Having a little bit of muscle soreness after an intense workout is like a personal badge of honor, but it’s important to remember that the achiness means your muscles are recovering. Stay in tune with your body and give it a break when it needs one.
Recovery days are a critical part of boxing and kickboxing training. You need to give your body all the tools it needs to repair itself and transform. An intense workout creates microtears in the muscle tissue which, over time, heal to create stronger muscles. To help this process, fighters can take some basic steps to support muscle recovery.
Five (5) Ways To Help Your Muscles Recover
1. Warm-Up & Cool Down
It’s important to take the time to properly warm up your muscles before jumping into an intense workout – and cool them down afterward.
But, don’t ever skip your post-workout cool down routine either. A solid cool down session should be around 10 minutes and consist of light movement with plenty of static stretching. Cooling down after training will reduce inflammation which leads to soreness.
2. Recovery Workouts
Stretching isn’t just for pre and post-workout. Recovery workouts consist of low-intensity exercises like stretching that can be done anytime, especially on your rest days when you are feeling a bit achy.
Remember, rest days don’t mean you are completely sedentary. Your body still needs to move, just gently. Active rest days can include activities like walking, swimming, foam rolling, and yoga, which are all ideal for boxing training.
3. Nourishment and Hydration
The importance of good nutrition and hydration cannot be overstated. Keeping your body properly hydrated before, during, and after a workout is an essential part of muscle recovery.
Equally important is the fuel you’re feeding those muscles. A boxer’s diet consists of nutrient-dense, clean foods that offer a perfect balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein. Most importantly for muscle soreness, a fighter’s meal plan includes plenty of anti-inflammatory foods that reduce the root cause of many body aches and pains.
Timing matters, too. Before a workout, you’ll want more complex carbohydrates to power your training session, while afterward, you need more protein to rebuild muscle tissue. FightCamp has a wealth of nutritional guides and resources on how to adapt your eating habits to maximize your training and your health.
During sleep, your body does most of its healing. While individual sleep needs vary, most adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
It might not be easy to stick to a solid sleep schedule, but practicing good sleep hygiene makes it easier to develop better (and healthier) habits. Proper sleep hygiene includes maintaining consistent sleep and wake times, keeping your bedroom cool and quiet, and putting away your electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
5. Cold Immersion Therapy (Ice Baths)
Cold does wonders for inflammation. In the same way that a cold compress can reduce swelling on an injured area, ice baths are popular post-workout therapy for athletes and are a unique way to speed up the recovery process for the whole body.
Ice baths can reduce swelling, stimulate the central nervous system, and relieve achiness. FightCamp Trainers Flo Master, Aaron Swenson, and Coach PJ explored some of the benefits of ice baths and took the plunge themselves.
If you don’t have access to enough ice or a bathtub to put it in, a cold shower can have many of the same benefits for muscle recovery.
Train Smarter With Support
Muscle recovery is a major part of boxing and kickboxing training. A fighter’s path to peak fitness includes a balanced diet, ample rest, and general lifestyle changes to maximize training efficacy and overall health.
Are you ready to make the move in your training recovery and health and train like a fighter? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.