If you’re like me and spend a majority of your week lifting weights and working on cardio endurance and training, then kudos for building a strong body! But between all the training and running around in life its important and vital to spend some time off to allow your body and muscles to recover or you wont be able to maximize your fitness goals.
Recovery simply means to gain back and restore. We need to make sure to carve out the time to restore our bodies to its upmost optimum performance in order to get ourselves back into the gym to train hard.
Here are some things you can do for recovery:
1. Sleep! Its so important that you give your body the sleep it deserves. Lean muscle growth happens more rapidly when the body is shut down. Lack of sleep raises the cortisol level in the body, which can break down the lean muscle tissue you’ve worked so hard to gain. When you lack sleep, stress levels are elevated which is when cortisol level are at its highest. Makes sure you do your best to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you can take horizontal life pauses (NAPS) on the weekend, do it!
2. Soft Tissue therapy can come in many forms. The most common ones are massage, foam rolling or myofascial therapy, or active release therapy. When you are doing the same form of constant movement such as working out, playing sports, or even working in the office in the same position for long periods of time adhesions are easily formed in the body. These adhesions are most commonly referred to as knots, tightness, or soreness on the muscles.
3. Stretch before and after a workout. I’m guilty of not making the time to stretch both before and after a workout, but its something that is extremely important to do. When doing any type of resistant training you are contracting the muscles making them tight. Its the stretching and lengthening that will help keep the muscles functioning and prevent adhesions and tightness.
4. Change up your exercise routine by incorporating flexibility and alignment exercise such as yoga, pilates, or barre. These types of workouts help with body alignment and are perfect for an active rest day recovery routine.
5. Take supplements that will help with recovery.
BCAAs are a common intra and post workout recovery supplement. Branch Chain Amino Acids can be found in normal protein structures and help prevent the breakdown of lean muscle.
Glutamine has some of the same benefits as BCAAs. Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in muscle tissue. During intense training glutamine is greatly depleted in the body, its important to supplement this back into your system to keep those hard working muscles functioning.
Arnica is one of my favorite remedies. You can get this topical form: gel, cream, or oil. You can also take this in an oral form as a homeopathic treatment. Arnica helps with muscle soreness, pain, swelling, and bruises.
6. Listen to your body! Overtraining can be detrimental to your results, make sure you take the time to listen to what your body is saying. It is often giving you clues on what you need to do and why.