Maximise Muscle Recovery with These Top Tips

muscle recovery

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to build muscle, burn fat or simply want to stay in shape, resting between workouts for muscle recovery is a vital part of the overall fitness regime. Simple things like eating a healthy diet and getting regular sleep all aid in effective muscle recovery, helping you get the most out of your exercise routine.

This article provides actionable steps you can take to ensure muscle recovery post-workout. It explores:

  • the importance of muscle recovery,
  • techniques and strategies to speed up the process, and
  • how to incorporate these methods into a regular fitness routine.

Read on to discover ways to enhance your performance and overall well-being.

Why is muscle recovery important?

When you exercise, whether it’s lifting weights, going for a run or participating in a Hit class, you place stress and load on your muscles. This is good stress, as once the body adapts, your muscles become bigger and stronger.

However, over-training will lead to muscle fatigue, which in turn can result in annoying niggling injuries or muscle strain. In order for your muscles to grow and adapt to the stresses of exercise, they need recovery time. With a good balance of exercise and recovery, you’ll become fitter, stronger and less prone to injury.

Let’s now cover some tips to aid with muscle recovery.

Active recovery

This type of recovery involves low-impact and low-intensity exercises that promote blood flow for muscle repair. Strength training can make you feel fatigued. Low-intensity exercises following a weight training session, such as a walk on the treadmill or gentle cycle, allow your body to circulate waste products caused by rigorous activity. However, post-workout active recovery must not fatigue the muscles and shouldn’t be so intense that you find yourself out of breath.

Passive recovery

As the word ‘passive’ suggests, this means taking a complete rest from further physical activity after exercising. Kicking back on the couch and simply relaxing is a prime example of passive recovery. How much passive recovery you’ll require each day really depends on the intensity of your training and your current level of fitness.

Consume protein post-workout

Proteins build muscle fibres and every time you exercise, these fibres suffer damage. This is why it’s vital to get into the habit of consuming protein following a workout. To ensure your muscles recover after strenuous activity, ingest a fresh dose of protein to feed the muscles, repair them and make them even stronger than they were before.

You should consume approximately 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day to ensure you’re getting all the protein you need. Whether you drink milk, take protein shakes, tuck into some eggs or steak, keep up your protein intake to aid muscle recovery.

Another idea to manage your protein quota is to consume protein prior to working out. This will give you strength during your workouts and bolster muscle recovery.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Why are omega-3 fatty acids important for muscle recovery? By boosting your immune system along with increasing blood flow, you’ll feed your muscles the nutrients they need to recover faster. You’ll find omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds, such as chia seeds and flax seeds. You might also consider taking fish oil supplements to get the omega-3 you need daily.


While drinking protein shakes and downing a variety of sports drinks is great, nothing beats regular doses of plain fresh water. Water is also far more effective at quenching your thirst. Aim to drink at least two litres of water per day to ensure you’re always well-hydrated before, during and after exercise. Adding coconut water for some variety is also highly beneficial.


Cross-training means changing your workouts from day to day, so you work different muscle groups on different days. This allows for certain muscles to have some recovery time while still continuing to exercise regularly. The variety provided by cross-training minimises the amount of active and passive recovery required for muscle repair and strengthening. It’s another idea to consider when searching for the best muscle recovery methods to suit your needs and lifestyle.

Post-workout carb intake

Carbohydrates also play a pivotal role in the muscle recovery process. Your body’s muscles store carbs in the form of glycogen. This provides a source of fuel for any form of aerobic exercise. Glycogen is also the body’s main source of fuel for energy.

Add some complex carbohydrates to your protein intake following a workout. This will replenish these important glycogen stores and will in turn aid in muscle recovery.

Stretching exercises

Always perform some stretching exercises following a weight training session or any other form of strenuous exercise. Stretching helps loosen tight muscles, assists in expelling a build up of lactic acid, promotes faster muscle recovery and also reduces the chance of developing muscle strain or injury. Aim to stretch for about ten minutes post-workout.

Get plenty of sleep

The body repairs itself while you sleep. Without enough sleep each night, you can’t hope for effective muscle recovery to take place. Not only will muscle recovery result from a good rest, but the muscles will also be less fatigued and will grow stronger while you sleep. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is the recommended amount for full body repair.

Consider a massage

Indulging in a massage post-workout doesn't have to be a daily part of your routine, but a massage once every few weeks will do wonders for muscle recovery. A full body massage will iron out all the kinks in your muscles, as well as promote blood flow and enhanced mood. It will also improve your flexibility and keep you agile.

Try an ice bath

An ice bath involves cold immersion and is a fantastic way to relieve muscle soreness and fatigue. The ice bath method works best when combined with active recovery exercises and potentially reduces inflammation.

Have rest days

If you hit the gym seven days a week, month after month, the likely result will be over-training. Your muscles, even if you adopt cross-training routines, simply won’t be getting any real time to fully recover.

While endless workouts may seem like a way to fast track your fitness goals, too much training without adequate recovery time will ultimately have adverse results. Aim to have at least one rest day per week, allowing your body to have a break from your regular exercise routine.

Avoid junk foods and too much alcohol

Alcohol, fast foods and added sugars don’t aid in effective muscle recovery. Instead, these substances can actually cause inflammation in the muscles and joints. They also impede blood flow, reducing the amount of nutrients your muscles receive during recovery periods. Muscle recovery aside, added sugars, alcohol and junk food won’t help create the body you desire or do anything for your fitness goals.

Struggling with muscle recovery?

If you’re struggling with muscle recovery and are unsure of what will work best for you, at Live Fit Gym, we have an expert and experienced team of personal trainers who are here and waiting to help you out. Discover the best workout and muscle recovery routines with professional guidance. Contact us today for more information on our facilities and fitness classes.