You may be expecting to see quite colourful, bizarre suggestions here with an article title like that! The internet’s full of things like… “bathe in a steam room filled with organic Alaskan Ginseng collected from the valleys of Mount Hagen. Let it permeate through your body and enter your soul” (shout out to RDR2 fans ?). Oh, and be sure to do all of this 30 minute before sipping your first glass of chilled, purified, nutrient enriched water from the springs of Mount Kenya!
Ok, so let’s cut through the sales marketing drivel and fitness charlatan nonsense ^^ that plagues the internet and lay out our top 5 scientifically supported (and arguably most effective) tips to recover from the gym, quick time!
Rest to recover/rest for injuries
If you’re suffering from pain and it’s affecting your daily activities and training, then try your best to figure out and avoid the movements that aggravate the injured or severely fatigued tissues during waking hours. If you repeatedly aggravate an injury, you are not allowing the injured tissue enough time to heal. I understand this ‘active resting’ can be very tricky if your work requires you to perform certain actions, or if you have dependents who rely on your manual handling.
If such things are the case, I’d encourage you to discuss your limitations with work. Here in the UK, employers have to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’. Now obviously, I’d suggest that you avoid milking this, however a few months of light duties may well be the key to your long-term recovery, which will benefit both you and your employer! Are kids the issue? Consider rearranging furniture in the house to accommodate for your limitations, consider purchasing aids/adaptations that make your life a little easier or reach out to friends and family for help. The Royal College of Occupational Therapists have loads of information that may help you with this.
Still struggling? Check out our last point on physiotherapy.
Very closely linked with rest (as this is exactly what it is), however this is when your body really recovers. Try to get at least 6 hours of quality sleep in each night. Want to get really geeky? Try using one of these health tracking smart watches to measures your sleep quality… Want to get even more geeky?
Try these sunrise alarm clocks, which help your body wake up naturally without bright blinding lights and buzzers calling all your senses to attention at once! Ok, so this could run the risk of falling into the sales marketing drivel that we referred to at the start. There is however some evidence to suggest that supporting our bodies natural circadian rhythms can help improve recovery when waking up from a deep slumber. This article found that blood pressure gradually increased before the scheduled time of awakening, and that heart rate did not show a rapid increase at arousal. In contrast, forced-awakening (i.e blinding lights and alarm noises) induced acute increases in both heart rate and blood pressure.
Oh, and all that stuff you here about limiting screen time before bed.. it’s spot on! Try to avoid screens an hour before hitting the hay.
Still not convinced that reduced quantity and quality of sleep impairs your recovery from exercise? Check out this systematic review which showed that reduced sleep significantly increases the risk of having an injury and a negative effect on recovery after training.
Protein consumption is key to recovery! Opinions vary on how much protein you should consume, but I’d say aim for 1 gram per pound of bodyweight if you’re starting out. “But I’m An Elite Athlete” I hear you say! You’d best increase that to around 2 grams per pound of body weight to accommodate the consistent breakdown of muscle fibres then.
For the average gym goer (like yours truly), try not to get to sucked into all the media waffle that requires a chemistry degree to understand.. just aim for complete proteins (dairy, meat, eggs will likely be the main source). If you’re a veggie or vegan, make sure your protein is made up from both grains and legumes (as together these will give you all the amino acids you need to forge those gains!)
Want to take all the hassle out of thinking about cooking? Take advantage of our affiliate deal and try HelloFresh today.
Consider hiring a Personal Trainer (PT), online or 1 to 1. Or simply write yourself a three-month program whilst bearing in mind SMART Goals, which cater for gradually increasing intensity or volume (never at the same time, unless you’re a genetic freak). There’s loads of training programs online to meet every goal; running, cycling, weightlifting, bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman etc. Try to find one that links their method to an evidence-based approach; that is to say, supported by actual science – not BRO-Science, as tempting that may be!
So, yep, you guessed it… a physiotherapist plugging physiotherapy!
This one is only for those times when you can’t for the life of you figure out what is wrong. Now just like PT’s (and pretty much every other profession under the sun), there’s a broad spectrum of skills, experience and expertise available when it comes to physio’s. It’s worth bearing in mind that the majority of physio’s specialise in hugely varied (sometimes diametrically opposed) areas of the profession.
I’d suggest looking for a musculoskeletal (MSK) specialist with a good number of years under their belt. Look at their post grad qualifications and experience (some have worked in elite level sport or world leading health care services). In addition to this, if your injury lies in with a specific joint then it may be worthwhile digging even deeper to find an msk physio who specialises in that area of the body. Lastly, make sure they’re legit and are registered with The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
So there they are! I hope these quick 5 tips to speed up the recovery process have been somewhat helpful!
Now that we’ve gone over the basics.. it’s time to pay the bills and send the shameless plugs!
Fancy some gym equipment getting delivered straight to your door at lightning fast speeds? There’s some quality gear and an incredibly consumer friendly returns policy on most products at Amazon.
See our disclosure page for further information on our affiliates.
Until next time, all the best! Signing out.
Whilst not writing for FGUK, Tim works as a Physiotherapist, Personal Trainer and is a Retired Ammunition Technician with the British Army. In his spare time Tim enjoys engaging in a whole variety of sports, spending considerable time with his little rascal of a dog, relaxing with his friends and family, but most of all.. geeking out on all things fitness!
*Timmy’s Top Tips
‘If you enter my house, the dog must be greeted first!’
*FGUK may receive commission if you click on promoted adverts.
Happy browsing 🙂