Maximise your recovery from HIIT

If you have recently attended your first HIIT class you will most likely be finding it a little bit difficult to walk down stairs, stand up or lift your arms over your head. That’s totally ok. We’ve all been there. If it was your first class for a while or a little bit too long since you’ve attended one you will most likely be suffering more than most.

This soreness is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and usually lasts 24-72 hours post workout. While this training effect is common it can be reduced. Here are a few tips to help you minimise the DOMS effect.

Firstly Stretch

The best time to do this is immediately after the class while the muscles are still warm. Stretching after exercise helps to flush out the muscles of lactic acid (a waste product built up during exercise). Always stretch your major muscle groups paying extra attention to those used heavily in the workout. Ask your trainer after the class if you need help with stretching techniques for those hard to reach muscle groups. Stretching at night just before you go to bed can also help with reducing the DOMS effect. Exercise does cause the muscles to tighten up and sleep is when the body repairs itself so make sure you stretch before bed and give your muscles the support to repair whilst resting. 

Foam Roll

You will wonder how a small round piece of foam can cause so much pain - but don’t worry it’s a good pain! Using a foam roller to roll out sore muscles can accelerate the recovery process. This technique helps break down waste products and promotes blood flow to help in the recovery process. If you are a regular to high intensity exercise then investing in a foam roller and rolling out at home is a great idea. See your trainer for tips on how to best use a foam roller.

Magnesium 

The magic nutrient that can have incredible effects on muscle recovery. Magnesium can be taken in a number of ways and is available in powder, tablet or as a spray which can be applied directly to muscles and massaged in. If you fear a significant DOMS effect after a big session, an Epsom salts bath will help to raise your magnesium levels and reduce the soreness affects on the body. 

Effective nutrition 

High protein foods will help with the repair of muscle fibres. Protein shakes, Protein bars, Chicken, Fish and Tofu are all good protein source options. Just take note of the sugars in processed proteins - often to make things taste good processed proteins can be quite high in sugar. If you need advice on good protein shakes and bars chat with one of our trainers next time you’re in the studio. 

Sleep 

The ultimate in recovery. A good nights sleep will help balance hormones, assist in body repair and help the body cope with the next days stress. After an exercise session aim for a decent 7-8 hour sleep. Hot tip - To ensure your body is ready for sleep, try and avoid screens an hour before you hit they hay. Seeing a bright screen affects your bodies melatonin production which is the hormone which assists the body to sleep. By doing this simple tip you’ll notice your sleep will be a lot better and you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed. 

Finally, while suffering DOMS, it is fine to continue exercising, just balance out high intensity with low intensity or try a low impact yoga class to aid in recovery. Don’t push yourself too much and ensure you let your trainer know where you’re feeling the after effects so they can alter exercises for you.