Keys to Rest and Recovery after a Workout: Movement and Fluids

By Jesse Kepka
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist

After a particularly and wonderfully heinous workout – you know the ones where you push your body’s adaptation to the limit – there are some things that you can do to help your body recover. Two words will describe most of the process: replenish and repair.

Blood flow is important post-workout. It will aid in the transport of all the good things you put back into your body within an hour and promote the transport of waste products from muscle tears out of your system. And if you do it right, you can keep blood from pooling to prevent inflammation and lactic acid build up. How? Active recovery.

Active recovery involves movement. You don’t want to hit the couch and not move for 8 hours. You want to keep that blood pumping. Take a walk, do some active stretching (I’m talking short holds of reps, not deep stretch holds for 30 seconds), go for an easy bike ride, do some arm circles during your favorite shows if it was a shoulder/bicep/tricep day…to name a few.

Replenish your fluids and glycogen. Replenishing leads to repairing of the muscle fibers you just got done beating. Sleep soundly and for at least 8 hours. Sleep has an effect on hormones, namely cortisol (your stress hormone) and you don’t want that running rampant during recovery. This isn’t necessarily proven, but I’m a fan of ice baths. I’ve heard it described as a body hack and it goes like this: you make your body think it’s going hypothermic, so when you get out of the ice bath, you hack it into massive repair mode of what needs it most. I know I’ve said this before, but how incredibly built are our bodies?! If you want to level up, switch between hot and cold in the shower to, again, promote that ever so important post-workout blood flow.

Tip shared by Jesse Kepka, NASM-certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and owner of Elevate Fitness. Jesse is a co-organizer for Priority Fit Camp. Each week, we publish a health and wellness tip that is shared at the Priority Fit Camp community workout. The free group class happens every Saturday at 7:50 a.m.  

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