Better, Faster, Stronger | Recovery Is Key

Are you giving 100% to your workouts, but feeling like your progress has stalled? Before you decide you need to work harder, ask yourself if you are giving your body the recovery it needs. Fitness experts know the value of recovery for your body. When you don't give your body a chance to rest and repair itself, you will find that your progress actually slows down.

The time needed for recovery varies from person to person, according to fitness level, intensity of workout and overall physical condition. Aside from getting adequate rest and staying hydrated, which are two extremely important factors, there are a few other techniques that can help your body recover and help you get the best results from your workouts.

1.) Take a rest day

You may feel like working out seven days a week for three plus hours gives you an edge, but the reality is it may be holding you back. If you don't give your muscles the opportunity to repair themselves, not only are you putting yourself at greater risk for injury, which will put you out of the game for weeks, you are also keeping yourself from making greater progress. Set aside at least one day of the week as your "rest day." This does not mean you have to stay in bed all day. Light activity is still fine. The point is to allow your muscles to repair and build themselves.

Why? Experts state that your overall nervous system needs a rest. If it doesn't get it, your training will suffer.

2.) Post-workout nutrition

It is essential that your body gets the fuel it needs to replenish itself, and to build and repair muscle. An adequate amount of protein is the key here, although your body will have other requirements as well. Without enough protein, you can work out all you want, but you will not build more muscle. Recovery nutrition starts post-workout, and it’s essential to balance your protein intake what you’re burning. You should consume 20 to 30 grams of high quality protein within an hour of your workout.

3.) Change up your routine

In addition to rest days, it is also a good idea to build other activities into your workouts. Doing the same lifts day after day without switching things up is not only boring, but means you are neglecting muscle groups and spending more time in plateaus. Regular changes in your workout are essential for long term growth.

4.) Get a massage

You may think of massage as an indulgence, but for athletes of any kind, massage can be an effective part of recovery. Massage reduces muscle soreness and improves flexibility, which is a key component for reducing injury.

According to the health and wellness experts at Massage Envy, "Sports massage therapy can be used as a means to enhance pre-event preparation and reduce recovery time for maximum performance during training or after an event."

5.) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Always drink plenty of water, whether you are working out, playing or resting. Everyone needs water, of course, but if you are pushing your body, building muscle and working up a sweat, you need it even more.

Fitness gurus at Men's Fitness say, "Keep in mind that muscle tissue is 75% water." Essentially, if you are not well-hydrated, your muscles and your performance suffer. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

So, work hard and push yourself, but remember that recovery should be a part of your routine. You will feel better, have more energy, and make more progress toward your goals.

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