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A killer sweat session is good for the mind, body, and soul, but not without a recovery plan. From taking a fitness class on the MINDBODY app to finishing your daily run, it's so important to not only care for your muscles, but your well-being as a whole.
Whether it's snacking right or making time for that *oh-so-good* stretch, we've got five easy tips to help you successfully recover and get your body back to the workout grind.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but whether you just completed a strenuous bootcamp or rejuvenating yoga class, it’s important to replace the fluids lost during exercise. Make it a goal to consume at least two liters of water per day. Tack on a bottle refill (or two) if your workout had you really sweating.
Pro Tip: Grab a few organic mint leaves, slice up some citrus and add them to your water for a thirst-quenching treat.
Light stretching before and after your workout can help facilitate quick muscle recovery by reducing lactic acid build-up and improving circulation. Stretching is proven to help your range of motion and flexibility in addition to improving your performance in the long run. Try these simple movements, holding each for one minute:
Pro Tip: Take stretching seriously! Commit to making it a part of your workout routine every time.
Foam rolling is a great way to speed up recovery and can ease soreness by breaking up tight knots of tissue and enhancing blood flow. Experiencing discomfort is part of the process, and does your body good—however, if you’re experiencing sharp, unexpected pain, pause and speak with your doctor before continuing.
Pro Tip: Looking to release tension in a targeted spot? Try a roller ball. Rubber, lacrosse-style balls can get into those tight areas where you need centralized, deep tissue relief.
Juices, smoothies and nutritional supplements are all post-workout ways to assist in your body’s recovery. It’s crucial to get a mix of protein and carbs into your system fast, ideally within 20 minutes of completing your workout. Determine what your body needs—maybe it’s watermelon juice’s soothing effect that helps get more oxygen to muscles, or pomegranate juice’s antioxidant-packed ingredients that decrease muscle soreness (specifically in your arms).
Pro Tip: Looking to pick a protein powder that benefits your specific workout plan? True Nutrition offers the ability to customize your powder and flavor through easy-to-use tools and a helpful support staff.
Reach for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as hemp, flax seeds and chia. Nuts and blueberries are also great sources to help these fatty acids speed up recovery and reduce inflammation. Check out this article for more snack ideas.
Pro Tip: Plan ahead and buy from the bulk section at your local health food store. Create portioned bags with an omega-3 “trail mix” so you can snack healthy on the go.
Athletes are more likely to be exposed to heat, friction, oils and sweat. Used gym mats are a key offender of holding onto oils, which can lead to acne issues. Take good care of your skin by cleansing heat rash and turf burn, washing areas prone to breakouts after every session and moisturizing.
Pro Tip: Keep facial wipes in your gym bag so you can do a quick cleanse before (and after) your workout.
Prevent inflammation in worn-out muscles by booking a 30-minute to 1-hour massage after an intense workout. If you can't swing an afternoon at the spa, circle back to your foam roller and incorporate a foot massager into the mix. Regular foot massages can decrease the risk of injury.
Pro Tip: Rub marjoram essential oil on sensitive spots for added relief and relaxation.
For the final piece to your post-workout puzzle, mix Epsom salt into your hot bath. The salt’s minerals will be quickly absorbed through the skin, alleviating muscle pain and inflammation when combined with hot water. Though it’s not long-lasting relief, this remedy is almost instant.
Pro Tip: Post-bath, rub coconut oil onto damp skin for a soothing, smoothing and moisturizing effect.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.