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You're pushing it hard at the gym, getting your sweat on—and we commend you for that. But don't underestimate the importance of proper recovery after a workout. For a healthy, strong body, recovery is just as crucial as the exercise itself. To get toned—or ripped—your muscles need the proper rest, healing time, and nutrients to fully recover and allow you to get back out there and push yourself to the limit once again.

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1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Your muscles are sore after a workout because of a buildup of lactic acid. When you drink water after a workout, you're helping your body to flush out all those toxins which are building up in your system, causing pain and inflammation. Proper hydration also means proper lubrication of the joints, preventing joint pain post-workout. You certainly don't want to risk dehydration. Dehydration is one of the biggest setbacks in muscle recovery—so drink water as well as drinks with electrolytes, like coconut water or juice.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.