Working out can be an incredibly rewarding task, especially when you start seeing the results of your hard work and effort. The main reason that there is a delay between results and when you start working out is that working out works at a microscopic level to incite changes within the body.
Muscles work by pulling on bones across joints. Muscles typically have two points that they attach to bone. The origin attachment is the part of the body where the muscle is attached and does not move during contraction while the other attachment is called the insertion attachment. The bicep muscle has an origin in the top of the humerus and an insertion at the upper forearm. When the bicep contracts and shortens in length it results in the movement of the forearm upward resembling the motion of a curl.
This is the basic underpinnings behind how muscles work throughout the body. When you workout you are utilizing these muscles to a point where the muscle fibers begin experiencing microtears. Increasing weight increases the force needed by the muscles to shorten. These small microscopic tears are what ultimately lead to muscle growth and increases in strength.
Muscle recovery is the step in which these tears are fixed better than before and is also when bone is microscopically restructured to be stronger. While recovery is largely up to your body, there are actions you can take to help support your recovery, get the most out of your workouts, and even potentially speed up the recovery itself.
Below are some actions you can take to support your performance recovery to allow you to get back to what you love sooner.
Get good sleep
To some people, sleep typically does not meet the top of their priority list for health and wellness. Focusing on their nutrition, food intake, and tracking arm circumference can be constructive, but without sleep they are leaving a lot of potential for progress wasted.
Sleep is a crucial part of your health and is not something that can be cheated without paying some sort of price. Sleep is known to impact your sensation of energy throughout the day, proper hormonal regulation, improvements in mood, as well as improvements in cardiovascular health.
Sleep is also a crucial component to your recovery.
Research suggests that with a decrease in the amount of sleep, there is a diminished ability to recover from a workout or other muscle based recoveries. There is also a large body of research to indicate that a perfect night's sleep is correlated to an increase in performance in athletes.
Recharging through a great night's sleep is one of the best ways that you can help facilitate a speedier recovery and increase the level of performance during your workout or event.
Nutrition is a big part of any fitness journey. For recovery, nutrition focuses on the things that you consume in the time before, during, and after a workout and how your body utilizes this nutrition to rebuild and repair after your workout. As stated previously, workouts place strain on your body and to repair and grow tissues, your cells require the materials to do so.
Some things that should be included in your recovery meal include good sources of protein like fish, clean carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, electrolytes like those found in coconut water, and supplements like MitoQ Heart that support your cardiovascular system through a specialized mix of researched backed ingredients.
While a recovery meal may be a little out of the realm of possibility with your schedule, you can make a quick recovery smoothie that aims to give your body the nutrition it needs following a workout. Nutrition is a key player to recovery and ensuring your body’s cells have all the building blocks they need to repair and grow can allow for a quicker and more efficient recovery.
Support your mitochondria
The mitochondria are termed the powerhouse of the cell and are responsible for converting the chemical energy found across carbon bonds in carbohydrates into the cellularly relevant energy molecule ATP. This extraordinary cellular structure is what carries out cellular respiration and is why we require the oxygen we breathe.
ATP is perhaps one of the most important molecules within a cell. Without it cells would cease to function because ATP is utilized to allow for many processes, chemical reactions, and even movement to occur. Recovery after a workout is incredibly energy intensive and requires all the ATP the recovering cells can get.
Unfortunately a common trend is that mitochondrial efficiency can decrease as you grow older. While there can be many mechanisms at play to explain this, one of the most compelling is that a decreased level of CoQ10 is to blame.
MitoQ is one of the best ways that you can support your mitochondrial CoQ10 levels due to its renowned formula that is able to efficiently be integrated right into the mitochondrial membrane where it is needed.
Supporting your mitochondria through MitoQ is an ideal way to help your recovery. Cells that are dividing, creating new structures, and building upon the body require quite a bit of energy. If the mitochondria are at a reduced efficiency this could slow the process of ATP production and become the rate limiting step to recovery. Taking MitoQ ensures that your mitochondria are supported and that they are given the tools to operate at their most efficient.
Hydration is known to be important in day to day life, but its role in recovery cannot be over stressed. When you workout it is likely that you will lose an immense amount through sweat. This water needs to be replaced for your body to have adequate fluid balance.
Fluids in the body like water are extremely important to life. Water is known as the universal solvent and the human body takes advantage of this trait. Many molecules are able to be dissolved within water and is why blood is made up of nearly 50% water.
Blood plays an important role in recovery as it is the means by which nutrients obtained through the intestines are transferred to the cells of the body that need to recover. It is also responsible for the delivery of oxygen and the removal of CO2 from the cells.
Ensuring you are adequately hydrated is essential in maintaining a healthy blood volume and ensuring your recovering cells have optimal access to nutrients and compounds that are essential in building. Ensuring you are hydrated is an effective way in ensuring your recovery is occurring at the fastest rate possible at a cellular level.
Reducing negative lifestyle habits
Smoking and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol are habits that can have detrimental effects on your recovery. Specifically smoking is detrimental because of its negative health impacts on the cardiovascular system. With a reduced capacity of blood flow, it can be more difficult for cells trying to recover to get the resources that they need.
Quitting these vices is a great way to improve your overall health in addition to improving the rate at which you can recover. There are many programs that can help you quit and it is never too late. Quitting can provide your body with tremendous improvements all the way from recovery to performance.
Compression is the utilization of tight garments that help to support circulation in the body. Typically compression is utilized in the lower leg and foot where a compression shock helps to force blood back up to the heart.
The gentle compression and squeeze provided by compression wear has actually been shown to help speed up recovery times for athletes. Compression wear is available at many retailers and may be a great option if you are looking to decrease your recovery times and spend more time training.
Heat TherapyHeat therapy is the utilization of warmth to increase blood flow. When you get hot you may notice that your skin may become flush. This phenomenon is due to an increase in blood flow to the surface of the skin. The body's natural response to heat is to increase blood flow and because of this, heat therapy can help to promote healing.
Increased blood flow to the regions that were heavily utilized can give these cells better access the blood and nutrients needed within it to recover.
In summary, the process of recovery is quite involved at a cellular level. The cells in the body need to repair themselves in addition to facilitating tissue growth. The synthesis of new proteins, structures, and cells is not a simple task. It requires large amounts of energy, nutrients, and resources to occur.
If you are able to give the cells everything they could ever need, you can effectively ensure recovery is happening at its fastest possible rate.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.