of fluid intake will therefore vary according to exercise intensity, the external temperature, where you are at in your cycle if you menstruate, and other factors, so it’s always good to have a water bottle on hand, ideally with a source of electrolytes (honey with a pinch of salt can be a cost effective option!).
With how hectic and busy our schedules are - we know how tempting it can be to skip this step and carry on with the rest of our day post-workout. However, by finishing each session with a thorough stretch and recovery session, you can help increase muscle flexibility and mobility long-term.
Stretching is important as it improves our joint range of motion (ROM), reduces muscle stiffness and soreness, and warms up muscles prior to exercise1. Although there are different types of stretching (active, passive, static, dynamic), the best type for exercise recovery are those that encourage dynamic movement rather than static movement (think things like leg swings, momentary hip flexor stretches), because these encourage enhanced ROM and reduce stiffness or soreness1.
GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR WORK OUT WITH A POWERFUL POST-WORKOUT ROUTINE
The great thing about the muscle recovery tips we have just discussed is that you can incorporate these into your workout and post-workout routines quite easily. In summary:
- Prioritise rest and recovery
- Fuel yourself with high quality food
- Hydrate to keep your fluid levels optimal
- Stretch to aid in muscle recovery and joint mobility
To take your training results to the next level, we have a range of muscle recovery formulations to accelerate your recovery, our favourites of which are included in our Muscle Recovery Trio which includes our luxurious MAGZEA™ Sports Recovery Bath Salts, perfect to relax those muscles and help you wind down at the end of a busy day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gabby Pavlovic is a Melbourne-based Naturopath and host of the Revitalising Health Podcast. With a background in Evolutionary Biology, Gabby takes an ancestral approach to health which is based on principles of empowerment, regeneration, and connection to nature. She helps busy, stressed high achievers to stop burning out so they can find what they love, do what they love, and excel at life in the process. Gabby believes that building and maintaining a robust connection with the natural world is hugely important, as she acknowledges environmental health and human health are closely intertwined.
- Sands WA, McNeal JR, Murray SR, Ramsey MW, Sato K, Mizuguchi S, Stone MH. Stretching and its effects on recovery: A review. Strength & Conditioning Journal. 2013 Oct 1;35(5):30-6.
- Papadopoulou SK. Rehabilitation nutrition for injury recovery of athletes: the role of macronutrient intake. Nutrients. 2020 Aug 14;12(8):2449.
- Alghannam AF, Gonzalez JT, Betts JA. Restoration of muscle glycogen and functional capacity: role of post-exercise carbohydrate and protein co-ingestion. Nutrients. 2018 Feb 23;10(2):253.
- Heffernan SM, Horner K, De Vito G, Conway GE. The role of mineral and trace element supplementation in exercise and athletic performance: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 24;11(3):696.
- Covino, G. Nutritional medicine (supplementation). In L. Hechtman (Ed.). Clinical naturopathic medicine (2nd, pp. 137-198). Elsevier; 2019.
- Hausswirth C, Le Meur Y. Physiological and nutritional aspects of post-exercise recovery: specific recommendations for female athletes. Sports Medicine. 2011 Oct;41:861-82.
- Perrier ET, Armstrong LE, Bottin JH, Clark WF, Dolci A, Guelinckx I, Iroz A, Kavouras SA, Lang F, Lieberman HR, Melander O. Hydration for health hypothesis: a narrative review of supporting evidence. European journal of nutrition. 2021 Apr;60:1167-80.
- Belval LN, Hosokawa Y, Casa DJ, Adams WM, Armstrong LE, Baker LB, Burke L, Cheuvront S, Chiampas G, González-Alonso J, Huggins RA. Practical hydration solutions for sports. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 9;11(7):1550.