How to Maximize Your Recovery
Most of us know by now that the old expression "no days off" is actually far from the truth. We all need days off. Our bodies need rest to recover and rebuild after training. There is no progress without recovery. But how can you maximize recovery to make sure you are making gains and not overtraining your body?
In this blog post I will share 5 ways to maximize recovery and share a few of the things I do on my rest days off from the gym.
Start with the Basics
When it comes to recovery, you have to start from the ground up. Nothing else in this article will matter at all unless you are getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and fueling your body with the nutrients that it needs.
Let's start with sleep. I bet you've heard that getting 7-9 hours of sleep is optimal for most adults. But how does sleep effect muscle synthesis? One word: insulin. Insulin's role is to help transport amino acids into cells for protein synthesis or storage so insulin balance is crucial for recovery and proper muscle synthesis. Then next is Growth Hormone, or GH. Growth hormone is also essential for muscle repair and optimal body function. The better your sleep is, the more GH is released. Poor quality sleep will lead to less GH in the bloodstream and, eventually, poor muscle repair and synthesis. Clearly sleep is a big deal when it comes to all body systems functioning properly!
Next let's look at water. Staying hydrated is also crucial for muscle repair and even fat loss. Did you know that in order for body fat to be broken down and utilized as energy water has to be available in the body to bond to the fat cells and help break them down? That's why staying hydrated is so important for people who want to lose weight or body fat. Water is important for everyone though, regardless of your goal, as it also helps with muscle recovery and reducing soreness post-workout.
Finally, eating a diet rich in micronutrients and unprocessed foods will ensure that your body is full of that vitamins and minerals it needs to repair muscle, strengthen bone, and burn body fat. Make sure you're eating at least 80% unprocessed foods like lean meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and seeds.
Maximize Your Recovery
Now that we've talked about the basics that we all know and love, let's talk about how to maximize recovery with some other tools.
Foam rolling and stretching can be very beneficial to assist in recovering the muscles after strenuous training. Add in some Hypervolt self-massage and your muscles will be feeling good as new in no time!
You can also use sauna and steam room as recovery modalities. The heat will help to decrease inflammation and improve circulation, getting blood flow and nutrients into the muscles faster. An even better combo? Cold and heat! Jump into a cold plunge or cryotherapy tank and then sauna after for 15-20 minutes. This combo will literally make you feel like a brand new person.
Supplementation can be a great recovery tool too. Taking Amino Acids (BCAAs) intra or post workout is one way that you can boost your recovery with supplements. Although the research on BCAAs is still a little up in the air, meaning we aren't still 100% sure that they help as much as we think they do, some people really feel a difference and notice that their recovery is a lot shorter when taking BCAAs, so I feel they're worth mentioning. Another recovery option is an electrolyte powder to add to your water, especially if you often train outside or feel like you sweat more than the average person. Replacing electrolytes is more important than most people think. If you don't have enough electrolytes present in your body, you can drink as much water as you want and you'll never be hydrated! A balance of sodium, potassium, and H2O is necessary to achieve proper hydration.
Finally, some light movement like a walk outside or yoga class can be a great way to practice active recovery and reduce soreness overall. Sometimes you need complete rest, but other times light movement can actually assist in the recovery process!
Now we've talked all about recovery and I want to know - how do YOU recover? What is your favorite thing to do to improve your body's ability to recover post-workout?
Comment below! And don't forget to like and share this article to help out your friends and family. Thanks in advance!