Lifting weights is essential to building a stronger body. Classified as a resistance-training exercise, it forces your muscles to contract under the pressure of the weights. From barbell chest presses and squats to dumbbell shoulder presses and curls, lifting weights helps your body build bigger muscles. As your muscles contract, they’ll sustain minor injury in the form of micro-sized tissue tears. Over time, however, your body will repair this torn muscle tissue so that it’s stronger and less likely to sustain similar injury in the process. For this biological healing process to occur, however, you need to rest after lifting weights.
The Importance of Resting After Lifting Weights
Ask any experienced bodybuilder and he or she will probably agree: Resting is one of the most important things you can do to build bigger muscles. It provides your body with an opportunity to repair the damaged, injured tissue. If you don’t rest — or if you don’t rest for long enough — your muscle tissue will remain torn and injured. Unfortunately, this means you won’t experience any gains. Rather, you’ll retain the same muscle mass that you previously had before lifting weights.
Additionally, allowing your body to rest and recover after lifting weights reduces the risk of injury. Statistics show that bodybuilders and athletes suffer about 3.3 injuries per 1,000 hours of training. Those who don’t rest, however, are more likely to sustain injury than their counterparts. Lack of rest results in weaker muscles that are naturally more susceptible to injury. You can protect yourself from injury and achieve bigger gains by resting after your workout sessions.
Include More Protein in Your Diet
To recover from weightlifting more quickly, include more protein in your diet. Protein is the building blocks from which muscle tissue is made. Your body uses this vital nutrient to build new muscle and also repair existing tissue. The problem is that most people don’t consume enough protein in their diet. And if you lift weights, you’ll need to consume more protein than someone who doesn’t lift weights.
Add more of the following foods to your diet to increase your daily protein intake:
- Lean meats
- Whey protein shakes
Avoid Strenuous Physical Activity for the Next 48 Hours
After lifting weights, wait at least 48 hours before doing any strenuous physical activity. You can still perform light physical activity during this time, such as walking or even jogging, but you should avoid resistance-training exercises that place significant stress on your muscles. Some people visit the gym every day to lift weights, only to discover that this doesn’t help them build bigger muscles. On the contrary, it hurts their muscle-building efforts by further breaking down their muscle tissue. To recover more quickly, you must avoid all forms of strenuous physical activity for at least 48 hours after lifting weights.
Catch Your ZZZs
The amount of sleep you get will directly influence the speed at which you recover from lifting weights. When you’re asleep, your body will produce essential hormones, including growth hormones (GHs), that are used to repair muscle tissue. But if you don’t get enough sleep at night, your body won’t have the opportunity to produce an adequate amount of GHs, which can hinder its recovery process. How much sleep do you need after lifting weights? Ideally, you should get a minimum of seven hours of good, restful sleep each night, including the nights on which you lift weights. You can catch more ZZZs by turning off lights — overhead fixture, bedside table lamp, nightlight, smartphone light, etc. — as well as lying down at the same time every night.
Get a Sports Recovery Massage
Massage therapy isn’t used strictly for relieving muscle knots and tension; it’s also an effective way to hasten your recover after lifting weights. A study cited by Men’s Journal found bodybuilders who received 10 minutes of massage therapy after working out recovered more quickly than bodybuilders in the control group who didn’t get massage therapy. A sports recovery massage will stimulate blood flow to muscle tissue, pumping it full of oxygen and nutrients so that it recovers more quickly.
Stretch Your Body
While you shouldn’t perform strenuous physical for at least 48 hours after lifting weights, it’s perfectly fine to stretch your body. In fact, a light stretching routine can assist with your body’s recovery process. Stretching helps to loosen your muscles and, like a sports recovery massage, stimulates blood flow. The end result of these effects is faster recovery times from lifting weights. You don’t have to spend a half-hour stretching. Rather, perform a short five- or 10-minute routine that involves stretching your arms, legs, torso and back.
To learn more about post-workout recovery, contact us today. Atlanta Chiro and Wellness offers massage therapy, chiropractic spinal adjustments and other services that can help you recover more quickly from your weightlifting sessions.Share