Recovery is an essential part of exercise and performance training. Your muscles need to rest, repair, and rebuild to improve strength and endurance. Resting your muscles between days of exercise is just as important as working out. Rest allows for healthy muscle recovery and repair while avoiding overtraining and overworking your muscles.
Know Your Muscles
You have three different types of muscles throughout your body including cardiac, skeletal, and smooth. Although they each have different functions, they are all essential for cell growth, movement, and recovery. Let’s break down what makes each of them unique.
Cardiac muscles are found within the heart. Your cardiac muscles are primarily responsible for pumping oxygen from the heart to other parts of your body. Your cardiac muscles have communication signals that allow your heart to involuntarily contract. Stronger cardiac muscles = better blood flow = faster more efficient recovery.
You have over 650 skeletal muscles that cover your skeletal system. Skeletal muscles attach to bones and tendons. They are essential for voluntary movements, posture, and body temperature regulation. Skeletal muscles are also multinucleated that form muscle fibers, allowing your muscles to contract and move.
Your smooth muscles are located in your organs and are primarily responsible for maintaining your regular bodily functions including blood pressure. You can find smooth muscle in your lungs, digestion tract, bladder, and reproductive organs. Your smooth muscles are involuntary and help muscles within your organs to contract and move materials through your body.
Essential Nutrients For Muscle Recovery
A diet rich in protein is essential for both muscle recovery and muscle building. As you work out, your muscles tear to become stronger and more resilient. Foods high in protein break down into amino acids to help repair muscle tissue and tears after your workouts for better recovery.
Your body stores glycogen regularly to use for fuel as needed. When you work out, your body uses the stored glycogen as you burn energy. When it’s time for a post-workout snack, carbs are essential nutrients to look for in foods, as your body can replenish glycogen and assist with muscle recovery.
H2O + Electrolytes
Water is extremely important for essential bodily processes, including muscle recovery. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and post-workout. Water helps regulate your body temperature and delivers nutrients, electrolytes, and oxygen to your muscles for better recovery.
When you work out, you also sweat and probably a lot. Sweating is our body’s internal method of regulating body temperature but it also depletes your internal storage of many essential minerals. Replenish minerals such as magnesium or zinc post-workout.
5 Post-Workout Snacks for Better Muscle Recovery
Your post-workout snacks should be nutrition conscious for healthy muscle recovery. Be sure to get enough protein and carbs, as well as stay hydrated and replenish essential minerals to avoid injury. Healthy fats are okay to add but will not do much in terms of muscle recovery.
Here are my favorite 5 post-workout snacks to help muscles recovery before your next workout:
- Egg omelet with avocado
- Tuna and crackers
- Whole grain almond butter sandwich
- Cottage cheese with fruit
- Protein shake and a banana