Boost Muscle Recovery After Summer Workouts

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What athlete wouldn't want to ease the post-workout muscle recovery process? After all, the more efficiently you can restore your body, the easier it will be to grind out your next training session. But, how exactly do you repair muscles after intense sessions? The answer is actually a variety of methods. Get the scoop below.

Cold Therapy
One method favored by the nation's top pros—including LeBron James and Chad Ochocincoinvolves cold therapy. Ice relieves inflammation by constricting blood vessels. An ice bath numbs nerves, reduces blow flow and lessens pain. The Journal of Sports Sciences found that athletes who applied ice or cold therapy after intense physical activity had less joint stiffness and lactic acid build-up than those who had no such therapy.

Apply the Method: Fill a bathtub with cold water and add one or two five-pound bags of ice so the temperature reaches 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Stay in the bath for approximately 10 minutes, then follow up with a warm shower 30 to 60 minutes after.

Post-Workout Meal
Fueling up after intense training is essential for every athlete. Doing so restores energy your body uses when you pound out rep after rep or sprint around the track.

Apply the Method: Experts recommend consuming approximately 20 grams of high-quality protein—such as lean meat, chicken, fish or a protein supplement—immediately after working out and another 20 grams two hours later. Combine the protein with 40 to 80 grams of simple carbohydrates such as pasta or fruit within 30 minutes following a workout. Replenish your energy quickly by consuming carbohydrates with a high glycemic index [refer to the list below, by sports nutritionist Susan Kleiner, courtesy of Power Eating].

The glycemic index is a scale describing how fast a food is converted to glucose in the blood. The higher the number, the better. These foods aid in the production of glycogen, which fuel your muscles.

Gatorade 91
Carbonated soft drink 68
Baked potato 85
Graham crackers 74
Bagel 72
White bread 70
Whole-wheat bread 69
Grape Nuts 67
Oatmeal 61
White rice 56
Brown rice 55
Watermelon 72
Raisins 64
Orange juice 57
Apple juice 41
Honey 73

Compression Clothes
Get a head start on your post-workout recovery by wearing compression clothes during your workout. Because of their ultra-tight fit, compression clothes—tights, shirts, socks and arm and leg sleeves—minimize swelling and soreness by stopping excess fluid from building up in the body.

Apply the method: recommends wearing compression tights or leg sleeves if you participate in a sport that involves a lot of lower-body movements. If your upper thighs and calves tend to become sore, compression tights or leg sleeves can help alleviate the soreness.

Survey: How do you recover after a workout? Give us your thoughts here.


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