The Best Way to Recover From A New Routine
Proper recovery, especially after exercise that you aren’t used to, will keep your body ready for the next workout and not sore AF. Many of our Group Personal Training (GPT) clients ask us about what to do after their first session to avoid soreness and take care of their body.
If you are exercise regularly, you shouldn’t be constantly sore but after a particularly tough workout or starting a new routine you may experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. DOMS is an increasingly gradual increasing level of soreness that appears between 24 and 48 hours after activity. DOMS is actually common with both seasoned athletes or folks new to the fitness scene. It is simply a symptom of placing new stressors on your muscles, ultimately making your muscles adapt and become stronger.
We recommend that you give your body 24-48 hours to recover between intense sessions. If you are still sore, you may be overtraining–consider taking it easy for a few days.
What can you do to offset the soreness? We’ve previously covered the benefits of post-workout mobility but to briefly rehash: “Doing mobility exercises to cool down—instead of just stopping—keeps the blood circulating and prevents it from pooling, which may cause dizziness or fainting,” said Noam. The extra blood flow in your body keeps your muscles warm and in a prime position to be stretched or foam rolled, leaving you less sore the next day.
Read more about the benefits of mobility’s impact on recovery.
Splish Splash: Try Taking a Bath
We recommend hoping in an epsom salt bath to help relieve your muscle aches. Epsom salt is natural remedy that often is used for relaxing muscles and loosen stiff joints. It is not the same type of salt that you use for cooking (sodium chloride) but is actually magnesium sulfate and can be found in most grocery stores, pharmacies, or online. The magnesium in the salt may relieve your aches and pains, minimize inflammation, and even reduce your stress. Epsom salt is also an exfoliant and great for your skin; you can turn your soak into a stay at home spa day.
To use, add add 2 cups of Epsom salt to the water in a standard-sized bathtub and soak for at least 12 minutes.
We can’t talk about recovery without mentioning hydration. Most people are chronically dehydrated, leaving them with low energy and risk of muscle spasms. We suggest drinking water throughout the day with an end goal of consuming about ¾ of an ounce of water per every pound of body weight. You can actually eat your water, too: vegetables usually contain a fair amount of water and can offset your fluid intake.
Water helps you digest vital nutrients and repair muscles damaged during exercise. During an intense workout, your muscles break down and are then rebuilt through protein synthesis, requiring water. If you are dehydrated, muscle growth will be slow and delay your recovery. Water will also aid in digestion of your post-recovery meal and allow you to better absorb nutrients. Finally, your heart rate recovers significantly faster after a tough session if you are fully hydrated.
Roll It Out
Foam rolling can improve your recovery and alleviate DOMS. Fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, can begin to stiffen and form painful knots after working out. By foam rolling, you breakup these adhesions, reducing soreness and also improving your range of motion. We recommend either using our foam rollers or buy one for home use if you find yourself with not enough time to roll out after a session. Amazon sells foam rollers for under $10 so it’s not a big financial investment!
We dive into our favorite foam rolling movements in more depth here.
Hit the Hay
As busy New Yorkers, it is difficult to cram in work, exercise, and a social life while also getting to bed at a reasonable hour but studies show that a lack of sleep can impact your recovery.
During sleep, your body releases growth hormone, improving muscular recovery and regeneration. People who do not get enough sleep see decreases protein synthesis which is the body’s ability to make muscle. Sleep allows your body to replenish nutrients that your muscles need to repair themselves, all necessary for optimal fitness progress.
If you have any questions about your new routine or if you are still feeling sore a few days after a workout out, feel free to email us at [email protected]. We are here to build you up, not break you!