Recovery is critical to the success of your training, but it is too often taken for granted. Consider that even if you exercise for an hour a day, you have 23 hours to recover from the effects of your workout. During your recovery period your blood pressure and cardiac function return to normal levels, the energy stores in your muscles are replenished and the damage to your muscle tissue begins to be repaired. What you eat, the amount of quality sleep you get, how much water you drink, whether you stretch or not and the amount of stress in your life all determine how well you recover from your efforts in the gym. Think of it like this: your recovery determines the results of your work outs.
Get your recovery workout and 4 more essential workouts in the book, 5 Essential Workouts.
1.Sleep is the most important factor for complete recovery between workouts. The 7-8 hours of sleep you enjoy after a workout is when growth (read youthful) hormones are released which play a role in your muscle growth, metabolism and even your mental health. So don’t skimp on this if at all possible and know the most beneficial sleep occurs before midnight. Sorry night owls…its science.
2.Water is critical to your recovery, performance and energy levels because it is involved in every function of the body. Proper hydration aids efficient nutrient uptake, reduces stress on the heart, gives you better skin tone and a bigger muscle pump (yea baby). Try to drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water every day.
3.Nutrition is the tipping point between success and frustration in the gym. Clean, non-processed food you didn’t buy in a box or a bag is the best approach to eating. Also, alcohol, wheat and dairy are a bad idea for many who are left bloated because of the empty calories and sore due to tissue inflammation sometimes caused by these items.
4.Stretching and myofascial release are appropriate during your workout time and as an aid to recovery. Active (movement-based) stretching is an excellent warmup while static stretching is best performed after a workout. Self-myofascial release using a foam roller, tennis ball or manual therapy can be used anytime to speed recovery by releasing tight muscles and trigger points.
5.Ice helps to reduce inflammation in tissue, heat can provide relief and speed healing and compression provides support for sore or injured muscles. Use these modalities as directed by a physician, physical therapist or certified athletic or fitness trainer.