Love pushing through intense workouts and smashing your goals, but hate the stiffness and pain that follows? This doesn’t have to be the case! We’ve looked at 6 post workout recovery hacks you need to try stat. We’re talking on-trend and effective ice baths, magnesium floats and more!
1. Ice Baths
Taking an ice bath post-workout is believed to speed up recovery time, lower inflammation and reduce exercise-induced pain. It is in fact a form of cryotherapy which requires you to sit in ice cold water for a 10-15 minute time frame.
How does it work? Well the ice bath causes blood vessels to constrict and then when you get out (either in room temperature or it is recommended to have a warm shower for a few minutes) they dilate and open back up. This process flushes away metabolic waste which builds up post workout, and reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Increased blood flow also floods your cells with nutrients and oxygen to help your body recover from any exercise-induced depletion. An added bonus? It teaches you resilience for any physically or mentally challenging situations in the future!
2. Active Recovery
It has been said that active recovery can be as effective as ice baths – minus the chill! Active recovery includes low-intensity movement such as stretching, foam rolling, yoga and walking. This activity helps facilitate the movement of lactate that builds up in your muscles during higher intensity exercise, and flushes fresh blood to the joints, muscles and tissues, to counteract inflammation and stiffness.
Foam rolling and stretching may feel quite uncomfortable at first, but pushing through this discomfort is where the gold is found! Of course, we don’t recommend pushing too far, to induce pain. Pair your foam rolling with gentle movement like yoga and walking, to encourage greater strength and endurance for workouts following.
3. Infrared Sauna
A study found that the deep penetration of infrared heat may help athletes recover faster from tough workouts. Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you, they use infrared lamps which use electromagnetic radiation to warm your body directly. According to research, the heat penetrates more deeply than warmed air which allows you to experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature. This can be extremely beneficial to those who get an overwhelming claustrophobic feeling in a traditional steam sauna.
Infrared saunas allow quicker recovery by loosening up stiff or tight muscles. Other benefits include: better sleep, relaxation, detoxification, weight loss, relief from joint pain, improved circulation and clearer skin. It also helps you relax and gives you some much needed time to yourself! We recently checked out a new studio that opened locally on the Gold Coast called City Cave. Check them out or simply search for one closest to you to book a session and see how it works for you.
4. Magnesium float
Another trending recovery method is a magnesium float! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we are sure you have heard of one by now and it’s amazing healing properties. It is said that 1 hour of sleep during floating is equivalent to 4 hours normal sleep! We checked out the float baths at City Cave, where each pool has 400kgs of Epsom Salts in the water, and the air and water temperature are set to skin temperature which is 34.5 degrees. It also allows you to turn the lights off for a full sensory deprivation experience. This makes it the ideal environment for deep relaxation, which is where the optimum recovery happens.
The Epsom salts in the pool are rich in magnesium, which act as an anti-inflammatory and natural muscle relaxant, lowering cortisol levels and allowing your body to let go. Some centres offer pods and some offer pools, it’s personal choice as to which you like best!
5. Super charged post-workout smoothie
Proper nutrition is KEY within a healthy, fit lifestyle and never to be overlooked! A post-workout nourishment such as a super charged smoothie boosted with high quality plant-based protein and fresh produce is essential to replenish nutrients lost during workout. This will counter the stressed “fight or flight” state your body naturally slips into after an intense workout. It can improve body composition, performance and overall recovery by replenishing glycogen, decreasing protein breakdown and increasing protein synthesis. To do so, your post-workout nourishment needs to include both carbs and protein. Try our favourite post-workout smoothie combo within 45 minutes of your workout:
Super charged post-workout protein smoothie
1 fresh or frozen banana
1 cup almond milk
handful of ice
1 scoop PranaON Protein of choice
1 Tbsp nut butter
1 tsp maca powder
Optional: 1 handful of baby spinach, 1 tsp cacao nibs.
Blend and enjoy!
During exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat, so we also recommend sipping on Intra Strength to ensure your body receives the correct proportions of branch chain amino acids and electrolytes needed to rehydrate and recover.
6. Catch your ZZZs
We know growing up you were always told to have a nap if you were slightly grumpy, but good sleep offers so much more than a better mood! The sooner you can get into a more relaxed parasympathetic state, the better it is for recovery.
While exercise helps the body with mental stresses and depression, it also puts the body under stresses as well. As exercise intensity increases, so does the amount of stress placed upon the body. The faster you are able to return back to a baseline stress level, the better you are able to handle the repeated stress on the body from training. According to research, high quality sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release. So take some deep breaths and aim for eight hours sleep to improve your muscle recovery and general well being.
We hope you try all or at least a few of these post-workout hacks for faster, more effective recovery.