Getting in shape requires die hard commitment in the gym.

Get as deep as you can with every squat, rack the Smith machine and pull those reverse flies until failure. But as tough as working out is, it’s not where you build muscle.

This is because the period of muscle growth happens after you drop the weights and leave the gym. It’s the time when your muscles have suffered micro tears and need to repeat themselves.

Therefore resting is essential to muscle growth.

Injuries such as hamstring tears, pulled muscles and impaired joints can occur if you work out too much without resting.

You can help your body speed up this process by following strict and proper post-workout recovery protocol.

Be wise about what you eat

It’s no secret that what you put into body affects how it will look and its overall performance.

But eating the correct foods at the correct time can help you recover faster and more efficiently. Make sure you’re eating some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates ideally about two hours before your workout; this’ll help you avoid issues such as digestive cramps. The best pre-workout foods, according to Mensfitness, are bananas, oats and wholegrain breads.

In addition to this, you should be ingesting some quality post-workout protein to give your muscles the correct fuel that they need to grow.

Get some quality sleep

As a general rule adults need up to seven hours sleep per night, but this varies depending on the individual.

It’s more than just relaxing; sleep is essential for the body to rest and restore itself so it’s ready to train again.

It’s vital that you not only get an adequate amount of sleep, but that your sleep is of a high quality. To achieve this you want to optimise your sleep environment, ensure that your room is the right temperature, and invest in a high quality, firm but not too firm, heat-regulating mattress.

Memory foam models like these ones are a particularly good option for this. The less you toss and turn your sleep, the more rested you’ll be when you wake up, and the sooner you can get back to slinging iron.

Do some active recovery

While rest is heavily implied in a “rest day”, you can still indulge in some light movement to help stimulate blood flow and circulation around your muscles. A light jog, some outdoor sports, a casual yoga session or some foam rolling are great ways of promoting recovery while keeping active. It shouldn’t be strenuous, just enough to keep your body going during your down time.


This is something is frequently overlooked, especially by those hitting the gym just to gain size. But stretching is very important when it comes to flexibility and muscle pliability. By stretching regularly you’ll acquire a deeper range of motion in your workouts. It’s also a great way to relieve muscle tension and will reduce soreness after a session.

Avoid alcohol

While finishing a workout is worthy of celebration, try to do it without a pint in your hand. One study found that drinking to excess after resistance training can have a pretty severe impact on strength recovery and muscular performance. This means it might actually decrease your performance in future workouts. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a cold one from time to time, just try keep it in moderation.