You make your health and fitness a priority. You schedule your week around your workouts or favorite fitness classes, and rarely does a day goes by that you don’t walk through the doors of a fitness facility. But here’s something you may not realize: The time you spend working out is only one part of the equation necessary to achieve your fitness goals.
Exercise is the process of applying a physical stimulus to the tissues of the body. One thing that is often misunderstood is the fact that your body becomes stronger after you exercise, not during the actual workout. Top health and fitness professionals and strength coaches know that the real secret to getting results actually depends on what happens during the recovery period after the workout.
When a muscle achieves a point of momentary fatigue or soreness, that’s a signal that an appropriate amount of either metabolic or mechanical stress has been applied. Metabolic stress happens when a muscle has to produce the energy to contract. Mechanical stress occurs when muscle fibers experience structural damaged as the result of performing a series of contractions against external resistance. It’s not yet clear which one is more important, but both metabolic and mechanical stresses are necessary to stimulate the muscle growth that takes place after a workout. This is what makes the post-exercise recovery period so important.
If you’re interested in how you can maximize the benefits from your workouts, take a look at what you do after you exercise to help achieve optimal results. Following these top strategies can help you increase the effectiveness of the post-workout recovery period.
Types of Recovery
First, it’s important to define the type of recovery we are discussing. There are specific types of recovery: short-term, which occurs immediately after a set to allow the muscles to eliminate the waste products of contraction; and longer-term, which refers to the period of time between workout sessions. Short-term recovery can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and is important to ensure that you replace energy stores after each set. The longer recovery period between workouts is the one to focus on because it is the time period after the workout when the body adapts to the stimulus applied during the exercise session. The proper care of your muscle and connective tissue, consuming the right type of post workout nutrition, the quality and quantity