If you want to add mass to your muscles, the exercises you do are definitely important. However, an often overlooked factor is recovery. It’s important to use methods that will enhance muscle recovery. Taking this step can be just as important as doing exercises to strengthen and build your muscles.

Tip #1: Use a foam roller

Another method to gain muscle faster is to use a foam roller. You might be surprised at the effective of this tool, though it’s definitely a worthwhile tool when your muscles need to recover. The foam roller decreases the tension in your muscles. It helps to eliminate the knots and scar tissue. This keeps your joints from hurting and removes the soreness quicker. Here’s how to use it. Run the foam roller over muscle groups that are sore, for 30-60 seconds each one. Use the roller at least when you wake up and when you go to bed. Then also use it during the day, if you have the chance.

Tip #2: Take a swim

Did you know that swimming involves every major muscle group in your body? Swimming functions as a type of massage, providing slight resistance to the sore muscle areas. Swimming gives them a chance to move and stretch, without requiring them to undergo a major workout. It’s important when you swim to recover muscle faster, not to do a full swimming session. Instead, 15-20 minutes would be ideal. Just do some basic laps, and use strokes that will give your particular sore muscles a light workout. Bonus Tip: If you live near the beach, take a dip there since salt water can do wonders for sore muscles.

Tip #3: Increase your Vitamin C/magnesium intake

These are both effective ways to hasten muscle recovery. Vitamin C is important to restore collagen, which aids in rebuilding muscle tissue that’s broken down during workouts. Consider foods such as citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, and milk as sources of Vitamin C when you’re in the recovery phase.

Magnesium supplements are also helpful in repairing muscles and helping them to grow. The mineral helps to reduce muscle cramps and hastens the recovery process. Consider consuming about 300 mg of magnesium daily. Besides supplements, you can also find high amounts of magnesium in wheat germ buckwheat, almonds, and kelp.

Tip #4: Stretch out the sore muscles

Make sure to do stretches that specifically work the muscles that are sore. This will help to reduce the tension and lower the soreness that you experience during the next day. After doing the stretch, make sure to hold it for at least 10 seconds. Do “shallow” stretches, and then slowly progress to “deep” stretches, with each repetition.

Tip #5: Eat extra protein

Protein is the building block of your muscle tissue. And when your muscles are recovering, you’ll need more of it. Eggs, fish, lean meat, green leafy veggies and beans are all excellent sources of protein. Make sure you’re getting 70-100 grams each day. You should consider adding some type of protein to every meal you eat. The key is to include lean types since fatty proteins can result in health problems.

Tip #6: Drink plenty of fluids during and after your workout

Water is the best option. Other options include smoothies and sports drinks. A surprisingly effective drink after a workout is chocolate milk. The protein of the milk and the antioxidants in the chocolate will help your muscles to recover. Typically we need about 6-8 glasses of water daily. That number should certainly be upped when you’re doing workouts, as you’ll be losing tons of fluids during the workouts.

Tip #7: Get a massage

A quality massage will help your muscles to heal faster, especially via a deep-tissue massage. It will help to work out the knots in your muscles, and reduce the tension. There are many ways to get the massage, such as through a professional therapist, a partner, or even yourself. What’s most important is that the masseuse has the know-how to conduct a quality massage. Otherwise it won’t be very effective, and could also worsen your muscle pain.

Tip #8: Spend some time in a hot tub/sauna

A hot tub can help to speed up muscle recovery. This is by relaxing your muscle tissue and helping you feel ready to start your workouts again soon. A sauna has the same effect, causing your muscles to loosen via heat therapy. Spending an hour or so in a hot tub or sauna can do wonders for your muscles. Besides the muscles, it can also help you to unwind mentally, which will provide many benefits, such as keeping your motivational levels high for your next workout.

Tip #9: Get enough sleep after heavy workouts

This is easily one of the best steps you can take after a workout, to speed up the recovery of your muscles. It’s advisable that you get around eight hours of sleep each night, though you might need even more after a heavy workout. Too often in the hustle and bustle of today’s world, we get half or less of the amount of sleep we should get be getting. When you’re doing workouts the negative effect is worsened because you should actually be getting even more sleep at this time.

Tip #10: Take breaks between workouts

Too often when we’re eager to bulk up during workouts, we fail to give recovery time. This can result in torn muscles which can increase your recovery time and can even result in an injury. Give yourself 1-2 days to recover after a workout. This will do wonders for your muscles, giving them time to recover and expand.

During your recovery period, make sure to add hot/cold compresses to your sore and aching muscles. The cold compress reduces swelling while the hot compress reduces pain. You can still exercise parts of your body that aren’t sore, during your recovery period.

After a heavy workout, the recovery phase is critical for your muscles. The above-mentioned tips will help them to recover quicker, preparing you for your next session.

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