Tips for how to recover after an intensive workout 

Personal trainer Gerben Hierck shares his favourite tips!
As an expert in exercise and movement patterns, Gerben creates successful fitness plans and helps his clients to manage their exercise routines. He would be glad to help you improve your stamina, strength and speed and achieve your personal goals. He’s sharing his favourite tips with us today for recovering after a strenuous workout.

Do you really need to recover after each workout session?

‘Yes. If you’re looking to improve your overall fitness level – and generally feel better – always give yourself the time you need to recover after each workout. You should make this part of your exercise plan. You will not be able to make the same progress without a good recovery. You won’t improve – and, worse still, you could even find yourself regressing. 
If your body and muscles become too tired, this could potentially lead to bad injuries and other inconveniences. If you want to keep improving and making progress, you need to focus on everything you do after you finish, on your recovery, and enjoy the break. 
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and eat properly. If you achieve a balance between exercise and relaxation, you’ll find yourself getting closer to your goal each day!’

Recovery tips after a strenuous workout

‘Are you ready? OK, here goes. My first tip: be sure to take a break immediately after a rigorous workout. And what a lot of people don’t know or tend to forget is that the impact of a more intense workout session also lasts longer. You should therefore make sure you get enough sleep after your workout. Some exercise routines require more than 72 hours recovery time! Time for tip 2: Make sure you bring enough drink and healthy food with to give your body what it needs post-workout. This way, you will recover faster and your high-intensity workout will have more impact. Tip 3: Focus on the timing of your recovery. The sooner your body can rest and relax, the better. You should therefore take the time to wind down immediately after your workout – it is that rest between workouts that guarantees a greater impact and better results. And I have another tip for you as a bonus! Use the foam roll sometime after a rigorous workout to relieve any muscle aches. How does it work? By placing the foam roll on the sore spot, where your muscle has retracted. Keeping the foam roll in this sore spot, you should try to extend the muscle again by making a movement inverse to the muscle’s function. You will get more results this way than by simply moving the foam roll across your muscle. Use the foam roll, for example, to find that painful spot on your calf. Keeping your foot stretched, move your toes and foot towards you. Repeat.

Specific recovery tips after a run

‘It bears repeating: make sure you get the rest you need. But I’ve got a couple of other tips to share with you, specifically for after you’ve been running. I recommend taking off on your bike immediately after, as this is less taxing on the joints and can help your body to relax.
Tip 2: Stay hydrated and continue to watch what you’re eating after your workout. Proteins will help you to recover and to build and maintain your muscles, as they take a beating during your run and protein specifically helps your muscles to recover. You can’t go wrong with that! Finally: focus on maintaining the balance between exercise and rest, particularly as there are few sports as hard on the body as running. While you may feel fit and ready to go again 48 hours after your run, your tendons and bones may beg to differ!’