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While it’s important to make the time for workouts and other intentional activity, you must remember that a proper workout recovery is an essential part of your fitness program. In fact, workout recovery is just as important as important as the workout itself. As any bodybuilder knows, muscle mass increases after a workout. When you are lifting weights, muscles experience microtears and are broken down. It’s during the repair process when that all important new muscle mass is created.

Why you need to recover

Don’t be tempted to skip the stretch after your workout. Stretches are essential to keep your muscles from getting too tight. Additionally, having tight muscles will prevent you from going as deep as you need to during your next workout. Spend at least 10 minutes after a workout stretching, and consider adding some yoga to your routine a few times a week.

Dangers of not recovering

If you don’t put the time and effort into a proper post workout recovery, you may find that you’re paying the price with decreased mobility and greater chance of injury. No matter how disciplined your fitness and dietary regimen, overtraining can result in an inability to lose weight, decreased muscle mass and mood swings. Your immune system may also become compromised resulting in frequent colds and sickness.

Eat protein and carbs right after your workout to aid recovery

Fitness is more than the amount of time that you spend at the gym. Proper nutrition is a major factor in seeing consistent, ongoing results. Your body needs energy for all your daily tasks as well as your workout. That energy comes from fueling your body with the proper food.

You’ll need both protein and carbohydrates after a workout. Some people may not feel hungry after exercising and consuming nutrition in liquid form may be better tolerated.

Not every workout needs a post recovery snack. If you’ve been walking, doing yoga, gardening or other household activities, you don’t need recovery nutrition. But if you are weight training or some form of endurance workout, then you’ll need a healthy snack or drink afterwards. The reason is because when you push your body to workout hard, your body will use stored carbohydrates, sweat, and other valuable resources to get you through the workout. You will want to replenish these things as quickly as possible.

An important thing to remember especially as we age is that we don’t want to create inflammation. Sugar in the diet will create inflammation which will impede the recovery process so stay away from high sugar snacks as much as you can.