You lose out on fitness gains if you don’t prioritize recovery. Photo by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash Foam roller, massage gun, compression boots, cryo membership — you have it all. You’re royalty when it comes to workout recovery. Have you ever wondered how well those things actually work, though? Even the fanciest tools may not have the profound effect you think they do. Here’s a look at what does and doesn’t help you recover from workouts. What might work Massage and percussive therapy Massage therapy is backed by a rather impressive body of evidence, but studies on massage as it relates specifically to workout recovery is limited. Percussive therapy is a newcomer to the muscle recovery arena, but the available science shows promising results. Both massage and percussive therapy work by manipulating your fascia and, if deep enough, your muscle tissue, which can work out kinks that cause soreness. Percussive therapy devices, such as the HyperVolt, may help with sore, knotty muscles. Cryotherapy Cryotherapy is nothing new (hello, ice baths after practice), but whole-body cryotherapy — the trendy kind where you sit in a below-freezing chamber of nitrogen — is relatively novel. The concept behind cryotherapy makes sense: Muscles become inflamed after exercise, and cold reduces inflammation. However, some research shows that the age-old ice bath is at least as effective as that cryotherapy chamber session… Compression therapy Health professionals have long used compression to treat pain and speed up healing of inflammatory injuries. When it comes to muscle recovery, compression therapy (a la NormaTec) might help because it can increase blood flow to specific parts of your body, thereby increasing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to taxed muscle fibers. Compression boots like the popular NormaTec ones may facilitate better recovery. Far-infrared therapy Surprisingly, this one actually has some solid science to back it up. Far-infrared therapy, which works by transferring energy as heat into deep layers of body tissue, may stimulate your body’s healing processes and help speed up muscle recovery. Who’d’ve thought? (Besides scientists). Stretching Surprise! While most people are aware that stretching can have immediate effects on the way you feel, science doesn’t necessarily support stretching as a bona fide workout recovery tactic. Evidence is conflicting at best, but that doesn’t mean you should swear off stretching. Your own anecdotal evidence is worth following in this case — if stretching makes you feel better and improves your recovery, then stretch. Stretching may not support muscle recovery specifically, but that doesn’t mean it won’t help in other ways, like mobility. Foam rolling Surprise again. Foam rolling may not be the fitness cure-all you thought it was. Like stretching studies, foam rolling studies present conflicting evidence: Some studies say rolling relieves soreness, while others say it doesn’t. Some research even suggests foam rolling is better for warming up than for cooling down. But, again, don’t discount your own experience. If you think foam rolling helps you recover, definitely keep it in your routine. What we know works Post-workout nutrition Protein: Ya need it. Carbs will help, too. Your body is equipped with everything it needs to do its job -- repair your muscles. Studies show that post-workout nutrition is a significant controllable variable in the muscle recovery process, so don’t neglect your post-lift protein shake. Balanced meals go a long way. Photo by Logan Jeffrey on Unsplash Sleep Those six hours you get each night won’t cut it if you want to maximize muscle recovery. Research points to a clear link between sleep and whole-body regeneration, from hormone and metabolism regulation to — yep, you guessed it — muscle recovery. So, don’t feel bad about hitting snooze tomorrow. Water As always, water comes in clutch. Your body must maintain fluid balance to function optimally, and dehydration can impair the recovery process. The bottom line Workout recovery is about the fundamentals: mobility, hydration, nutrition, and sleep! If you’d like to learn more about post-workout recovery, talk to a personal trainer at your nearest World Gym.
Do these three things to get fit fast. We’re going to let you in on a little secret: You can’t cheat fitness. Fitness takes time. Building muscle, losing fat, and improving your health markers might be the toughest endeavors you ever commit to, but you can avoid unnecessary frustration by knowing exactly what workouts to do to get fit as fast as possible. World Gym doesn’t encourage quick fixes, fad diets, or any workout plans that promise fast-tracked results. World Gym stands by science, and there’s just no changing the fact that fitness doesn’t happen overnight. That said, here are three tricks of the trade to help you maximize your results. High-Intensity Interval Training HIIT burns more calories in less time than other types of workouts. The science doesn’t lie: Study after study has shown that HIIT produces the same health benefits as other types of exercise, such as aerobic cardio and resistance training, in less time. AKA, HIIT gives you the most bang for your gym buck. While World Gym doesn’t necessarily recommend you stack your workout routine with only HIIT workouts, if you are short on time and want to get fit fast, a few HIIT sessions each week will lead you to your goal most efficiently. High-Volume Resistance Training Do more reps for improved fitness. Strength training is integral to overall health and fitness, and any range of sets and reps provides benefits. However, research suggests that volume impacts your returns more than any other factor, including weight. Studies have shown that high-volume resistance training increases muscle hypertrophy more than low-volume strength training. So, if your goal is to get fit as fast as possible, tailor your routine to include higher rep ranges with moderate weights rather than trying to hit a one-rep max every time you enter the weight room. Consistency, Frequency, and Simplicity Group fitness, like our World Gym Athletics classes, can help you stay consistent. Like we said before, World Gym doesn’t support quick fixes. No matter what type of exercise you choose, consistency and frequency are key. Your ability to stick to a routine and show up, session after session, dictates how fast you get fit (and how long you stay fit). Simplicity is key — because studies show that people are more likely to stick to a simple, achievable fitness program rather than a program that requires you to do too much, too fast. Despite what you may see on your Instagram feed, you don’t need to incorporate the newest, craziest exercises into your routine. Whether you choose HIIT or resistance training to propel you to your goals, the basics — functional compound movements like squats — always win (especially for new exercisers). A Workout Routine to Get Fit Fast Taking what you just learned about HIIT and high-volume resistance training, plus the known health benefits of low-intensity exercise and mobility work, try one of these workout routines to get fit fast. If you can work out every day: Monday: HIIT Tuesday: Resistance training Wednesday: Mobility or yoga flow for recovery Thursday: Low-intensity, steady-state cardio for recovery Friday: Resistance training Saturday: HIIT Sunday: Low-intensity, steady-state cardio for recovery If you can work out three times per week: Monday: HIIT Wednesday: Resistance training Friday: HIIT Go for a walk or do mobility work on non-gym days. Not sure where to start? Visit a World Gym near you and see how a qualified personal trainer can help. Want help building a workout routine outside the gym? World Gym Anywhere has hundreds of on-demand workouts including strength, cardio, HIIT, recovery, skills and express (20 minutes or less) workouts. Head to the website for pricing, support, and more details.