Did you know that post-workout recovery is just as important as the sweat session itself? A recovery routine will soothe your muscles and help you avoid DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) so you recover more efficiently and can get back to your next workout faster. Go from sore to supple whilst refueling your body and mind with this 6-step post-workout recovery routine.
1. WIND DOWN SLOWLY
Instead of going straight home and crashing on the couch after your workout, allow your body to gradually wind down through active recovery. A healthy active recovery session might include going for a walk, taking a leisurely bicycle ride, or practicing restorative yoga. The gentle, slow-paced movements of these low-intensity activities will not only get you in to a state of calm post-workout euphoria, they will also help your muscles repair and rebuild faster. Need a little something extra? Try our happifying body mist from The Ritual of Holi, for a much-needed uplifting post-workout aroma.
2. Fuel up
Abs are made in the kitchen, they say. It’s not quite that simple, but there is some truth to this mantra – your body uses up its glycogen reserves during a workout, leaving your muscles depleted of their energy stores. A post-workout meal can help restore your glycogen levels and build muscle. Not sure what you should be eating to fuel up correctly? After vigorous exercise, your body craves carbs (sweet potatoes, quinoa, wholegrain bread, pasta, oats, bananas), protein (eggs, chicken, tuna, Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese) and healthy fats (nuts, avocado, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel). It’s best to eat within 30 minutes of your workout, because that’s when the glycogen transporters in your muscles are highly active and your body is most receptive to nutrients. Check out our recipes for some healthy yet delicious meals.
Post-workout hydration is crucial to recovery. After working up a sweat, immediately replenish the liquids you’ve lost by drinking some water (not too much in one go). Another great post-workout drink is tart cherry juice, since it’s packed with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. And even though it might seem less thirst-quenching than gulping down a glass of cold water or juice, drinking tea is an amazingly effective way to boost your post-workout recharge. Green tea and herbal teas are especially great to help rehydrate your body, boost your metabolism and regain energy. Try our refreshing green tea from The Ritual of Hammam – tasty and healthy at the same time.
4. Take a bath
No post-workout practice can soothe your muscles quite like a hot soak. Forget the “no pain no gain” approach to exercise and treat yourself to a deeply relaxing bath that allows your body & mind to revel in perfect post-workout bliss. Of course, Rituals offers plenty of options for a luxurious and elegant bath ritual. How about our magnesium bath crystals from The Ritual of Jing? And when you’re looking for ultimate bliss, one of our scented candles with amber, goji berry or jasmine of our Private Collection completes the experience.
A massage after an intense workout doesn’t just feel good – it actually benefits your health. It improves blood flow, eases inflammation, helps your muscles recover and relieves post-exercise aches. Since having a professional massage therapist at their beck and call is a luxury most amateur athletes don’t have, try practicing self-massage. In most cases your hands do the trick just fine, but for those hard-to-reach back and glute muscles, it might be nice to add the use of a foam roller. Turn your self-massage into a luxury experience (because, why not?) with one of our delightful body oils, like our Serendipity body oil. Make sure to warm the oil between your hands before use, for extra comfort.
The holy grail of all post-workout recovery treatments? The answer is simple: sleep. Sleep might just be the most important part of your training. It’s when your body rebuilds, repairs and regenerates. During sleep, the body produces most of its growth hormones responsible for cell renewal and muscle recovery. To get the most out of your exercise sessions, aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every single night. Also, try not to workout shortly before going to bed – 4 to 6 hours minimum is advised. After an intense workout, try upping your shut-eye with a slightly earlier bedtime or a post-workout nap. Get in the mood for some sleep, with The Ritual of Jing pillow & body mist, with sandalwood and lavender – it almost guarantees a great night’s sleep.