Sore muscles. We all get them from time to time, at best, a little twinge here and there is simply a reminder of a really good workout, but at worst? When we’re really feeling it, the task of simply sitting down becomes difficult. We’ve all experienced the aftermath of pushing ourselves too hard on the treadmill or not focusing enough on recovery post-workout.
Tight hamstrings, sore calves, ab muscles that weren’t there yesterday but are screaming today… while sore muscles may feel like a healthy reminder of virtuous habits, neglecting to focus on recovery after hitting the gym is a big no-no if you want to avoid injury.
Why is recovery after a workout important? Whether you’re running on the treadmill, lifting weights or hitting up your favorite spin class, all workouts cause some amount of stress to the body, and while it may feel like the job of getting stronger takes place while you’re working out, it’s the rest and recovery that takes place in between your workouts that makes the big difference between maintaining and gaining.
This is why rest days are so important. When rest and recovery is built into your gym routine, your body is better able to strengthen itself and prepare for your next WOD — and take on more stress. So, what does proper recovery look like?
Your post-workout checklist:
Stretch and/or foam roll
Stretching before a workout helps warm you up and prepare your body for the stress taken on by exercise, whereas stretching post-workout helps reduce muscle tension, prevent joint and muscle strain, improve your range of motion, and helps prevent muscle soreness.
Hydration isn’t just important while you exercise. Drinking plenty of H2O post-workout and throughout the day is essential for performance, muscle function, energy levels and recovery. Aim to drink at least half your weight in ounces each day.
Eating a snack or small meal post-workout is key to replenishing energy lost during your gym session and optimizing protein to prevent muscle breakdown and increase strength. Whether it’s a vegan protein shake, some protein and vegetables, or a couple of the recovery gummies below, a small snack or meal will help you bounce back quicker, stronger and faster — so you’re ready to go all over again the next day.
By now, we all know sleep is essential to every aspect of life — this includes post-workout recovery. Getting plenty of shut-eye at the end of the day supports hormonal wellbeing, promotes muscle healing and recovery, improves mood and decreases physical and emotional stress. Need we say more?
In short, recovery after the gym should look like simply taking care of yourself. And while the steps are relatively easy, there are plenty of ways to streamline the process. Take these recovery gummies, for example. Packed with recovery and sleep-promoting tart cherry juice, protein-rich grass-fed collagen, and immunity supporting raw honey, these little gummies are great to keep close by as a quick and portable post-workout snack. Whether you’re running errands after the gym and won’t have time for a full recovery meal or need a break from your regular protein shake, stash a couple of gummies in a reusable Stasher bag to keep on hand for easy recovery support.
DIY Recovery Gummies
- 1 cup tart cherry juice
- ¼ cup grass-fed gelatin
- Juice from ½ lemon or lime
- Raw honey, to taste
- Small saucepan
- Silicone mold
- In the small saucepan over medium heat, gently heat the juice and raw honey together until honey is liquefied.
- Add the gelatin to the juice/honey mixture and whisk. The mixture will be thick, keep whisking about 5 to 10 minutes, until ingredients are liquefied.
- Carefully pour the juice mixture into the silicone molds and place in the fridge until set, about 1-2 hours. Pop gummies out of the molds and store in a sealed jar in the fridge. Done!
Enjoy a gummy or two as a gut-friendly pre- or post-workout treat or whenever you need a little support after hitting the gym!
What’s your favorite post-workout treat? Share with us by tagging us on social @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine!