When I first started working out, all I wanted to do was go harder, faster, and get stronger day after day. I never gave myself time to rest, and I never took my trainer’s workout recovery tips. Just like I was warned, within a month and a half, I was completely out of gas. My mind was ready to keep going, but my body? It was begging me for some much needed downtime and exercise recovery.
It wasn’t until I started training clients of my own that I realized the true importance of post workout recovery. I found that the healthiest, most sustainable way to achieve fitness and physique goals was to create a happy balance between exercising and resting.
Once I started taking my own advice, I started to fall in love with my own results again, too. Now, my weekly routines always emphasize downtime. The #1 thing I ask of myself and my clients (besides staying committed) is resting! And no nutrition plan is complete without a good post workout recovery drink, either. 💪
Today’s blog will cover:
- Why exercise recovery is important
- Best workout recovery tips
- My favorite post workout recovery drink
Why Recovery Is Important
When people are so set on achieving a goal, it’s hard for them to understand how to take a step back and take a break. The same thing goes for working out. When we want to rock six-pack abs, a toned belly, and a sculpted booty, we can’t fathom taking a day off or practicing healthy exercise recovery. But the reality is, for any of those goals to be achievable, we HAVE to rest.
One thing I want to make clear to anyone new to fitness is that when we talk about workout recovery, there aren’t any injuries or setbacks at play. We’re not recovering from bad form or a sprained ankle, it’s our muscles that need repairing. We’re healing our internal body.
When we exercise, our muscles experience micro-tears. I know, it sounds awful. But those little tears are what allow for new shapes to form, like leaner, more toned arms and legs. If we ignore the importance of workout recovery and continue to tear up our muscles day after day, without any recovery, we can experience some pretty gnarly side effects. Without rest, we may damage our muscles fibers and connective tissue and weaken our ability to replenish glycogen stores. All of this internal damage is also what causes us to be sore. But don’t worry, a bit of soreness here or there isn’t always a sign of these other issues. Oftentimes, soreness is related to overworking muscles you’re not used to working.
Results are a big motivator for some of my clients when I tell them they need a rest day. When we’re overworking our body, we start to plateau or even reverse some of our hard-earned results. By setting aside a rest day or two for exercise recovery, we’re able to reboot, just like we get 8 hours of sleep every night so that our brain and organs can reset for the next day.
To summarize it nicely, the amount of time you spend working out shouldn’t exceed the time your body needs to recover from it. If you can make post workout recovery time as important as your gym time, your results will skyrocket!
If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you probably think I credit water with being the cure for just about everything. Well, we are made up of about 60% of water, so it only makes sense that we thrive on being properly hydrated! Drinking plenty of fluids during and after we workout is so important for exercise recovery because when we sweat, we’re losing fluids, i.e. water! Just like we rest to recover, we need to hydrate to replenish our body’s fluids. Plus, without enough water, our exercise performance can seriously suffer.  This is because fluids help to make sure our muscles are receiving the right amount of nutrients in order to function, and therefore, recover.  But just drinking water alone isn’t enough as a post workout recovery drink. Which leads me to Tip #2, BCAA’s!
2. Take BCAAs
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a must for exercise recovery because they help to replenish essential amino acids. When we workout and create those tears in our muscle fibers, we deplete our muscles of these essential branched-chain amino acids. Taking BCAAs is simple, and with the right supplement, can be delicious! (Trust me, I’ve tried about a hundred of them and finally found the one.) I love Repair & Recover for quality BCAA’s. Not only is it only 35 calories, but it also has no added sugar and tastes amazing.
BCAA supplements like Repair & Recover are great for anyone who likes to train hard and wants to recover faster, repair muscles, support weight loss, and reduce exercise fatigue and soreness.
A question I often get about post workout recovery drinks is when to take them. They can be taken while you workout or immediately after to kickstart workout recovery.
3. Body Work
Getting body work done, like a massage or doing some foam rolling, is a great way to spend a rest day. Body work helps to improve performance and achieve faster results by preventing injury and speeding up workout recovery time. Body work like massage and foam-rolling helps to encourage and enhance blood flow, delivering fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in need of repair. It also helps to remove toxins from the body, which helps to decrease inflammation and side effects of inflammation, like bloating.  Body work also helps to increase lymphatic drainage, which helps with flexibility, greater range of motion, and regulating body fluids.  While I know a full-blown massage spa day isn’t necessarily doable on a weekly or even monthly basis, some simple stretching and foam rolling do the trick all the same! I like to do some light yoga and foam rolling to a new album I’ve been wanting to listen to, or a funny podcast! The time goes by much faster that way.
The Bottom Line
All in all, if you’re serious about your workout regimen, then you should be just as serious about your workout recovery! Just like we need a break from work, from our kids, and even our spouses sometimes, our muscles need a break from the gym. Trust me, some much needed TLC for your body will keep you motivated and excited to workout, and will keep your results coming!