Getting through your Black Box VR workout is a ton of fun, but what are you to do about that muscle burn feeling you get after your workout is finished? Exhaustion is a normal part of working out, but the best athletes have a recovery plan to keep themselves up and running between workouts.
Keeping yourself going after a Black Box VR workout isn’t all that complicated in practice. You can do several things to recover, so here are our picks for the top 10 hacks to recover faster after your Black Box workout.
Water is essential to your body! Unfortunately, it’s the thing that gets depleted the fastest during your workout, meaning that you’ll need to stay replenished to keep your body functioning well. H20 is one of the building blocks of your body, which also makes it one of the building blocks of your Black Box VR workout and your recovery.
A great way to stay hydrated is to drink electrolytes during your workout. Most everyone has heard of Gatorade or Powerade. These drinks will work, but they can have sugar and unwanted ingredients in them. The cleanest way to get hydrated is straight-up electrolyte power in your water. You can add a scoop, and it will give your water a little flavor while you hydrate yourself.
Before and after you work out, you should take a few minutes to stretch your muscles. Stretching can relieve you of tension and improve your flexibility, but it also reduces the possibility you’ll end up with an injury from straining your muscles during your workout.
Try warming up with 5 minutes of stretches at the beginning, then cool down after your workout with another 10 minutes of stretches. Further, try to stick to basic lunges and rotations for your pre-workout stretches. This article from Healthline is a great source for stretches you can do after you emerge from Black Box VR.
Take a Brisk Walk
Like stretching, a quick 15-20 minute walk is both a way for you to warm up to a more strenuous workout and a way for you to cool down afterward.
You don’t need to worry too much about the speed at which you walk; just getting the blood flowing is good for recovery. The reasoning behind this is that this process of “Active Recovery” allows your body to flush out the lactic acid built up during your workout much quicker than if you were to sit down and otherwise return to regular activity, otherwise known as “Passive Recovery.” Excess lactic acid is what contributes to the nasty muscle cramps and soreness you experience after working out.
Sleep is the most potent healing process your body has. Your muscles recover while you’re asleep, and a better night of sleep will ensure that you’re ready to work out again tomorrow at your maximum potential. But did you know that sleep deprivation has adverse effects on your workouts as well? It’s true!
Take it from Amanda Capritto at CNET, who explains how a lack of sleep makes it nearly impossible to recover from your workouts — leaving you feeling completely used up before your next session. You don’t want that to happen, so be sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Even on rest days!
Take Rest Days
When you’re on a steady groove, it’s really easy to want to continue giving it your all — day after day, week after week. That sounds great on paper. But is it, really?
The issue here is that a lack of rest between intense workout days is not good for you or your fitness routine, as it stifles your muscles’ ability to replenish themselves properly. Without rest days between Black Box VR workout sessions, you’re much more likely to plateau and not see the results that you ultimately want. So, we recommend taking at least two days off per week. You can set those up however you’d like, but a good idea would be to place your rest days at opposite ends of the week from one another; for instance, taking Wednesdays and Sundays off is a great idea.
Protein Shakes (Before or After)
Your muscles need to rebuild themselves after your Black Box VR workout is completed. Likewise, they also need the energy to power themselves through the workout. Protein is a necessary building block for your body to function at optimal performance, but did you know that you can take protein supplements either before or after your workouts?
You generally want to consume about 1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight if you work out regularly. If you struggle to get your daily dose of protein from your regular diet, drinking a whey protein shake is a fantastic way to deliver those necessary protein servings into your system.
To get the maximum amount of power from your whey protein shake, drink it within 4 hours before your workout. If you drink it after, make sure to drink it within an hour of finishing your workout.
Get a Massage
Full body massages can be one of the most relaxing things you do. You can get a massage from a therapist, or you can use a Foam Roller. Both are effective at reducing muscle tension and improve circulation. It also helps break up the lactic acid that can build up from your workouts, and that alone will speed up your recovery.
Skip the Booze
Not only will excessive amounts of alcohol leave you feeling unwell if you manage to rack up a nasty hangover, binge-drinking is also scientifically proven to stop your body from producing glycogen, which is a potent fuel reserve for muscle recovery. In addition to that, alcohol is an inhibiting factor in your body’s natural ability to make synthesize protein that is directly applied to repairing your muscles after working out.
Cryotherapy & Compression Therapy
There are several therapies that you can do for your muscles that help them recover faster and more efficiently.
Cryotherapy is the act of applying a source of extreme cold to your muscles, which can lower inflammation and make “the burn” recede faster. This can be as simple as using ice packs or immersing yourself in ice water for several minutes. But there are also specialized treatments such as whole-body cryotherapy. It’s worth looking into.
Compression therapy, on the other hand, is the act of applying pressure to your muscles after working out. By doing so, you can improve blood flow throughout your body, which can help your muscles clear out lactic acid faster. There are several ways you can do this, but an easy way to perform compression therapy on yourself after a Black Box VR workout is by wearing compression garments, like the ones featured at Men’s Journal.
Play VR Fitness Games
Black Box VR belongs to a group of workouts called HIIT (or High-Intensity Interval Training), which means it’s one of the most intense types of workouts you can do in a general fitness setting.
Naturally, a good way to come down from a HIIT-type workout is something called LISS, otherwise known as Low-Intensity Steady State, which is what you’d call lower-intensity workouts like walking, jogging, playing tennis, or even doing things like gardening. But only if you remain in a state of activity long enough.
This is why we recommend playing room-scale VR games, which often qualify as LISS training if you play them for an hour or more. The great news here is that VR gaming is so immersive that it’s easy to get lost in a game for several hours, forget you’re in there, and come out having burnt a bunch of calories by accident. Wonderful!
There are several ways to get started on choosing the best VR games to play for a speedy and effective (and fun) recovery, but we recommend checking out VR Fitness Insider, for the latest and greatest coverage of VR Fitness games.