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You’ve just waged World War III at the gym: destroyed the ergometer, annihilated the leg press, and blasted every major muscle group from your trapezius to your soleus. You should be feeling great. Instead, you feel like you got run over by a tank. Well, fear not Charles Atlas, there are ways to beat the post workout hurts. Here are ten post-workout recovery methods to get you up and once more into the breach. Matt Wolfe
Studies have shown that chocolate milk, that delicious childhood staple, can actually nourish your muscles and decrease recovery time between workouts. Rich in protein and carbs, the snack is particularly effective for endurance athletes, like cyclists and distance runners.
Taking a quick power nap about an hour or two after your workout gives your body the rest it needs to recharge and build muscle mass.
Soaking yourself in a bath of ice helps reduce muscle inflammation and soreness. Some athletes also swear that chasing the ice bath with a hot shower does wonders for stiffness.
While some men like going straight from the gym to the bar for a cold one, studies suggest that drinking alcohol immediately after a workout can increase your odds of becoming dehydrated—and slow the recovery process. Wait at least three hours before going to the bar and, of course, drink in moderation.
For instant relief to aching muscles, turn to a trusted rub. Lucky Tiger Head to Tail Muscle Rub helps sooth your aches and pains with an ointment that combines eucalyptus, wintergreen and menthol with natural oils and beeswax.
As a rule of thumb, you should chug 24 ounces of water for every hour of hard exercise. If your urine isn’t running nearly clear a couple hours after your workout, you’re not drinking enough.
The humble foam roller—sometimes called “the poor man’s massage”—is a great way of breaking up muscle knots and increasing blood flow, allowing your body to receive the oxygen and nutrients it's so desperately craving.
If you’re hitting the weights, follow up your session with a short session of light jogging, yoga, or other low-impact cardio. This will bring your heart rate down slowly, prevent blood from pooling in your legs, and get ride of the lactic acid produced during your workout session.
The last thing you want to do after a workout is subject your muscles to more pain. However, although it might hurt, a hard post-work stretch will keep your muscles from stiffening up overnight.
Getting stuck with needles isn’t for everyone, but many professional athletes swear acupuncture can help with muscle soreness, adrenal fatigue, and other assorted ailments. In 2010, The New York Times reported that 40 current NFL players all regularly underwent acupuncture sessions to prepare for and recover from games.
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