Muscle recovery: how to speed it up and what helps

After a workout, your muscles have to recover. We’ve all woken up the day after a particularly intense training session and felt tension in muscles we never knew existed. Muscle recovery can be uncomfortable and get in the way of your future workout plans and goals, but the good news is that there are numerous ways to support muscle recovery.

Woman doing yoga by pool

In order to figure out how to help muscle recovery, you first need to understand what happens during muscle recovery and the types of recovery that you can do. When aiding your muscle recovery you can complete lifestyle modifications, develop new health behaviors and take supplements to enhance the experience.

What happens during muscle recovery?

During exercise or sports your muscles are creating micro tears in the muscle fibers. As you could imagine, this can be physically painful and is part of the reason you feel the sensations you do when working your muscles. But it’s the recovery from these tears which is where the real magic happens. As new muscle fibers bridge the gap from the micro tears, your muscles are slowly growing stronger and larger.

Another process that occurs during a workout is an increased demand for oxygen. Since your muscles are working so hard, they need more oxygen than usual. The problem can occur when your muscles do not have the adequate supply of oxygen and use an alternative anaerobic pathway for creating energy called metabolic acidosis. A byproduct of this process is lactic acid which is acidic and can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. Keep these two processes in mind when considering how to help muscle recovery.

Types of recovery

Recovery is not a one size fits all activity or lack of activity. There are two types of recovery, passive and active.

Passive recovery is where there is a complete relaxation of the body by not completing any exercise during your rest periods. Some people use this time to not only let their bodies rest, but also their mind. Passive forms of exercise are often great for those who are not fitness aficionados. As a new fitness comer, it may be wise to take a passive recovery approach as to not overwhelm yourself with too many commitments and allow your body to heal before continuing exercise.

Active recovery is the use of light-moderate exercise on days in between intense exercise. The idea is that the body is never stagnant and can even use the power of the body’s motion and activity to help in the recovery practice. For example, a light walk or jog, yoga, or a fun game of volleyball are all great activities for an active recovery.

Whichever form of recovery you utilize, the following muscle recovery tips are applicable.


Diet is essential for living a healthy life in general, but it needs to be paid attention to, especially in the case of exercise. Exercise puts a high demand on your body, so you need to provide it with the necessary building blocks it needs to build new muscles and provide your body with enough energy to get the job done.

Depending on your type of exercise, your diet and nutritional needs may differ but the basics are the same. You will want a balanced diet with all food groups but pay close attention to protein and carbohydrates.

Protein is important for providing your body the ability to rebuild the muscle fibers after they have been stressed. Protein comes from sources such as beef, pork, chicken, and legumes. Carbohydrates are valuable in giving your body energy to carry out exercises. Great carbohydrate sources include whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

+ Discover more ways to effectively fuel your training and recovery

Various types of massage

Ever heard of an Olympic athlete having a personal masseuse? There is a good reason for this. Massage can reduce muscle soreness and swelling in the muscles. Massage can happen in a variety of different ways.

A massage from a masseuse, pressure therapy gun, and foam rollers are all helpful ways to get the same effect. Depending on your lifestyle and desire to invest in massage, each option is helpful for different circumstances. Massage can also provide a therapeutic experience to clear your mind and relax by focusing on the sensations.


Even if you decide to utilize active recovery it is still so important to take time to truly rest. Rest can be sleeping, watching your favorite show on the sofa, or even lounging out by the pool. Without resting your body will not have enough energy to sustain your activities of daily living.

Try to find time to get those extra hours or even minutes of sleep or rest to help your recovery.


Supplements are just that - a supplement to your existing diet and other health routines. Supplements can be incredibly helpful to get exactly the substance you need to help reach your goals.

For example, instead of having to eat pounds of spinach for iron, you could take an iron supplement instead to make it easier.

It should be advised that while many supplements are available over the counter, it is important to consult with your doctor to ensure a supplement will be safe and effective for you. Supplements can interact with each other or with other pharmaceuticals, so you need to make sure they will not interact or affect any pre-existing health conditions.


CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for muscle recovery. As you know, muscle recovery can cause inflammation and also increases the demand for energy. Coenzyme Q10 works inside of the mitochondria to produce ATP or the usable form of energy for your body. By doing so your muscles are able to work more efficiently and have increased endurance which is important for recovery and reducing fatigue caused by strenuous workouts.

CoQ10 also works as an antioxidant to help remove free radicals from the body that could cause cell damage to the cell and prevent it from functioning at maximum capacity.

+ What is cell stress?

But wait, there’s more. If you are considering adding CoQ10 to your recovery regime, discover MitoQ. MitoQ is an enhanced CoQ10 that has been made smaller and given a positive charge so it can be absorbed into the mitochondria (where energy is made), which it does up to 1,000 times more effectively than regular CoQ10.

MitoQ is a world-first, mitochondria-rejuvenating form of CoQ10 that can help balance CoQ10 levels.

Overall, MitoQ is an excellent supplement to enhance not only your workout and recovery, but for enhancing and supporting your health and wellness as a whole.

+ Learn more about the difference between MitoQ and CoQ10


Creatine or creatine kinase is an amino acid that is helpful to build muscles during recovery. Creatine can help to rebuild the muscles by providing necessary amino acids to build the proteins in the muscles. Creatine has the added benefit of providing energy to the cells to sustain your workout and reduce fatigue.

Creatine often comes in a powder to mix with your workout drink but can also come in a pill form. This is a supplement that may take some time to see effects, but over time your muscles will be working smarter not harder.


Protein was touched on before, but protein can also be taken as a supplement. Many people take protein or whey protein as an easy way to get the necessary amounts of protein. Protein powder is often mixed into drinks or shakes as a fun way to get in your protein. Protein comes in many forms including those from plant and animal sources. Vegetarians or vegans may find protein powder a great way to supplement their protein intake for fitness. Protein helps to rebuild your muscles while increasing strength and size.

Recovery after a workout is an important part of your fitness routine. A painful and long recovery should not get in the way of what you want to do. No matter how you decide to implement recovery into your routine, you can use some of these tips to mitigate the negative side effects. The quicker you recover, the quicker you can get back on the saddle and get back to doing what you love.

Consider these lifestyle and supplement modifications to enhance your life and take control of your body. After all of your hard work exercising, you deserve a comfortable and quick recovery process.

Discover MitoQ

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