Are you working hard at ‘working out’? Then you already know that recovery is an essential part of making progress.
These are the 5 worst things you might be doing, that’s limiting your results.
1. Skipping your post-exercise recovery meal
Immediately after exercise an increase in insulin production makes our bodies more efficient at refilling muscle cells with glycogen and transporting amino acids to damaged muscle tissue. This allows the repair process to get underway. It is commonly referred to as the “anabolic window of opportunity,” however research suggests that similar anabolic benefits can be derived from pre- and intra-workout supplementation with protein.
Regardless, skipping a meal or recovery supplement after a workout is a sure-fire way to lose muscle and prolong the inflammation caused by exercise, which can increase tissue damage.
2. Eating the wrong macronutrients
While eating as soon as possible after a training session or race is vitally important, the composition of your meals should also be a key consideration. It is important to get the macronutrient balance right, not to mention the type and form of these macronutrients. So, avoid high fat foods as they digest slowly. Opt for complex carbs and foods with high protein content – the macronutrients your body needs right after a tough training session or race. The protein starts the rebuilding and repair process and carbs replenish glycogen stores in the muscle cells and liver.
3. Doing nothing
Is your tough workout normally followed by sitting at a desk or on the couch watching our favourite series on TV? This is detrimental to your health and your recovering muscles.
Extended immobility reduces peripheral blood flow, which delays lactate removal and the delivery of anabolic hormones, energy substrates, and inflammation-fighting cytokine inhibitors to recovering muscles. Electrical activity in your muscles also decreases, which reduces your basal metabolic rate. All of these factors increase post-exercise stiffness and soreness, which can negatively affect your next training session.
4. Staying in your sweaty clothing
When we sweat; some toxins, metabolic by-products and heavy metals, are excreted through the sweat glands. Staying in your workout gear for extended periods after your workout gives your body a chance to re-absorb some toxins through your pores. It is therefore wise to take a shower immediately after a workout, or at least change into a clean set of clothes before heading home.
5. Forgetting to replace electrolytes
Drink up sister! Water or a carb-protein recovery drink does a good job of quenching your thirst after a heavy training session, but they do not sufficiently address rehydration needs. Important minerals and nutrients, such as electrolytes, are lost through sweat during exercise.
These ‘salts’ play an important role in maintaining fluid balance, which is an important part of the recovery process. Maughan RJ1 and Shirreffs SM, who conducted a study on the recovery from prolonged exercise and the restoration of water and electrolyte balance, says,
“The rehydration beverage should contain moderately high levels of sodium (at least 50 mmol l-1), and possibly also some potassium. The addition of substrate is not necessary for rehydration, although a small amount of carbohydrate (< 2%) may improve the rate of intestinal uptake of sodium and water. The volume of beverage consumed should be greater than the volume of sweat lost to provide for the on going obligatory urine losses.”
Rehydration after exercise can only be achieved if the electrolytes lost in sweat, as well as the lost water, are replaced. We recommend trying Biogens Electrolite ready to drink or alternatively the Electrolyte Plus dissolvents.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.