If you have been looking to make your muscles recover faster after a workout, you have come to the right place. There are actually many ways to make your muscles recover faster, and we will be covering the best ones here.
If you are a beginner to working out, or just starting back up again, the pain after a workout can be prolonged and surprising. But not to worry, this is just temporary, and as you continue to workout, your body will start to recover faster on it’s own.
Generally, muscle soreness is a direct result of the build up of lactic acid in your muscles. You can learn how to get rid of lactic acid build up here.
That is just a temporary fix though. We are looking to make our muscles recover fast. And there are many ways that we can do that.
Before we get into those tips, make sure that you have the right workout plan. If you aren’t following a strict plan, I recommend checking out our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). We not only have great workout plans, but you can create your own custom workout plan or do one of our many built in HIIT workouts.
Eating enough for fast muscle recovery
This is something that is not talked about very much in the fitness community. Why? Because mostly the fitness industry is trying to sell you quick fixes for your problems. The point I am trying to illustrate here, is to beware of quick fixes or easy roads. Most of the time, they can’t deliver what is promised.
With that being said, muscles need calories to grow. And if you are withholding calories from your muscles, they won’t grow. Seems simple, right? Well, we can apply this concept to muscle recovery.
When you eat, your body digests those calories, and then distributes them throughout your body. First, your vital organs are visited, then your muscles come last. So what does this tell us? That in order for our muscles to recover quickly, we are going to need to eat more calories. Also known as being in a caloric surplus.
I won’t go too far into the details here, but learning how to calculate your maintenance calories would be a great start for you. Eating at a caloric surplus is actually 100% necessary for muscle gain. Of course, this transfers down to muscle recovery. When your body is in a state of caloric surplus, it will ensure that your muscles recover quickly.
There is one simple fact that I would like to share with you. You cannot build muscle while in a caloric deficit. So if you just completed a hard workout, one of the main reasons your muscles are sore is because they are starving for nutrition.
If you are at a caloric deficit, your muscle recovery will take longer, and ultimately not bear any fruit for you.
Sleeping to help your muscles recover faster
You may be asking yourself, how much sleep do I need to build muscle? For those of you getting 6 hours of sleep per night, it is not enough.
Sleep is extremely important for muscle growth, but it also helps immensely with muscle recovery. For athletes, it is recommended that they get 8-10 hours of sleep per night. And if you are working out, and have sore muscles, you are an athlete.
When you are sleeping, your body goes into full on repair mode. This goes for every bodily function from your immune system to your muscle repair. When you don’t get enough sleep, these repairs keep getting pushed to the back burner.
Ultimately, your body will either just not build muscle or you will end up getting sick. This of course will sideline your muscle growth journey anyways.
I know this all too well. In college, I would stay up late, and end up not getting enough sleep. I would get a cold probably 4-8 times per year, which would always keep me away from the gym.
Ever since I normalized my sleep schedule, I have maybe gotten sick once or twice in the past 6 years. Actually, I think it’s a combination of the fact that I now get enough sleep and I also quit drinking alcohol.
You can read more about why alcohol stops muscle growth here.
Rolling your muscles for fast recovery
You may have heard of a foam roller before. You can probably buy these at your nearest Walmart. I have also seen them at Five Below if you have one of those near you. Personally, I bought one from Amazon. Here is the link if you are interested.
One of the secrets of foam rolling is to do it BEFORE your muscles become sore. Ideally, you will want to do some foam rolling within a couple hours of you completing a workout.
Foam rolling works by breaking up muscle tissue and making it easier for blood to rush to those muscles. This ultimately leads to a quicker recovery.
It is important to note that foam rolling is not the end all be all to muscle recovery. But it is a great tool. When you use foam rolling regularly, it is a great supplement to everything else that we are discussing here.
Check out this great list of foam rolling basics by Mayo Clinic. Learning how to make your muscles recover faster after a workout is a skill that we all need to know. Foam rolling is a vital part of that process.
Making sure you are drinking enough water
In the first section, we discussed eating enough calories to help your muscles recover faster. Well, when your body is consistently hydrated, your heart is not going to have to work as hard to deliver calories to your muscles.
There is obviously more to it than that, but in this context, I am only going to cover muscle recovery.
When you are hydrated, that means your muscles are more open to being fed. When you are dehydrated, your body prioritizes vital organs over everything else. So building muscle becomes a secondary priority.
Ok, so maybe you suck at drinking water. Check out my article on how to trick yourself into drinking more water. This is something that I had to learn how to do. I clearly was not drinking enough water to feed my muscles. And yes, drinking water helps grow muscle.
Taking a cold shower or bath to make your muscles recover faster
Have you ever seen when a professional athlete jumps into an ice cold bath after an intense workout? That is because it works, and science can prove it.
When you take a cold shower or an ice bath, all of your blood vessels and muscles become temporarily restricted. This is because your body is again prioritizing your vital organs over your extremities.
Once you get out of the cold shower or bath, your body will then start to push more blood out to your extremities and muscles.
This in turn is going to aid in quicker muscle recovery and allow for less soreness.
Main Point: How to make your muscles recover faster after a workout
It’s pretty obvious by now that there are more than one way to learn how to make your muscles recover faster after a workout.
If you combine all of the techniques mentioned in this article, you are going to have a much better time with muscle recovery. You could even pick and choose a few if you want. That will most likely still lead to rapid muscle recovery.
All in all, what it comes down to is making sure that your body is in a state that allows for quick muscle recovery and growth. Remember, that eating at a caloric surplus is one of the best things that you can do to aid with muscle recovery.
Also, be sure to sleep enough, foam roll, and drink enough water. If these aren’t enough, you can go the extra mile by taking an ice bath after each workout. Personally, I don’t take ice baths that often. I find that the other tactics are good enough for me to recover quickly.
The last thing I will say is that the muscle pain is only temporary. Don’t let this pain stop you from going to the gym. If you have to lift lighter weights the next day, that is fine. The key is just to make it happen. And you will find that once your heart starts pumping, the pain will go away temporarily.
What do you think about all this? Did you learn how to make your muscles recover faster after a workout? We would love to hear from you!