How to recover faster after a hard workout in the gym – take medications, go for special procedures, or just give the body a rest? In this article, we will describe the most common muscle recovery methods. But first, let’s talk about how the body reacts to training and how to behave after heavy exertion.


The human body is a complex system that monitors its own state and regulates it. At rest and during light loads, all processes go at their usual pace. But the load forces you to use reserve energy reserves to ensure the normal functioning of the body during hard exercise.

During exercise, the production of cortisol increases, which destroys muscles, and it is because of this that soreness appears. Thus, training takes up a huge amount of reserves, which now have to be restored. That is, it is necessary to return the original anatomical, physiological and biochemical state, which was originally.

The body itself hints what needs to be done to recover. You may notice that after training you want to eat more and sleep longer. Indeed, nutrition and rest are important components of a harmonious and complete recovery.

After physical activity, the body is also prepared for more serious stress, which is expressed in an increase in muscle mass. And the stronger the previous load was, the more thorough this preparation. That is why the most effective training is on the brink of possibilities. Endurance increases not during sports, but during rest. Therefore, it is so important to be able to properly recover after training.


The body recovers gradually, in four phases:

  1. Fast recovery. Lasts approximately 30 minutes after finishing your workout. During this time, severe hunger usually occurs, as the body seeks to replenish its supply of nutrients as soon as possible.
  2. Slow recovery. At this stage, the regeneration of tissues and cells begins, the water-electrolyte balance returns to normal, and the substances that come with food are actively absorbed. They will become the building blocks for new muscle tissue. Enzymatic, protein and amino acid synthesis is also triggered.
  3. Supercompensation phase. It comes about on the third day after heavy exertion and ends on the fifth day. During this period, there is an increase in physical indicators, that is, the body is preparing for new loads. The next session should be done before the supercompensation phase ends.
  4. Delayed recovery. Occurs after supercompensation when an athlete stops attending a fitness club or gym. During the delayed recovery process, the body returns to the same shape it was in before training, which is why it is so important not to skip training.


Here are some basic tips to follow in order not to hinder your body’s natural recovery:

  • Avoid stress. Psychological comfort contributes to complete physical recovery. If troubles do happen, relaxation and meditation can help to cope with them.
  • Observe the regime. Get up and go to bed at the same time. Meals should also be regular – do not skip meals during the day, and then gorge on before bed.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours a day, and preferably 9-10. Sleep should be comfortable and uninterrupted.
  • Do not schedule your workouts early in the morning and late in the evening – just before and after sleep. The body needs to wake up and prepare for the stress, it takes at least an hour.
  • Get more rest during the day. Allow yourself to completely relax for at least 15 minutes and forget about the work process and problems. The less stress the better.


Gradual slowdown after exercise

Recovery will be more effective if you do not end your workout with a strength exercise. Even after running, it is not recommended to abruptly stop the load – you need to gradually move to a step.

There are two ways to end your workout harmoniously:

  • Stretching.
  • Do cardio on an ellipsoid, stationary bike, or treadmill at an easy pace.

To maximize the effect, you can first stretch and finish cardio.


Drinking plenty of fluids during and after exercise

Water is the best way to help the body cope with strenuous physical activity. She takes part in many important processes inside the body. Drinking enough can help avoid overworking during exercise and ensure proper recovery after.

At the same time, it is important to be attentive to your body and drink exactly when you want. It’s better to take a few sips after each set than to drink a whole bottle at the end of your workout. If there is not enough water at first, and then too much water, an increased load on the heart is created.

Proper nutrition

It is recommended to eat well during the fast recovery phase, that is, in the first 30 minutes after completing your workout. It is at this time that carbohydrates and amino acids are most actively absorbed.

If you can’t eat in the first half hour, do it when the opportunity arises. If nutrients enter the body, they will be absorbed anyway. But the longer you delay with eating, the more your recovery will be delayed.

When choosing food, it is better to focus on your natural needs. If you want a banana – eat a banana, if you want a burger – eat a burger. The general recommendation is to eat foods rich in carbohydrates for the first half hour.

Special tablets

There are medications that help your muscles recover faster after exercise. They are represented by three main groups:

  • Plastic – accelerate the synthesis of proteins.
  • Adaptogens – increase resistance to heavy physical exertion.
  • Energizers – accelerate the absorption of nutrients.

The use of pills has its limitations. They are definitely good for muscles, but they can harm other body systems. Before using drugs, you should consult with your doctor.

Temperature effect

To speed up the recovery process, many athletes use the sauna after exercise. Exposure to high temperatures has a beneficial effect on the skin and increases blood circulation. Due to this, metabolic processes in the body proceed faster, cells regenerate more actively, muscles recover better.

In addition to heat, cold can also be used after exercise. Low temperatures relieve muscle swelling and improve overall health. You can take ice baths, rub the muscles with ice and apply cold wraps.


Rehabilitation massage is the best way to relieve muscle pain. It can be combined with a visit to the sauna or used separately. Massage is a mandatory component of the professional training of athletes. It gives several positive effects at once:

  • Reduces swelling of muscle tissue.
  • Relieves muscle fatigue and relieves muscle spasms.
  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Promotes tissue oxygenation.
  • Helps remove toxins from the body faster.

The main condition for the effectiveness of restorative massage is to carry out procedures no later than 15 minutes after the end of the workout. For this reason, massage rooms are located directly in fitness centers.

Light recovery workout

After strenuous physical activity, simple exercise can be beneficial. You can play soccer, run or ride a bike. This helps to accelerate blood circulation and disperse lactic acid. As a result, the recovery processes are faster.


There are three main features:

  1. A surge of strength, a general increase in energy.
  2. A noticeable reduction or complete absence of muscle pain.
  3. High motivation for further sports and other activities during the day.

For an unambiguous understanding that the recovery process is proceeding correctly, a combination of the listed signs with constant progress is necessary – an increase in muscle mass and the ability to endure ever greater loads. In order for the body to fully recover, it is necessary to accurately assess the level of permissible loads during each workout, and especially at the very beginning of sports.


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