So we mention recovery often in the gym, but what is it and why is necessary? Why does coach keep saying that I need to work on my recovery? Aren’t I recovering anytime that I’m not working out?
People come to the gym for various reasons. Some just want to be healthy, some want to lose weight, gain weight, and some want to compete. Regardless of your goals, we train for performance. We train to increase strength, speed, power, endurance, coordination, conditioning, work capacity, etc. All the aesthetics and such are just a side effect of that. We train like athletes and in turn look like athletes. Recovery is an important part of athletics. In order to get the most out of a workout, our bodies must be primed and fueled for peak performance. They must be adequately recovered from previous workouts. When we perform at our best, the results show it. Is it any wonder that the best bodies in the gym are also the strongest, fastest, and most skilled?
So back to the importance of recovery efforts…Our structural, neurological, and hormonal systems need to recover from exercise induced stress. Muscles, even though they get sore, recover the fastest due to direct blood flow. Ligaments and tendons are slightly slower to recover because they only receive indirect blood flow. This is why most injuries are ligament and tendon issues from overtraining/ under recovering. Hormones and neurological systems can be thrown out of whack without proper recovery, making for slower brain function, sluggish behavior, weak immune system, and low sex drive (now your lack of recovery work is affecting others).
I’ve compiled a list of recovery efforts that you can apply to combat those nasty symptoms. It’s up to you to do the work, if you want the results.
- Sleep is one of the most basic. Your body does most of its natural recovery during sleep. Each person has their own sleep needs based on their activity level but seven to 10 hours is recommended, so put down you phone and close your eyes a bit earlier if needed.
- Drink water often. Typically, someone training hard and in our environment needs about 80-100oz of water a day. If you break that down across the day, it’s not that bad. Keep it to real water. If you’re going to throw in some sports drinks or something do it before/ during hard workouts, don’t drink it during the day for taste. The best way to flavor your water is always lemon or lime. Its natural and your body will process it better than any other mixes.
- Nutrition is crucial. I can go on all day on this subject. It’s probably best to go back one of my previous posts for a more in depth explanation. Proper nutrition can control your hormone levels, energy levels, increase performance, boost recovery, regulate metabolism, and are the main key to getting that Instagram pic body. The key to proper nutrition is meal planning/ prep and then timing it around your life and workout schedule. Proper timing will boost your recovery methods big time and of course increase workout performance. Timing will give your body the fuel needed at the right time and build it back up after breaking it down.
- Supplements are everywhere. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the supplement market. It gets crazy. I’ll let you in on a little secret that the supplement companies won’t tell you…the majority of them are bullshit. They flat out don’t work. I can go on for a while about how the supplement industry is not regulated and companies don’t have to prove that their stuff works before selling it. I’ll keep it simple. I will only sell and recommend products that work and are proven. I personally take a few things for recovery and health purposes, which I recommend to anyone. Fish Oil, Osteo Bi-Flex (joint health), Progenex Recovery, Progenex Cocoon, and AdvoCare Night Time Recovery. The Progenex Recovery is an excellent post workout protein that works great at getting your muscles what they need at the most crucial time. Progenex Cocoon is a slow digesting protein that fuels your muscles and recovery efforts at night while you sleep. The AdvoCare Night Time Recovery is pill form herbal vitamin compound that helps you achieve a deeper sleep and better recovery, without waking up groggy.
- Stretching and myofascial release (lacrosse ball/ foam roll) will break up the tightness, keep you injury free, help you train harder, and aid in flushing toxins from your body. As a general rule, do more dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching after. Ideally you should stretch a bit first thing in the morning, post workout, and before bed. I know most won’t do that. Anyone can get in at least 20 minutes of stretching a day though, so shoot for that to start.