There are many factors which can help with your recovery from a gym session so that you are primed and ready for your next one. Some of you train multiple times a day whereas others will stick to one, however your recovery is vital in seeing the results you want. It really doesn't matter how many times in the day you exercise, what counts is how you prepare yourself for the next intense session. Of course, the foods you consume and the supplements you take are a big part of the recovery process. Sleep is another component which ensures you recover properly and even an afternoon nap can help boost recovery levels. There are of course other things which will help when you take a deeper look into nutrition and supplementation, but what about stretching?
How many of you stretch after your workouts have finished? One of the biggest ways on improving your recovery periods is through stretching and relaxing the muscles when you have just worked on them. Truth is, when you are training you are actually shortening (contracting) your muscles somewhat and therefore after your session they need to be elongated. Naturally, after a session they will go back to their original form but after many, many sessions over the course of some years, if you don't stretch the chances are you will notice some muscular imbalances...
A bi product of not stretching isn't just decreased recovery times, it's the increased chances of facing muscle imbalances which can inhibit your performance. What does this mean exactly? Well, it means one muscle is stronger than the opposing muscle, and a good example of this is someone who benches a lot more than training their back muscles. What this also means is that you could face postural problems and therefore your performance is inhibited due to less range of motion within certain muscle groups.
Massages, stretching and using foam rollers are all great ways of assisting with your recovery period. Massages can be quite expensive so the next best thing is to grab yourself a foam roller and perform different techniques on this as it only requires a small space. A foam roller is brilliant for ironing out knots and tight spots in certain muscles, rolling out the muscle tissue and helping you to recover a lot quicker than without using one. Recovery times shoot up when using a roller because they help promote more oxygen and blood to the muscle, thus allowing better recovery.
Simply use your foam roller for 10-15 minutes after exercise and then if you need to, you can follow it up with some static stretching to increase flexibility. If you want to increase your recovery then using this most days will help you get back into the gym quicker and increase your performance when training.