Recovery 101: Feel Better. Train Better

“There is no such thing as over-training, just under-recovering”

This is one of our all time favorite quotes! RECOVERY should be an integral part of anyone’s training program, however unfortunately it tends to be a bit of a forgotten aspect. If you want to push your body to its physical & mental limits each day then you need to ensure that you are effectively recovering.

What does proper recovery encompass? Gone are the days of a 5 minute stretch at the end of your workout being sufficient, recovery is about getting your body primed for your next athletic endeavor. When done well you will not only improve your performance but also reduce the chance of suffering an injury.

Recovery isn’t limited to rest days, down time and de-loading weeks. There are many aspects to this all important process. The following are some of our favourite ways to give back to our bodies a little.

RECOVERY ACTIVITIES

  • Trigger Ball/Foam Rolling: Are your muscles sore and tight? Time to work them over with a trigger ball or foam roller. Deep trigger point pressure can help to break down knotted up nasty tissues that cause pain & dysfunction. Check out the Active RX Physio INSTAGRAM quite often you’ll find some handy examples on Mobility Monday.
  • Massage: Find a good therapist (yes you could definitely use us) and get them to do the work for you. Not only can they treat aches and pain but it can be a time for you to check out, relax and down-regulate your central nervous system.
  • Mobility Exercises: Here we’re referring to taking you muscles and joints through their full range of motion. We sometimes call mobility work ‘tension hunting’ because it should be targeted towards areas that feel tight for you or positions that you know you may feel restricted. Such exercises can be as simple as lying over a foam roller or spending time sitting in the bottom position of a squat. Again check out our Mobility Monday posts for some great ideas.
  • Magnesium: The master mineral. Check out our last blog post for the low down on why this supplement is important to aid with recovery of tired & sore muscles.

RECOVERY WORKOUTS

Having a day off from the gym or your exercise program doesn’t mean you can’t be be ‘active’. Try a recovery workout which can be normal everyday activities that help you relax or a specific targeted workout. It comes down to personal preference, get to know your body and do what works best for you.

  • Go for a swim: There really is nothing quite like the feeling of diving into the ocean. For us this is close to the top of our list. It’s easy, cheap, very effective & often means you get a little time in the sunshine too! You could also opt for a few laps of the local pool at a nice cruisy pace.
  • Recovery Walk: Go for 20 minute walk to flush your muscles. Just being outside in the fresh air has benefits in itself. Throw in an ipod, listen to a podcast or unplug and head for a walk with a partner or friend.
  • Hit the gym: I know what you’re thinking, how’s this going to be good for recovery. It’s simple, drop the weight and intensity off, focus on form and moving through full range of motion. You’ll be surprised how much a couple of light squats & technique training can actually aid in recovery.

SLEEP:

Sleep one of the key players when it comes to recovery. Considering its probably the cheapest & easiest way to give back to your body its surprising how many of us don’t get enough shut eye!  Aim to get 8 hours a night in a dark environment away from distractions and artificial light (no you don’t need to refresh your instagram feed right before you go to sleep). Sleep has be proven to improve reaction times, reduce injury rates, improve speed and reduce mental errors; making it not only helpful for training but work productivity as well. Sleep also plays a part in hormone regulation assisting in producing more human growth hormone and testosterone which assists in the recovery process (LADIES don’t freak out, by sleeping more you will not get bigger muscles…. If only it was that easy).

EAT & DRINK WELL

This may be an obvious one, but again something that many people overlook. Being hydrated & eating well is critical for performance & recovery. Food and water both play a vital role in our body’s metabolic actions. Protein is one of the key macro-nutrients which aids in muscle repair & recovery, especially after a workout. This doesn’t mean you have to head to the local supplement store & stock up on protein shakes, there are many good delicious sources of protein such as; meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, tofu and Greek yogurt. It’s also important to fuel your body with good fats and carbohydrates. Then there is water, our body is more than 60% water. 8 glasses is the recommended, well we say this is the absolute minimum. Drink up ladies and gentlemen, 1.8-2.5 litres a day.

REDUCE STRESS

Stress, whether it be physical, emotional or mental increases the activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is our ‘flight or fight’ response. It gets our body revved up, prepares us for exercise & gets Adrenalin pumping. Without diving too deep into the hormonal reactions within the body, a wired sympathetic nervous system basically impairs our ability to recover. Working out is a form of physical stress so adding a tough work out on top of an already stressed system you can imagine over time how this can negatively impact our bodies & lead us to become run down, lethargic and prone to injury. Dedicate some time each day to turn off your phone, spend quality time with loved ones & friends or zone out to your latest music playlist; ultimately do more of what helps you to relax & recharge and get rid of what makes you anxious, upset or annoyed.

Recovery should be & needs to be a priority.