Top Tips for Maximising Post Workout Recovery

Whether you lean towards weight training or working on your cardio, the work that you do away from the gym is just as important as when you are there, with many coaches and trainers even believing the importance of recovery exceeds the training itself. With that in mind, here are some top tips for maximizing your post-workout recovery.

Top Tips for Maximising Post Workout Recovery


You are what you eat, so the saying goes. Correctly fuelling the body at appropriate times is essential where recovery is concerned. Aim to fuel it with energy prior to exercising and ingesting correct food and supplements afterwards. Energy and carbohydrate-rich foods like bananas, oranges, oats, whole grain rice and pasta aid in boosting the body during exercise while also providing much needed electrolytes and vitamin C.  Following up with protein-rich foods like lean mince, egg whites, and non-fat milk along with supplements like protein shakes and vitamins help damaged muscle cells heal more efficiently and promote muscle growth.


In our modern non-stop world sleep can often be the first casualty as we try to maximise what we fit into a day, however, depriving your body of this has significant negative effects on recovery. Anabolic (muscle-building) hormone concentrations and activity increase during sleep while catabolic (muscle-wasting) hormone concentrations and activity decrease. Use a sleep monitor to effectively track whether you are getting enough rest to fully recover. Along with your nightly block of 8 hours sleep, try fitting in a post-workout nap if possible. Napping 2 hours after a workout makes the body enter deep, restorative states of sleep, prime time for the body to undergo protein synthesis and recover quickly for your next workout.


Stretching is usually the first stage of exercise to be dropped when looking for shortcuts, however, along with muscle building, it is perhaps the most underrated aspect of your body's recovery. Stretching helps develop a fuller range of motion, allowing you to reap more benefits from each exercise, whilst increasing blood flow and nutrients to your muscles and cartilage. During exercise, your body generates lactate to enable glucose breakdown, and in the process lactate levels then build up within the muscle. Stretching after working out can reduce these levels reducing post weight lifting 'burn' and aiding flexibility for cardio exercises. Massaging reduces muscle stiffness, promote circulation and helps to induce a state of relaxation in the muscle.

Downtime/Active Recovery

Exercise is an addictive pursuit bringing with it an aversion to taking downtime, being wrongly perceived as wasted time or even laziness. Just as sleep is essential to recovery, knowing your body's limits and when to allow it extended rest periods is of equal importance. Rest days should be just that, complete rest, however, you can utilise 'active recovery' should your feet get too itchy to take too many full rest days. Active recovery involves low intensity, shorter routines designed to ease joint movement and increase blood flow and metabolism.


Stress is an enemy of your body's recovery. Psychological stress negatively affects the nervous system and musculature. It also affects the immune system which is obviously an important factor when muscles are healing. Obvious areas you can address, like a healthy work/life balance and reducing stress by getting in touch with nature more and spending less time on the internet are facets of your life you can affect for the betterment of yourself and the stresses that affect it.

Meditation is again, another thing you can add to increase your well-being. It helps to reduce cortisol levels whilst increasing oxygen flow, lowering your heart rate whilst increasing serotonin and other naturally occurring chemicals that increase our well-being and state of mind, all whilst aiding our body's recovery from the last workout and preparation for the next.

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