Although it’s often worn as a badge of honor by some in the fitness community, being so sore you can barely pick up your fork or walk up the stairs the next day isn’t really that awesome.
Slower recovery means you have to give your body extra rest, which for those of us who consider ourselves athletes and actually enjoy moving our bodies and working on our fitness goals, is simply no fun.
That’s why in recent years I’ve tried to do everything I could to ensure my body recovers as quickly as possible from my workouts, so I’m never forced to take a day off when I don’t want to.
Here are five of the most important strategies I’ve found help me recover faster from my workouts, brought to you by KILL CLIFF:
Refuel With Food
For a food lover like me, every meal of the day feels like the most important meal—but the post-workout meal probably tops the list.
For those of you trying to lose body fat, or if you don’t tend to be hungry after your workouts (I really don’t understand this, but hey, I know we’re all different), you may be tempted to skip your post-workout meal. And if you just did a light yoga class or went on an easy hike, this really isn’t a big deal. But if you’ve worked really hard during a super intense workout, you need to eat after your workout.
For many people, a protein shake with whey or vegan protein and frozen fruit is the easiest and quickest choice. It’s nearly effortless to make, tastes good, and goes down easily after a workout, even if you are one of those not-hungry people (again, I just can’t relate).
If you’re more of a meal person, that’s fine too, just aim for a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein. Rice or quinoa with some sort of protein plus veggies, Greek yogurt with fruit, and even a sandwich packed with veggies and protein are all good options to help your body recover as quickly as possible.
If you’re like me, when you do any sort of tough workout, you sweat quite a bit. Because of this, you need to make sure and drink plenty of fluids to make up for all the water you lost during your workout.
Plain water is always a good option, but another post-workout recovery drink I’ve been loving recently is the KILL CLIFF Recovery Drink.
With it’s blend of electrolytes, plant extracts, vitamins, enzymes, and other super functional and awesome ingredients, the KILL CLIFF Recovery Drink helps you hydrate quickly and speed up recovery time so you can keep working hard and going after all your fitness goals.
With no artificial colors or flavors, it’s sugar-free, gluten-free, and has only 15-20 calories per can. It’s also lightly carbonated like a soda, so I’ve also found I’ve been reaching for one mid-afternoon when I have a bit of a sweet tooth. KILL CLIFF was actually created by a Navy SEAL and is an official partner of the Navy SEAL Foundation with a portion of every can going to support these warriors and their families, so you know every can is going to a good cause.
Get Enough Sleep
If you’re looking for a way to recover as quickly as possible after a tough workout, never discount the importance of sleep.
Sleep gives our bodies time to repair ourselves, and you really should be getting at least seven or eight hours of solid sleep each night in order to avoid injury and fatigue from your workouts. If you’re incredibly active, you may need even more, or at least make sure to include an afternoon nap every so often to give your body extra rest.
If you’re one of those people who thinks that you don’t need more than five hours of sleep a night, just realize you’re most likely slowing down your recovery time.
Foam Roll & Self Massage
If you work out hard and often, including some sort of foam rolling or self massage into your regular routine is crucial for avoiding injuries and keeping your body mobile and flexible.
For big muscle groups like your legs, glutes, and back, foam rolling is a life savor. And for smaller muscles or tight spots, using a lacrosse ball or somethign similar to really get into the muscle can help break up knots and reduce soreness.
And of course, if you want to treat yourself, you can always get an actual massage!
Take Active Recovery Days
As tempting as it may be to train every day of the week (OK, maybe not for everybody) it’s extremely important that you take at least one or two days off of strenuous training a week to allow your body to repair and recover.
Yet you don’t have to just sit around and do nothing on your recovery days. A great way to get out some energy and remain active is to take what are called active recovery days—days where you’re still moving, but not at the intensity you normally move.
This could be going for an easy hike, taking a stroll around the city, going to a light yoga class, playing at the playground with your kids, etc.
Active recovery days help your progress by giving your body a break and allow you to come back stronger and fitter than you were before.
Work Hard, Recover Faster
Faster recovery means you can keep going after all your goals without being forced to take time off due to injury or fatigue.
With these simple, doable strategies, you can speed up recovery and unlock your full potential. It doesn’t take a lot to make a huge difference in recovery!
Quitting is not an option! Refresh. Recover. Repeat.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KILL CLIFF. The opinions and text are all mine.