By Morgan Bernard
At Farm Brand, it’s no secret that we like to stay active. Whether we are in the gym, on the trail, or in the ocean, we like to keep moving. Occasionally, we get in our own way, and fatigue sets in. We push too hard in the gym, surf for too long, or hit the trails with a little too much intensity, and we are forced to limit our activity until we recover. Workout recovery is a chic topic. Influencers love to dish out workout tips from their steamy home saunas and luxurious ice bath setups, but the hype is grounded in sound science. When we exercise, whether outdoors or in the gym, we break down our muscles, often tearing individual muscle fibers. Afterward, our muscles need to rebuild. If you’re looking for recovery and workout tips, continue below for The Unwritten Rules of Workout Recovery.
Workout Tip 1 Refuel the right way
When we exercise, we’re breaking our muscles down, and after, they need to rebuild. Whether you’re surfing, hiking, running, climbing, or lifting, your muscles need protein to recover. When we exercise, especially when we lift weights, our muscles enter into a metabolic state, meaning they are breaking down. When we ingest protein after a workout, it allows our muscles to enter into an anabolic state, which is a state of rebuilding. It is in this anabolic state that our muscles recover and grow in response to exercise. It is vital for recovery and strength to ingest protein, ideally 20 grams, within 30-45 minutes after exercise. This workout tip is based on the fact that if you do not ingest protein within the necessary time frame, your muscles will stay in a metabolic state for longer than necessary and not recover as well.
Workout Tip 2 Hydrate hydrate hydrate
When we exercise, we sweat and lose our reserves of water. But you don’t have to break a sweat to become dehydrated. Our body uses so much water daily that is important to maintain hydration throughout your day, regardless of whether or not you plan on exercising. It is recommended to consume at least 2 liters of water a day. If you’re highly active, you may need to consume more. Dehydration can hinder your muscles’ ability to recover. If you’re exercising outdoors, you’re especially prone to dehydration. Find out more about hydration in our recent post here.
Workout Tip 3 Eat correctly
“Eating correctly” is a broad statement that may be a tad overwhelming to wrap your head around. Eating correctly is just as much about eating the right things that will promote muscle recovery as it is about avoiding harmful foods that might inhibit muscle recovery. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of whole foods, fruits, and vegetables will give your body the necessary recovery building blocks. Minimizing your intake of processed foods, simple sugars, alcohol, and other inflammatory foods will aid recovery as well. Lastly, it’s recommended to consume 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Workout Tip 4 Warm up to prevent injury
Recovery is much harder if you’re dealing with injuries, so warm up first. While warming up may seem simple enough, a lot of new science has come out in the last ten years that suggest people have been warming up incorrectly for decades. One of the big revelations in exercise science in the last decade is the benefit of a dynamic warm-up vs. static stretching. Dynamic stretches, like high knees, are controlled, repetitive movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments, and joints for exercise. These movements increase blood flow to a certain area while steadily raising your heart rate in preparation for physical activity. Static stretches are those in which you perform and hold a single movement for some time, like a toe touch. While static stretches have various benefits that we’ll dive into later, they do not prepare your muscles for movement.
Workout Tip 5 Stretch for recovery
As we mentioned in the workout tip above, you should perform a dynamic warm-up to prepare for exercise. After exercise, however, static stretching will give you increased flexibility, mobility, and reduce inflammation. To maintain optimal flexibility and mobility, perform a dynamic warm-up before exercise and static stretching after exercise.
Workout Tip 6 Get your rest
If you’re not sleeping well, you’ll never properly recover. Sleep gives your body time to recover and rebuild and is essential to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Sleep deprivation weakens your body’s inflammation response and the production of hormones that aid muscle growth.
Workout Tip 7 Embrace active recovery
While your body is recovering from exercise, it’s a good idea to increase blood flow with some type of moderate movement. This concept is known as active recovery. If you’re a serious weightlifter, go for a hike. If you're a runner, try yoga. If you're a climber, go for a swim. Performing low-intensity exercise after a strenuous workout may be, in many cases, more beneficial for recovery than resting alone.