Proper Recovery is a Game Changer
To achieve success
Athletes must have the drive and the commitment to train hard – but more importantly, to train hard and recover harder, and smarter. Proper recovery is consistently seen as one aspect of training that is most often overlooked. Lack of recovery practices not only affect your performance but can also leave athletes fatigued and at increased risk for injury. The main reason (aka excuse) why athletes don’t commit to proper recovery? Time. Who has time to stop and stretch when constraints and priorities get in the way? Athletes are often rushing to the next task, taking care of kids, getting to work on time, meetings, deadlines, etc. the list goes on. The second most common obstacle to proper recovery? Excessive training. (In line with the belief that if some exercise is good, more must better). And lastly, athletes often lack regular, appropriate information or techniques to aid them in optimal recovery.
As we say at Back 2 Normal, recovery is the low-hanging fruit that can elevate a good athlete to great! So, what is recovery, anyway? And why is it important? Recovery is more than just stretching; it involves understanding the key elements and importance of post-workout routines, proper nutrition, active recovery, and rest. Implementing proper recovery strategies will allow you to train harder, get better results, and will be the difference between an average and elite performance.
The science of what happens when you exercise
When we exercise, cells break down – creating oxidative stress, inflammation, and depleted energy. As inflammatory markers, such as creatine-kinase, become elevated due to exercise-induced muscle damage, muscles become stiff and sore. This is better known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This soreness from activity peaks within 24-48 hours and sometimes does not subside for 5-7 days! This can dramatically affect your performance! By practicing proper recovery strategies you can significantly reduce these effects.
There are six key elements of post-workout recovery: muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis, hormonal support, soft-tissue repair, immune system support, inflammation reduction, and rehydration. What does that mean for an athlete? Your workout isn’t finished until you’ve replenished nutrients and completed a proper cool down and recovery routine such as:
- Replenish nutrients and maximize cellar repair
- Aim to consume a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of carbs-to-protein, in a snack or beverage within 20-30 minutes post-workout or race to replace lost glycogen.
- You can also drink 4-8 oz of Asea redox signaling supplement to shorten recovery times, reboot your DNA healthy gene expression, lessen soreness, minimize cellular damage, and accelerate the production of your own antioxidants (glutathione) by 500-800%.
- Begin re-hydrating right away
- Drink 20-24 oz of fluid per 1 pound of weight loss to make up for fluid excreted during activity. This is equal to replacing 1.3-1.5 liters of fluid for every 1 kg weight reduction.
- Cool down and stretch
- Use cardiovascular activity (5-10 minutes) that gradually decreases in intensity, such as a light jog or cycling on a stationary bike. Follow with a static stretching routine (holding 10-30 seconds) for 5-10 minutes, to target specific muscles exercised.
- Incorporate yoga postures at the end of your training sessions and/or restorative yoga with meditation at bedtime to help rejuvenate your mind and body.
- Use hydrotherapies
- Alternate warm & cool water in the shower 3-4 times to help stimulate muscle recovery or take a quick dip in a cold plunge pool to reduce joint aches and lower body temperature.
- Take an Epsom salt bath with warm water for 20 minutes to help relax muscles and reduce soreness and stiffness the following day.
- Incorporate cryotherapy by using an ice bag, ice massage, or ice bath to injured or sore areas after cool down.
- Support and soothe your muscles
- Use a myofascial tool, such as a foam roller, pressure relief ball, massage stick, or invest in a neuromuscular device such as the Theragun or Hyperice to help expedite the release of tight or sore muscles and increase range of motion and blood flow.
- Apply dōTERRA Deep Blue Muscle Rub (containing therapeutic essential oils) or Renu Gel to boost muscle recovery and reduce soreness and inflammation.
- Use compression socks 2-3 hours post sport or training session.
Active Recovery & Rest
Taking a recovery day doesn’t mean doing absolutely nothing. The purpose of a recovery day is to recoup from training, both physically and mentally. Taking time for recovery and taking care of yourself takes work as well. Active recovery methods include:
- Working out at a very low intensity, to get the blood flowing and reduce residual fatigue in the muscle. This can include a recovery run at a very low heart rate at an easy conversation pace.
- Cross-training with activities such as rock climbing, swimming, restorative yoga, walking.
- Receiving a professional massage or taking a recovery and/or mobility class
- Cryotherapy and/or Normatec Compression session
- Dry needling and cupping done by the proper professional
Rest & Regenerate
Inadequate rest and poor sleep patterns can wreak havoc on your performance, reducing the body’s ability to regenerate, repair and recover. To enhance quality zzz’s:
- Prepare your bedroom for sleep by making it dark and quiet.
- Prioritize getting 7-9 hours of restful sleep.
- Use a smartwatch to monitor your sleeping patterns and cycles.
- Try meditation, prayer, or restorative postures before bed.
- Take a warm Epsom salt bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil before bed.
- Use the appropriate supportive pillow and mattress for your body.
- Limit electronics at least an hour before sleep.
Don’t let lack of recovery negatively affect your performance. Develop a plan, determine what works best for you, and stick to it! If you need help our team at Back 2 Normal offers a wellness-focused & supportive environment that can help you achieve your goals!