The Right Way To Recover After An Intense Workout

Recovery is just as important for your body as working out. While you may feel fine the day after a light jog, how do you recover from an intense workout that leaves you exhausted and sore? Here are some tips.

When you exercise hard enough that your muscles feel fatigued and sore, it's because you are damaging muscle tissue during your workout (via Muscle and Fitness). The only time your muscles can repair themselves is when you aren't working out, which is considered the recovery period. 

Two things are crucial for ample recovery: diet and rest. Your body needs protein and carbohydrates after working out. Protein will help your damaged muscles heal and carbs will restore the glycogen stores depleted during exercise. In addition to eating the right post-workout snack, it's important to get plenty of rest. Sleep allows the body to release hormones that help repair and build muscles. Getting enough sleep also lets your body rest and get energized for your next workout.

Hydration and stretching will also help you recover

You lose a lot of fluid through sweat while exercising. While it's best to drink water frequently during exercise, you need to drink quite a bit at the end of your workout to properly recover (via Verywell Fit). Water is important for metabolic function and nutrient transfer.

Stretching or getting a massage can improve circulation in the muscles and make you feel better. Active recovery, like walking or easy biking, can also help your muscles repair more quickly.

Aside from diet and rest, everyone's ideal recovery process will look a little different. "I fix a green smoothie filled with apple, spinach, broccoli, carrots, protein powder, and water, which I take with me to sip while I soak in a hot Epsom salt bath," Amanda Brooks, an avid runner, told Self. Jess Sporte, a climber, told Self that her routine is a little different. "I eat foods like sweet potatoes and meat," she said. "I also do about 10 minutes of static stretching."

After some trial and error, you'll be able to nail down the best recovery routine for you.