Naturally, your body needs time to repair, rebuild and strengthen itself between workouts as your body can only tolerate so much. This is why in training programs there designated ‘rest’ days in order to allow your body to process what has just happened and to recover.
Particularly if you’re new to exercising please take it easy as it’s crucial that you allow your body to adapt to these new demands your placing on your body. My biggest advice is to listen to your body. Naturally your body is going to be feeling soar, tender and stiff, you may even find yourself limping around (hell I do after leg day, seriously the amount of time that goes into siking up to go to the bathroom is ridiculous, let alone the time involved with climbing/hobbling up and down flights of stairs – haha you laugh now, just you wait!). This is your body adapting and getting use to the healing process. More recently I have found myself looking for the stiff and soar feelings in my body a day after training and evaluating my recovery experiences in a journal in order to help evaluate and track my progress.
I recommend keeping a journal in order to monitor your training sessions. I use to write up a page each day outlining what training routine I did, how I felt physically and mentally although recently I have started a spreadsheet that tracks my day-to-day consumption of food, training log and feelings. Now you don’t need to go as in-depth at me, I’m only doing it to gain an understanding in how my body operates but I thoroughly recommend keeping a journal so you can pay attention to how your body performs and how mentally motivated you are as this also helps you to determine how much recovery you should allow your body to have, so you can modify your training to compliment this.
Personally, after a workout I typically will have a protein shake in order to provide my body with nutrients to replenish my body’s energy stores. I also try and consume water so my body keeps hydrated. Now I know there are a million theories out there with what foods you should and should not consume after a workout. Honestly, after working out generally all my body is up for is a protein shake and then maybe a couple hours later a ‘lighter’ meal such as a salad or veggies with salmon or grilled chicken if I’m feeling particularly hungry but generally I will just go a banana or piece of fruit. I am a firm believer of listening to your body. If your body is saying feed me – well feed it (just don’t go all cookie-monster on me, ha!).
Post training and after doing my initial cool down and consuming a protein shake I will normally have a shower and then get on with my business. I also recommend stretching out anything that feels soar and tender (and I don’t mean just your cool down post training) as you need to. A good night’s sleep also helps with the recovery process.
At the end of the day, you know your limits, I’m all for pushing them but not to breaking point. Listen to your body. Stop when you need to stop. Notice the signs and give your body the recovery it needs. If you’re not sure what your experiencing, seek a qualified practitioners opinion.