Now that gyms have re-opened, fitness fanatics up and down the country are keen to re-start their favourite fitness classes.
However, after such a lengthy lay off, it’s important to step back and consider easing back into the fold.
After all, exercising too hard, too soon, can lead to injury.
And, not treating your body right after working out can cause pain or discomfort.
Chris Baxter, a SIXPAD brand ambassador and PT at Barry’s London (the gym chain renowned for its high intensity classes), spoke to Daily Star Online.
He shared his top ‘recovery secrets’:
Chris explained: “Finally, the gym doors are open and I for one could not be more excited.
“Of course, it’s tempting to go back to your old routine and start lifting heavy weights again, but the truth is, you’re likely to injure yourself.
“When you go back to the gym, I would recommend reducing your weight load by 30-40% initially to ease yourself back in.
“Your body can then adapt, and you can then gradually increase your weight load as time goes by.”
He added: “Recovery has always been important, but now more so than ever.
“It’s imperative to make sure you give the different muscle groups at least one day’s rest – to allow your muscles to repair, providing the platform to build back up even stronger!
“I’d go as far as saying that incorporating recovery into your routine is just as important as your exercise regime, and these are a few of my own secrets that should see you on the path to success.”
This seems obvious but I cannot stress just how important drinking water is.
I would generally recommend at least 6-8 glasses per day, and I also tend to have an electrolyte tablet after a run or workout.
The fluids you lose when you workout should simply not be underestimated, and this is an easy fix to replenish vital supplies back into the body.
Alcohol after a workout is also a big no-no; it will have an adverse effect on recovery, and dehydration can lead to muscle cramps (which nobody wants!).
Having a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is an absolute game-changer in my eyes.
If you workout on an empty stomach or after eating some junk food, you simply won’t improve.
It’s essential to have a balanced diet to keep those energy levels high for your next workout, and for recovery.
After a workout, I would recommend a protein shake as it aids muscle reparation and growth.
I usually go for a vegan blend, and would recommend having after any form of strength workout.
Take it within 30 minutes post session and you’ll really feel the benefit.
“Stretching after a workout is paramount when it comes to recovery.
The flushing out of lactic acid after an intense workout is dramatically improved simply by doing so, and generally speaking it’s great for circulation and the rebuilding of muscle fibres.
As a rule of thumb, I would always recommend dynamic stretches before a workout and static stretches post workout.
Holding a position for around 10-15 seconds can relax the muscle and reduce any pain or stiffness you have.
Foam rolling can also really help to improve your flexibility and release any pent-up tension.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation
Hydration, nutrition and stretching may see like obvious ways to recover, but I can’t tell you how much electrical muscle stimulation has also helped me in recent weeks.
For those that don’t know, EMS is more often than not used as a way to strengthen muscles, through the transmission of external electrical stimuli that acts to cause the muscles to contract and relax just as they would do during exercise. In the recovery setting though, I’ve also witnessed the benefits first-hand.
The Leg Belt by SIXPAD is my go to piece of tech, and its low level 20Hz frequency acts to gently contract the muscles, facilitating a form of active recovery.
Fresh oxygenated blood will be stimulated to the tissues to fight fatigue, and you’ll get the added bonus of an opportunity to relax and switch off mentally post-workout.
It goes without saying sleep has a huge impact on muscle recovery.
During your sleep, your body produces growth hormones which stimulate muscle growth and repair – I would typically recommend 7-9 hours per night.
Staying motivated to go to the gym all stems from having a healthy mindset, and a good night’s sleep will contribute to that.
Your quality of sleep can differ, but I’d recommend trying to stay off your phone at least half an hour before going to bed.
Staring at a screen with bright lights can actually make you more alert when you’re trying to wind down!
So, what’s the takeaway message from Chris?
He explained; “Getting yourself into an exercise routine can be one of the best feelings in the world, but this can be hampered without incorporating recovery into that.
“The last thing you want to do is gain an injury to cancel out all the hard work you’ve put in. Follow these recovery tips and you’ll be on the right track in no time!”