I know, I know, you just finished an Orange Theory workout, your heart rate is up, your fat cells are burning away and the first thing on your mind is to RELAX! Hold that thought! Recovering the wrong way can hurt all of your progress and hard work. More to it, there are a few critical things that you need to do in order to recover from an Orange Theory workout the RIGHT way. Let’s go through them.
Relax But Not Too Much!
Ok, so you’ve finished your Orange Theory workout and now you’re heading back home or wherever you need to be. You’re tired, you feel good and you just want to kick back and relax, maybe even take a nap if you can. Good idea right? Sleep helps you recover, doesn’t it? Yes, but it’s dangerous! Let me explain.
You know that horrible feeling you get when all of your muscles get stiff from exercising? Its called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and it peaks at about 48 hours post workout. Its a bit more scientific and complex to explain exactly how it works (lactic acid build up and other things) but one of the worst things to do is to just sit/lay down and stop moving as a way to relax. Yes, you’re right to take it easy but you want to continue flushing blood into your muscles so that it can transport all of the good stuff (nutrients, protein etc) and flush out the bad stuff (lactic acid etc). This means you should get up, walk around and participate in a light activity. Even just walking around the house, your office or neighborhood is enough. That doesn’t mean taking 10 steps is enough, but about 2-3 minutes at a time should give you enough stimulation to help you recover properly and avoid feeling burnt out.
Now, I know too many it may sound odd. Don’t completely fall flat and go to sleep or chill out? That’s right, keep your activity up (just light stuff) so that those muscles don’t start building up bad stuff which will make you feel stiff, tired and unable to work out the next day or feel optimal!
We covered this in the pre-workout article and we’re doing it again! Sweating is AMAZING for your body in almost every way possible, its fantastic for your skin, your organs and so many other things but you do need to replenish that lost fluid or things can get ugly in a hurry.
You want to start drinking fluids post workout. That doesn’t mean grabbing a sugary drink and chugging it down – that’s usually a bad idea unless you’ve lost a LOT of water. A bit of electrolytes are always good (I like the sugar free ones. You can get a month supply for about $3 at the drug store) but plain good, filtered, water should typically do just fine. Drink at a medium pace and try to take down a liter within 1-2 hours post workout. You’ll want that first 30%-40% of it within 20 minutes as that’s typically when you’re parched. Remember, dehydration is a killer (literally) and it doesn’t just manifest during your exercise periods, it hits you after. Start drinking water and your body will thank you.
Ok, now you can have something to eat. You don’t absolutely need to but its time to dig in. Again, it isn’t time to go on a Taco hunt and start smashing down every type of heavy/greasy food as a “reward” (which makes no sense – see my other articles). But you can blend carbs, protein, and fats right after a workout. If its easier to have a protein shake, go for it! Now’s the time to start feeding your body and replenishing energy levels. Once again, try to avoid anything that’s processed. Stick to fresh foods. Some berries, some protein, and a few greens are the perfect way to recover. Just don’t overdo it. For your stomach’s sake, it’s best to have a small post workout meal/snack than have a larger meal an hour or so later.
Austin and San Antonio friends don’t forget to use the code: OTAmber for your first week free at Orange Theory! Click here for more info.
Orange Theory Sunset Valley
5601 Brodie Ln 1200 B, Sunset Valley, TX 78745