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How to Recover After a Barre Workout
Feeling sore in places you didn’t even know you could? We’ve all been there after a barre workout. It’s a feeling we love to hate. Barre especially, works specific muscle groups that many other forms of exercise don’t. These include areas like the stabilizing muscles of the shoulders and hip girdles as well as different core muscles. So, if you’re feeling sore after your first or 1000th barre class, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to give you some background knowledge on what recovery is all about, some helpful tips, and why it’s just as important as the workout itself!
What is workout recovery and why is it important?
It’s been proven that what you do after your workout is just as important as what you do during your workout in order to see the results you want. The impact of your workout doesn’t end when your Bar Method instructor starts handing out stretching straps. Your body will continue to experience the effects of class throughout the rest of your day and sometimes, into the next! What you do to recover after your class will have a strong influence on those effects and how long they last.
There are two main parts of recovery, the immediate post-workout stage and the 24-48 hours post-workout window. During that immediate recovery time, your body returns to its resting state after your workout. Meaning your heart rate and breathing is returning to its normal everyday pace. The 24-48 hours after your workout is where your body may experience things like DOMS (delayed-onset muscles soreness), inflammation, or tightness. All of these can be positively impacted when you start to focus on your recovery!
6 Tips for Recovery After Barre
1. Spend Time Stretching
Immediately after your class, it can be tempting to head out of the studio and get on with your day. However, skipping that post-class stretch can inhibit flexibility and mobility. Spend a little extra time after class to really focus on dynamic stretching. It can help to improve your joint’s range of motion and release any tension. Even during that second window of recovery, stretching is a great method to help ease tissue build up and help those sore muscles.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
This may seem like a “well duh” moment, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget. When you work out, you’re exerting a lot of energy and your body can quickly become dehydrated. Drinking water before, during, and after your workout helps to flush out your system, refuel, and helps your body recover faster.
3. Eat a Protein-Filled Snack
A post-barre snack filled with protein can help re-energize your body after a tough session at the barre. It can also help you to recover quicker and give your body the fuel it needs to keep up with you throughout the rest of your day. Try to eat a snack within an hour after your barre class to avoid low energy, irritability, poor muscle recovery, and muscle cramps.
4. Take a Walk
If you’re feeling a little extra sore after your barre class, go for a walk! It doesn’t need to be long or intense. Taking a leisurely stroll can help enhance blood flow, improve overall circulation and help with a quicker recovery. It can also shake off some of that stiffness or soreness you might be feeling after the in-class shake.
5. Go to Bed Early
Getting enough sleep might feel like another obvious tip but we can’t stress its importance enough! It gives your body the time it needs and deserves after a hard class to recover and grow muscle tissue. If you’re feeling those stiff or sore muscles begin to creep in, try to go to bed early! Most adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Getting enough sleep helps to promote things like weight loss, a faster metabolism, and increased mental alertness.
6. Take a Bath
For those days you’re really feeling sore, take a bath using Epsom salts. These salts are great for detoxing the body, removing toxins, relieving stress, relaxing your muscles, and even weight loss! Baths are the perfect recovery solution for both your body and your mind.
Rest Days: Active vs. Passive Recovery
When you’re planning out a week of Bar Method classes, make sure you incorporate a rest day or two! Your body needs these days in order to repair muscle tissue and re-energize. However, that doesn’t mean you have to chill on the couch and binge watch your favorite TV show (which you can also totally do). Think of rest days and recovery as being active or passive. Active recovery refers to staying physically active, even on rest days, while passive recovery requires no movement at all. Both can be incorporated into your rest days.
Some great active recovery activities to try out are:
- Going for a swim
- Taking a brisk walk or light jog
- Going out dancing with friends
- Going on a bike ride
- Taking your dog for a walk
- Spend time running around with the kids for some extra quality time
Some examples of passive recovery include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Massage therapy
- Foam rolling
- A sauna session
No matter what method of recovery you choose, listen to your body. When you begin to tune into what your body needs and wants, you’ll see the real results you’re aiming for. Going straight from your barre class to the next thing on your to-do list can shortchange your body and you’ll pay for it later in terms of tight muscles and joints, increased soreness, and lower range of motion and flexibility.
When you begin to practice recovery after your barre class, you’ll see the accelerated results we rave about. At The Bar Method, we also offer class formats that incorporate more elements of stretching and yoga. Try booking our Bar Flow or Bar Restore classes as a part of your next active recovery day.
The most important piece of recovery is taking time to appreciate the hard work you just put into your workout. Appreciating your effort and basking in the sense of accomplishment will help your workout feel more like self-care than something to check off your list.