Your workout is important, its what stimulates your muscles to get stronger, which is why it’s important to use a challenging weight, proper form, and the right exercises for your goals. However, if you follow that workout up with poor recovery it will take longer for you to achieve your goals.
When you’re working out, you’re not actually making yourself stronger. Resistance training breaks down your muscle and creates micro-tears in the tissue, which is why you experience muscle soreness. The days following your workout is when you get stronger. During this time your muscle tissue, ligaments, cartilage, and bones are rebuilding themselves so that you can lift heavier, move faster, and jump higher than you did last week.
Rest and recovery between workouts, is just as important as the workout itself. Implement the strategies below today and you will notice yourself feeling and looking better in and out of the gym.
- Sleep: Aim for 7 – 9 hours each night. During REM sleep your body repairs at the cellular level and produces growth hormone, which helps to repair and rebuild muscles. Not to mention, sleep is good for overall health and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
- Water: Staying hydrated is key if you want to lose fat and/or build muscle. Water helps convert stored fat to fuel, lubricates your joints, helps digest/absorb nutrients, and maintain muscle tissue.
- Protein-Rich Foods: Protein is a macronutrient that is made up of amino acids, which are essential for muscle growth, repair, and recovery. Ex. protein powder, greek yogurt, edamame, chicken, eggs. As a bonus, protein has the highest thermic effect of feeding – this means your body uses more calories to eat/breakdown/absorb protein than any other macronutrient.