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Feel the Maintenance: Workout Recovery

When following an exercise routine, whether strength training or cardio, rest and recovery are just as important as the workout itself. After pushing yourself to the max, your body needs...

When following an exercise routine, whether strength training or cardio, rest and recovery are just as important as the workout itself. After pushing yourself to the max, your body needs a good break to enjoy the benefits of all that work.

Many of us know the temptation of retiring to the couch to watch our favorite TV series or to take a nap after going on a long run. We’re hungry enough to make it to the kitchen for a bite to eat, but we don’t bother grabbing a glass of water or our new foam roller. 

It isn’t all that appealing to add any extra work toward the end of a tough workout. Unfortunately, this often means experiencing soreness later that could very well have been avoided! 

Treat your body right by dedicating a little extra time after each workout to take the necessary steps for proper recovery. Read on for our best advice on how to do so!

How Do I Recover From a Workout?

At the root of every post-exercise routine is a set of go-to habits that will set you up for success. Here are our three essentials for recovery time:

Drink Water

Working out means your body is losing water, so getting back from the gym or a jog means it’s time to replenish those fluids. Research suggests that we each need somewhere between 11 and 16 cups of water each day, and that number only goes up when you’re exercising.

Here are some prime times to drink water and work toward your hydration goal:

  • During meals
  • Before and after exercise
  • When you are thirsty — cold water always hits the spot!

Consider investing in a reusable water bottle that can stay with you throughout the day. It is a sustainable option and makes it all the more convenient to be continually hydrating. And if you struggle to drink water, try an electrolyte powder in your water. The options are endless!

Eat a Balanced Diet

The nutrients from the food you eat are a key component of your post-workout recovery techniques. Remembering to make your plate colorful at each meal is a great way to ensure you maintain a balanced diet. And don’t believe the hype about cutting out entire food groups — we see you, carb-haters!

A few foods groups to include on your post-workout place include:

  • Proteins — think eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, and beans
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains — healthy carbohydrates such as oats, quinoa, and rye
  • Fats and oils — like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds

Not only do you lose body water during exercise, but you burn through your energy sources too. Food is the main way to build that energy back up. Don’t hesitate to fill your plate after a hard workout and dig in!

Sleep a Lot

Besides what you put into your body, you’ve got to get some sleep. Being rested before your training session can help you stay focused and safe while running, doing resistance training, doing strength training, doing squats, or whatever program you follow. 

In addition, once you’ve expended all that energy, sleep gives your mind and body a chance to recharge. The recommended amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours without interruptions. 

While there are several steps you can take, sometimes a good night’s sleep is the optimal remedy for those after-exercise aches and pains. If you struggle to get your beauty sleep, consider using the melatonin patch for a little assistance.

Add Some Self-Care 

Now that you’re hydrated, fueled up, and well-rested, you can move on to self-care that will soothe your body. We know self-care looks different for everyone, but we’ve still put together a few tips to get you started. 

Rest Your Body

Don’t overdo it! For your workout to serve you well, it is important to take breaks. This means a day off without little to no moderate to intense exercise. 

Sometimes you may need a few rest days in a row if you are especially feeling the effects of muscle soreness from strenuous activities or if you’ve been overtraining. As tempting as it can be to get back to the gym, hammer it into your mind that rest is part of your fitness journey, not just a day off.


Too often overlooked, stretching before and after a workout can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Stretching can help keep our bodies strong, flexible, and range of motion — all necessary characteristics for successful exercise. 

Doing your best to stretch each day can have amazing benefits for your body. This light active recovery can help your body prepare for tomorrow’s workout. 

Go for a Massage

Whether you took a long hike in the mountains or you just finished a swim meet, a massage is always a great way to treat any minor aches and soreness, promote good blood flow, and chill you out. 

Find a masseuse or physical therapist you like and let them get to work. By going consistently for massages, you can create a trusting relationship with a professional who will know exactly what you need to recover best from your type of training program.

And we get it; not everyone can get a massage! Try foam rolling at home or putting your weight into a lacrosse ball for an at-home massage option — cheap and impressively deep massage in the comfort of your own home!

Try elevating your massages with the pain relief patch for the greatest effects. 

Compression Clothing

Compression garments are quite the trend these days among those in the athletic community. Tight-fitting clothes that cover your arms, legs, or torso can help keep you warm and may even offer benefits to recovery. 

One study found that compression clothes may actually speed up the recovery process.

Take a Bath

While we want to suggest a hot bath full of amazing aromatherapy Epsom salts (and actually, we do recommend it), consider an ice bath. While not the most comfortable, an ice bath can support all of that good recovery your body is trying to accomplish. 

Even a cold shower can help! It’s probably not the cool-down you were expecting, but it can do wonders. 

Treat Yourself

Celebrate the small wins! Each day you complete your workout routine is an accomplishment, and you should treat it that way. Life gets busy, so reward yourself for fitting exercise into the equation.

Find a little something that makes you happy and work it into your day. For some, that’s a smoothie from their favorite cafe or maybe some free time with a good book and a cup of tea. 

This will turn your workout from a chore to something you can’t wait to do again tomorrow!


Exercising should be fun and rewarding, and that can start with what you do after. Now that you have all the necessary tools, it’s time to get in the habit of letting your body bounce back. 

Make recovery a priority so that you always wake after a workout feeling your absolute best for the day or your next workout. 

If you’re still looking for a few more tips or some more ways to treat yourself, come check out what we’ve got going on at The Good Patch!


Effects of Compression Tights on Recovery Parameters after Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Study | PMC

How Much Sleep Do I Need? | CDC

Balanced Diets: Calories, Foods to Eat and Avoid, and More | WebMD

Water: How much should you drink every day? | Mayo Clinic


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