11 Post-Workout Recovery Hacks for 2021
Are you all geared up to hit the home-gym in the New Year?
Whether you’ve invested in weights, resistance belts or new running shoes, it’s important to make sure that you’re exercising the right way – that is, with a proper warm up and post-workout recovery plan. Here are Good Hemp’s tips for hitting the ground running in 2021!
1. Warm Up
Arguably the most important factor when it comes to working out (yet the one that’s probably swerved the most) is the warm up. Sure, you’re short on time and spending 10 minutes flailing your limbs around won’t make much difference, right? Wrong. By skipping your warm up, you’re increasing your risk of injury and actually putting additional strain on your muscles, since they have to work a lot harder cold.
Whether you’re going for a run or hitting the weights, it’s important to ease your muscles into exercise before you take on any strenuous activity. It isn’t just preventing injury that it’ll help with either – there’s a whole host of benefits to warming up before you get to work:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased blood flow and oxygen
- Improved performance
- Better range of motion
- Lower risk of injury
- Reduced muscle tension
There are lots of ways you can warm up for a workout, from static stretching – such as a standing hamstring stretch – to dynamic or movement-based stretching like lunges, squats or jogging on the spot.
It goes without saying that hydration is key for post-workout recovery. The exact amount of fluid you need leading up to, during and after a workout depends on a number of things, from how long you’re exercising for to weather conditions (humidity and heat) and more – but generally speaking, if you’re sweating by the bucket-load then it’s probably a good idea to reach for the H20!
When we sweat, our body drains its water reserves leaving us dehydrated, which can lead to several problems such as fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps – not to mention overall poor physical performance. Good ol’-fashioned water is the best way to rehydrate, but you’ve all heard the saying it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, right?
Which leads us nicely onto our next point…
3. Replenish with Electrolytes
In addition to water, you also lose electrolytes as you sweat. These little guys are minerals including magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium – they’re found in your blood and are essential for regulating the balance of fluids in the body, making sure your nervous system functions properly, and muscle contraction. It’s important to replace any lost electrolytes after activity, which can be done via sports drinks and in the food you eat – including plenty of fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect excuse for those peanut butter and banana sarnies at elevenses!
If you’re drinking too much water and not replenishing your electrolytes, you’ll risk diluting and affecting the balance of your body’s fluids (hyponatraemia) which can lead to bloating or nausea – or in worse cases (for example after a marathon) it can be fatal.
4. Cool Down
Similar to warming up, a lot of people tend to swerve the cool down period – why spend 10 minutes walking or jogging when you could be horizontal on the sofa? I mean, you’ve earned it. But again, without trying to sound like the nagging aunt who thinks she knows it all (we’ve all got one, right?), cooling down post-workout is essential for your overall health. Whether you take five to continue walking after a run, or you throw in some static stretching, allowing your heart rate to slow down and your body to come to a gradual halt after exercise is only ever a good thing.
5. Power Up with a Protein Snack
We’re not saying you have to stuff your pockets full of protein bars (although you don’t need to tell us twice!), but powering up with a high-protein snack once you’ve put the dumbbells down will help aid post-workout recovery, providing all the nutrients your body needs to top up your glycogen stores, repair tissue and build muscle.
According to the Association of British Dieticians, it’s best to spread out your protein consumption evenly throughout the day to optimise muscle repair after intense exercise. Whether you’re on the go, or, like most of us right now, are working from home – with 24/7 fridge access, might we add – there are plenty of satisfying snacks to be had that don’t result in spooning PB straight from the jar (can you tell we love peanut butter?).
Good Hemp is on hand to help you whip up some of the best post-workout foods packed with our all-natural hemp protein powder, carbs and healthy fats – whether you want to down it in a protein smoothie, toss it in a salad or stir it into your porridge!
6. Take a Cool Bath
Take the word ‘cool’ with a pinch of salt; what we really mean is icy! There have been plenty of studies that support the idea of ice water and/or contrast temperature water immersion therapy for post workout rest and recovery – which is common practice among sports athletes. Believe us when we say there is method to this madness. Those brave enough to dive into a bath with hair-raising temperatures of 12-15°C will experience benefits such as reduced inflammation, muscle pain and soreness; improved circulation; plus improved performance, allowing you to get back in the game faster.
Contrast therapy works much the same. The rapid change in temperature causes changes in your heart rate and blood vessels – they retract in cold water (vasoconstriction) and open up in warm water (vasodilation) – and it’s this pulsing motion that’s believed to relieve the body from injury symptoms.
7. Get a Massage
You’ve finished a killer session at the home-gym and you’re on cloud nine, but you just know that tomorrow you’ll be paying big time for today’s efforts. One of the best ways to demolish those DOMS? Get yourself a massage. Whether you see a professional and lap up the luxury with lavender-scented oils or go DIY mode with a massage gun or foam roller, tending to those sore muscles within 2-6 hours after exercise will do your body the world of good.
8. Reduce Inflammation and Soreness
We know, we know – we’re always talking about the benefits of CBD oil. However, in a blog post about post-workout recovery, we’d be remiss not to mention how CBD oil can help speed up this process. After all, studies have shown that CBD can be very beneficial to athletes.
When you exercise, you put extra stress on your muscles, which can lead to inflammation. CBD has anti-inflammatory qualities, meaning that a few drops of CBD oil in your post-workout smoothie or nighttime cup of tea could help your muscles recover faster. Additionally, CBD can help to reduce the pain associated with soreness after exercising – it’s often used to manage pain and discomfort, so why not try it after a hard session at the home gym?
Long story short? A few drops of CBD oil after a workout could do your muscles a world of good – and we’ve got just the selection for you to try, now in tasty flavours like peppermint and citrus.
If you’re into health and wellness, you will have no doubt seen many fitness brands throwing around the word ‘compression’ like it’s going out of fashion. That’s because analyses on compression garments have reported faster recovery of exercise-induced muscle damage, soreness and swelling, and they’re also thought to reduce the risk of blood clots. Stretchy yet tight materials act as a pump, helping to circulate blood flow, reduce muscle metabolites and eliminate fluid in your muscle cells (which builds up when you stop moving).
So, basically, splash out on the overpriced leggings.
10. Rest and Reduce Stress
It sounds crazy, but emotional and mental wellbeing can have a huge affect on your body, including muscle recovery. When you’re in a frenzy, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to comprehend certain things – like how cramming in too much revision can cause a total mind blank when it’s time to put pen to paper. When you’re stressed at work, you’re worried about something, or you’re not sleeping or eating properly, your body will use all of its energy getting to work on a stress response solution, leaving it without capacity to prioritise muscle growth. Getting enough sleep, meditating, or practicing mindfulness will benefit your overall wellness more than you realise.
If you have trouble relaxing or falling asleep, why not try taking CBD oil? It has properties that can help reduce anxiety and stress, and – for anyone who struggles with insomnia – can help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep.
11. Continue with Light Exercise
You might have heard of active recovery: light, non-strenuous movement such as walking, yoga or swimming on your rest days is more beneficial than total inactivity such as binging Netflix for 5 hours solid. While you’re not putting unwanted stress on the body with any intense physical activity, it helps to keep your blood flowing and promotes muscle recovery, among additional benefits such as:
- Flexible muscles
- Reduced soreness
- Reduced lactic acid build-up
- Increased blood flow
- Toxins elimination
Good Hemp cares about sustainability – and that goes for your workout regime, too! Exercising without a proper warm-up and post-workout recovery plan can lead to injuries and lasting damage to your body, so fill your cupboards with protein snacks, invest in some CBD oil (your muscles will thank you), do your stretches and reduce stress any way you can – we want you in it for the long run!