I normally do not focus a lot on muscle recovery on my own biohacking journey, as I typically do not exercise hard enough to have really sore muscles (although I do intend to exercise more intensely at some point in the future, but have been trying to take things one biohacking goal at a time, and my diet needs more attention at the moment). However, on a recent trip to Amsterdam (also our honeymoon), Jonathan and I cycled for an average total of four hours per day.
Obviously, I utilised my Fitbit, which I still find exciting as someone who loves biohacking and tracking everything I can. I also wanted to see how many calories I burned every day, which was around 3000 calories a day. On a typical day back home, I average between 1800 and 2000 calories a day.
After three days, I could feel that my muscles needed to recover and refuel properly. I added some carbohydrates to my normally low-carb diet, but I only did it to replenish the depleted glycogen stores in my muscles, so I did not go overboard. My carbohydrates of choice were bananas, greek yogurt, and gluten-free stroopwafels. When in Holland, one simply must try a stroopwafel, or at least that is what my inner food addict told me. I actually ended up having a stroopwafel every day.
We chose the gluten-free stroopwafels at least and ate them after cycling, so that our muscles could absorb the glucose from them. It seems that I have become distracted while daydreaming about our trip to Amsterdam. I think I lost a big part of my heart there. It was so much fun cycling everywhere, which really made my muscles work more than they had in years. I am usually quite a lazy person.
Back to the article. Here are a few biohacking tips on how you can help aid muscle recovery after working out, so you can feel like a superhuman more often:
Refuel Your Body Properly, Even With Your Own Fat
When you exercise at a certain intensity, you will deplete your glycogen stores, burn quite a few calories, and if doing strength or resistance training, create tears in your muscle fibres. All of these lead to your body needing enough nutrients in order for it to recover properly.
If you are trying to lose fat, some of your fat could be used for fuel after your workout. To make up for the calorie deficit, you can wait for an hour or more after working out and let your body use your fat for energy first.
If your main goal, for now, is to gain muscle, then you might want to eat soon after your workout, and ideally, have 30g to 40g of protein within 30 minutes of the workout ending.
Make sure that you eat at least 1g of protein per kilogramme of body weight in order to maintain your muscle mass (as muscles often get broken down during long periods of exercise) and provide enough amino acids, which are found in protein, and are needed for muscle and cell repair.
Remember That Exercise is a Form of Stress. So, Balance it Out
Exercise is a type of stress on the body, but it is a beneficial type of stress (also known as hermetic stress). And you do not want to overload the body with even more stress, so try to take some time to relax and bring your cortisol levels down after exercising.
You can wind down with a gentle walk, stretching, meditating, a warm bath, etc. Have a cup of coffee with a friend (which is a brilliant idea, as coffee can help reduce post-workout soreness).
You must try not to put more stress on the body, which you can easily do through not resting enough, training intensely when your muscles are still fatigued, and overdoing it on the antioxidants after exercise. This includes antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, so try not to take high amounts after exercising.
Magnesium is Key When Biohacking Muscle Recovery
Magnesium can help greatly in preventing muscle cramps, reducing cortisol, and helping to build healthy mitochondria, which are necessary for energy production. Most biohacking enthusiasts know how crucial magnesium is for your overall health, especially when you exercise often.
You can supplement with magnesium or Epsom salts, take Epsom salt baths, and eat foods that are high in magnesium, such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.
Get Some More Sleep
Sleep is not only the best way to give your body some needed rest in order to recover properly, but your human growth hormone (HGH) levels also increase while sleeping, and HGH is very important for muscle building, repair, and recovery.
The more you sleep and the better the quality of your sleep, the more you can increase HGH levels.
Boost Human Growth Hormone Levels With More Biohacking Tips
One of the easiest biohacking tips to follow is to take time in between hard workouts to allow your muscles to recover.
Try not to work the same muscle group two days in a row, and if the workout was more intense, perhaps allow two days to a week for your muscles to fully recover.
If you overtrain, then you might have to take weeks to recover and will receive worse results in the long run.
The resting principle also applies to your workouts. Resting between sets can also greatly help with muscle recovery and help prevent injury and overtraining.
Muscle recovery is essential when trying to become superhuman and when biohacking your way to optimal physical performance. Make it a focus in your fitness journey, and you will not only experience less muscle soreness, but you will also help prevent overtraining, refuel your muscles properly, reduce your chances of injury, and even see better results over time.