Muscle Recovery: 8 Ways to Recover Faster and Get Back to Training

muscle recovery There is simply no denying how tough training for MMA is. From rolling on the mats, to Muay Thai, to wrestling practise and weight training, we are putting huge stresses on the body. Pushing yourself is required to stimulate the body into growth, whether this is for technique or muscle mass the same is true.

The truth is though. Growth can’t happen without proper muscle recovery.

Partial recovery leads to partial growth. This in turn leads to poor performance and eventually over training, something no-one wants. Everyone wants to get back to the gym faster. By following the eight tips below, you’ll be back in no time feeling fresher and stronger than ever.

Getting Good Sleep

This seems pretty obvious right. Well, it’s still very common for people to get less than 6 hours a night.

On average everyone should shoot for a minimum of seven hours of quality sleep a night. People who train frequently will need more, somewhere around nine hours. Sleeping is an amazing act. When asleep the body not only recharges but repairs. It does this by releasing growth hormones that are responsible for tissue growth.

Sleeping too little has a huge number of negative effects on the body. These can range from loss of muscle mass to low testosterone levels. These are both things you don’t want when you step into the gym.

Eating Right

Again something that should be obvious. But, just by looking at the general public we can see something is a miss. Nutrition dictates how the body looks, feels and acts. When training, what you eat really dictates how well you perform. All exercise uses energy stored in the body, you need to refuel for our body to recover optimally.

The important thing to remember is that exercise breaks down muscle tissues. Muscle recovery takes time to repair and grow. This is directly related to the foods you choose to refuel with. Look for nutrition dense, quality carbohydrates and proteins after a hard workout.

Active Rest

While the notion of active may sound counter intuitive to rest, it can be very beneficial. Light movements like a walk, bike or swim are perfect for improving circulation, “loosening up” and removing waste from the muscles , aiding in quicker muscle recovery. These active rests are not meant to raise your heart rate, tire or work the muscles, but rather get them moving. Sitting or lying still when you are riddled with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is not going to help.

Get Stretching

While stretching isn’t too glamorous, it really is a must, especially for mixed martial artists. Stretching not only improves every aspect of your game, it also is an excellent way to relieve tension in the muscles and joints. Every mixed martial artist should be performing some sort of yoga. This will help with stretching, breathing, relaxing and fit perfectly with your grappling game.

Start Rolling

Not in the ground game sense, but rather foam rolling. Foam rolling works hand in hand with stretching and should be taken just as seriously. A lot of the soreness you feel in the body after tough training is due to small knots forming in the muscles and connective tissues through out the body. By using a foam roller or something similar, you can perform self-myofascial release.

Check out the video below for a short, simple routine that will work wonders.

Train Regularly

This is probably fairly redundant when writing for mixed martial artists however, it’s worth a mention. Weekend warriors will feel this the most. Recover times are exponentially higher when your body is shocked at the stress you are putting it under after so many days of inactivity. By keeping training consistent, your body finds the stresses more manageable and adapts accordingly.

Cut Back on the Ale

Muscle recovery While there is nothing wrong with a few drinks every now and then. Too much is damaging. While this may seem fairly obvious, it still happens. When alcohol is consumed, the body takes priority getting it out of the system. This in turn means the waste in the muscles from exercise and training takes a back seat and remains there. This coupled with the excess consumption of calories leads to poor performance, poor muscle recovery and excessive weight gain.

Have a Cold Dip

Ice baths are used by a lot of athletes and they will swear by it. The reasoning behind it is that by constricting and dilating blood vessels, waste products are flushed out of the tissues. Sound reasoning, but not everyone will have access to an ice bath.

Best bet is during your post exercise shower, use contrast water therapy. This works the blood vessels in the same manner and is a little more forgiving than diving into a bath of ice. To use contrast water therapy, alternate 2 minutes of hot water with 30-45 seconds of the coldest water you can handle.

Repeat this for up to 5 minutes. While this may feel horrible, it’s nice to remind yourself that it is preventing muscle soreness the next day. If that’s not enough, studies have also shown that this kind of alternating heat shower can help with fat loss.

Muscle Recovery Closing Thoughts

There you have it. Eight easy to implement ways to help recover quicker from hard training. While the above all definitely worth implementing it’s worth noting that you should always listen to your body. If you keep getting niggling injuries or are feeling tired and low constantly, it may be signs of over training.

Your body knows what it needs. It’s just a case of listening to it.

Phil.