Your training will not give you your desired results unless you include proper muscle recovery post-exercise. The joint consensus statement of the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine says that successful training is composed of two essential components: overload and adequate recovery.
If you don’t maintain the balance between training and recovery, you risk hitting the state of non-functional overreaching (NFOR). In other words, you will still give your best and put in the hard work, but without the results.
Muscle recovery is just as important as the exercise part.
Here are some of the ways you can adjust your training routine to speed up muscle recovery and make the most of your exercise.
#1 Enjoy Regular Red Light Therapy Sessions
One of the ways your body demands to stop working out and allow it to recover is muscle soreness. When you workout, your body uses your glucose as fuel – It breaks it down for more energy.
When your oxygen levels drop due to exercise, your body detects it. In order to make you stop pushing yourself too hard, your system starts producing serum lactate which allows for more glucose to break down. On top of that, lactate builds up rapidly and slows down your body, forcing it to rest.
This is where red light therapy comes in. A major study confirmed that when you apply light of 830 nm (which is well within the range that FlexBeam offers) you will help your body clear up the serum lactate. That means, your recovery will be quicker and you’ll be ready to get back to the exercise without risking NFOR.
#2 Jumpstart Your Lymphatic System
Your lymphatic system doesn’t have a “pump” or a “heart” like your cardiovascular system does. That’s why massages have excellent effects on the lymphatic draining. Mainly, your lymphatic system filters the toxins, and even hormones, lipids, carbs, and plasma proteins, to name a few. Boosting the lymph flow will help your muscles recover faster by removing the lactic acid from them.
Lymphatic therapy can involve a massage with glass wands that utilize low-frequency electrostatic energy. You don’t experience any heating or electric currents on your body. The therapy is pleasant and relaxing.
#3 Magnesium Supplementation
There are many studies that suggest Magnesium supplementation increases exercise performance. They also list experiments which showed that athletes had improved results after Mg supplementation. One of the most important mechanisms that allows this to happen is the way Mg makes glucose readily available in muscles and blood.
However, there is another mechanism that’s equally important. Magnesium reduces the levels of serum lactate in the muscles. It is also believed to delay the lactate buildup.
#4 Proper Hydration
Hydration helps muscle recovery by creating excellent conditions for the muscle fibers to heal and grow after exercise creates those little tears. Namely, water is necessary for protein synthesis and that’s how muscle tissue repairs the damage and forms larger muscle mass. Dehydration delays this process and slows down workout recovery. Here’s more information about how important hydration is:
#5 Stretch Properly
What does it mean to stretch properly? It all depends on the effects you are trying to achieve. According to the group of authors who wrote the article Stretching and Its Effects on Recovery: A Review, there are several types of stretching and each of them has its own function. Stretching can be passive or active, dynamic or static, and acute or chronic.
The best results are achieved by varying types of stretching. Kenttä and Hassmén find that the best results for quick muscle recovery are when you utilize pain-free stretching after light training. They claim this even surpasses the benefits you have from a day off from exercising.
#6 Consume Anthocyanin-Rich Foods and Drinks
Consuming anthocyanin-rich foods and drinks prior to strenuous exercise, and following up with the same regime will most likely speed up the recovery of your muscles, help them restore their full function and decrease soreness. However, it is advisable to take caution with overusing antioxidant supplementation of this type for prolonged periods of time.
Anthocyanin can be found in blueberries, blackberries, chokeberry, red cabbage, red beans, and similar foods.
#7 Add Some Healthy Fats into Your Diet
The most crucial mechanism for muscle recovery is protein synthesis. However, the recovery also involves processes that include your immune and cardiovascular systems, oxygen regulation, and hormonal balance. For all these processes, essential fatty acids (EFAs) play crucial roles.
In other words, they make sure that your body can go through with all the processes necessary for muscle recovery. Two EFAs you should look out for are Omega-3 and Omega-6. You can find these in high-quality fish, walnuts, flaxseed, among other foods.
#8 Use Special Breathing Methods
When you exercise, your body is in a stress mode. You are pushing your entire system to your limits. To experience the benefits of that effort, you need to know how to put your body back into the state of rest and relaxation. Only then will the processes necessary for muscle restoration and building begin.
Special breathing methods will help you make the most of your exercise and restore your muscles.
#9 Brave Through Hot and Cold Shower
The principle behind this idea is to boost the blood flow and turn your blood vessels into a sort of a pump that flushes out all the serum lactate. You should start with the hot shower so that the blood vessels dilate. After that, a cold shower will restrict them
A contrast shower is simple. All you do is alternate between hot and cold water. The hot water dilates your blood vessels and increases blood circulation, and the cold water constricts your blood vessels and decreases blood flow. The contrast creates a pump effect that flushes your body of lactic acid and other toxins that build up during exercise.
On the other hand, there is Wim Hof who advocates that ice cold baths and showers are the answer to many health and wellness issues, muscle recovery included:
Andreas Breitfeld is one of the biohackers who follow Hof’s method of ice baths. He takes it one step further and combines his ice-cold baths with red light therapy. According to his experience, this increases the effects of both of these routines drastically.
#10 Get Some High-Quality Sleep
While red light therapy speeds up your post-workout muscle recovery, sleep is when your muscles really grow. While you workout, your muscle fibres create small tears that heal while you rest. While healing, they merge the fibres together and grow bigger. That’s, in the simplest words possible, how you build your muscles by exercising.
Therefore, if you don’t sleep enough, your muscles won’t have the chance to repair in time and you are going to do more damage than good. High-quality sleep is one of the most important elements of healthy and efficient exercise.
For some, getting enough sleep is easier said than done. There are many ways you can achieve deep, restorative sleep.
Meditation, yoga, melatonin supplementation are just some of the ways to try and combat bad sleep patterns. Besides these, red light therapy also helps you sleep better. Not only that – it also makes all the other methods more effective.
Discover more benefits of red light therapy and why FlexBeam is a smart choice.