I get it. You love to work out. So do I. But are you reaching your potential if you’re not taking care of yourself? Ideally, you want to recover as best as you can after each workout. The faster we do that, the more we can get out of the next session and the better progress we’ll make.
So, where do we start?
- Sleep – By far the most important thing we can do is get enough sleep. If you’re not getting enough almost nothing else will matter. Besides feeling great, adequate sleep will help with hormone regulation. Without our hormones, like cortisol, in check, our basic body functions can get completely out of whack. This can wreak havoc on our immune system, digestion, sexual function, mental clarity, focus and the list goes on and on. We covered some tips on how to get better sleep in another article HERE.
- Nutrition – This should seem simple but nutrition is often forgotten. After we work out we need to refuel our body. Protein and carbs will be most important in this post workout window. Our body wants to get back to normal so it will need to repair muscle cells and replenish glycogen. To do so we’ll look to take in a meal full of protein and simple carbs. While real food is always best for us, many will rely on a quick protein/carb shake to get them in. Also make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day as this will help with the repair and growth of your muscle cells.
- Active Recovery – Take a day off from going to the gym but don’t just sit around. Go our for a walk, kayak, take a light jog. Basically do something you like and gets you a little sweaty. On those days you’re feeling really sore this will help clear your system and promote blood flow. Even some foam rolling while hanging out will help if you can’t get outside.
- Contrast Showers – The idea of cold and hot therapy is not new but often gets overlooked. Studies have shown they can combat inflammation and even central nervous system fatigue. There are a lot of ways to do this so you may have to do some research as to what works best for you but try :30 cold immediately followed by :60 of hot water for 5 rounds to start.
We’ll cover some more in the future but this should give you a good start to practicing good recovery habits. Remember, you’re at the gym for about an hour a day so that other 23 hours is going to be the most important on your road to awesomeness! Don’t take it for granted.
Coach Michael N
Currently PRing his contrast shower