5 Tips to Recover Faster

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By: Kevin Rail

By: Kevin Rail

Certified Fitness Coach with a Bachelor Science in Sports Fitness and Wellness.

You spend a lot of time tuning and toning your body to make yourself look as good as possible. But none of that would even be possible if you didn’t focus at least some of your attention on recovery. 

To make this chore less arduous, here are five tips to follow to get the most from your recoveries, which in turn, will get you the most out of your workouts too. 

1. Perform active recovery between sets

Regardless if you are doing 3 sets of 10, 5 sets of 5, 10 sets of 3 or a descending ladder, there is an element of your training that you might be missing out on. 

Instead of putting a set of dumbbells down and standing around looking confused for 60 seconds, do something active. 

This can be hopping up and down, shaking your arms quickly like you’re whisking water off of them, walking around the gym or grabbing your thighs and literally shaking them with your hands. That least one especially comes in handy on leg day

Doing these tactics will quickly flush lactic acid out of your muscles and expedite your recoveries between sets. You will then be able to lift with more grace and ease, and build muscle faster.   

2. Focus on recovery days instead of “off” days

Yes, delayed onset muscle soreness is very real. It occurs when your muscle fibers have been damaged through the medium of hard workouts. But on those days that you are not lifting, you can make the soreness a lot more tolerable if you do a light form of movement. 

This will promote blood flow to your connective tissue and make you feel looser and more supple. And according to L. Nicole Krum, DPT from the Maryland Medical Center, doing some form of gentle exercise like walking or stretching can help alleviate the discomfort. 

So try incorporating a form of gentle movement into your off days like yoga, swimming, walking or bike riding. Just know that it is meant to be light to moderate at best. Don’t overdo it or you can find yourself in worse shape than when you started. 

3. Fast before you workout 

Going into a workout fasted will specifically speed up your recoveries between intervals when doing interval training. By speeding them up, I mean your heart rate will come down faster, giving you the ability to hit your next interval harder and faster. 

Fasted state workouts will also reduce lactic acid build-up because foods and beverages you often have beforehand are usually acidic. 

And on a side note, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, exercising in fasted state also boosts your fat burning. 

A good rule of thumb is to work out first thing in the morning after a 10-to-12-hour fast. 

4.  Eat more alkaline foods 

Since we’re sort of on the topic of eating, lets add one more element to the equation. In addition to working out fasted, aim to get as many alkaline foods in your diet as possible. These would include greens, celery, cucumbers, lemons, limes, avocadoes and cabbage. 

When you eat a lot of alkaline foods, your pH level goes up. This, in turn will make you recover faster between sets because you will not build up as much acid. You’ll also likely be able to crank out more reps and possibly even lift more weight. 

5. Stretch before and after workouts

There are two different types of stretching you should do here. Before your workouts, focus on dynamic stretches, which are performed in motion. 

They get your muscles acclimated to movement, which will enable you to work out with less chance of injury. Alternating spinal rotations with your arms extended is an example of a dynamic stretch. 

At the end of your workouts, perform static stretches, which is where you hold a lengthened muscle for an extended period of time. A shoulder stretch where you pull your arm across the front of your body and hold it there is a good example of one of these. 

Finish Strong for the Win 

It’s the smaller things like these tips that end up making the biggest difference in your training. Even if you only do one or two of them, you will notice a big difference in a short amount of time. 

And remember, it’s never about ego. There might not be anything glamorous about doing yoga on your off day, but it will give you a twofold benefit in the long run. What it all boils down to is, don’t be too proud to try new things. 

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