You’ve done it! You started your fitness journey or have taken a new direction. You are doing something that is incredibly difficult, making a change! The only thing is, your body is not as understanding about this change. After that workout yesterday, you have woken up sore and even sitting down has become a task you have to mentally prepare for!
When we workout our bodies are going through something traumatic, we are tearing muscle by making it provide forces in a new situation. In short, we are making them adapt. In order to get better for the next time we workout, our bodies begin sending nutrients to the affected areas and rebuilds the muscles to be better prepared for the next time we take on that stimulus! This is called “recovery!”
Recovery begins immediately once you finish your workout. Without any external effort, your body will start to repair itself. On its’ own, your body does a pretty good job, but it will take a considerably more time than if you gave it some help!
Here are some ways you can give yourself some recovery help:
The king of recovery aid is being able to go to sleep and sleep well for a solid 7-9 hours! While many of us believe that staying up to finish a work assignment until 2am, sleeping until 6am, and loading up on a mochafrapopumpkin latte will get us rocking. It’s actually a large reason why you are having a hard time recovering from your day.
While we sleep our body is able to do its’ work of preparing us for the next day without having to spend massive amounts of energy on our cognitive functions. We are able to repair muscle, rebalance our hormone levels, and replace energy stores that were used the previous day!
Proper deep sleep in a dark and cold room (about 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit), can really boost your recovery. You’ll thank yourself later for how much better you’ll feel if you prioritize your sleep (Follow up with us later for a full blog post just about sleep)!
When it comes to helping your body recover, Nutrition is the fuel. Making sure that we eat properly by having enough protein to aid in the reconstruction of muscle as well as replacing the energy we used in our workouts can do wonders for preparing for the next day after a tough workout!
On top of making sure you have a healthy amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, eating at the right times can be a game changer for your recovery!
Eating within 90 minutes of completing a workout can aid the speed of your recovery and not eating within 2 hours of going to bed can help you fall asleep faster. Starting your recovery sooner and getting more sleep is a recipe for success in any fitness journey!
Also known as, “rolling out,” the practice of using a hard object to break apart muscle knots is relatively new to the world but has plenty going for it!
As our bodies repair themselves from our workouts, scar tissue can form and we begin to see knots! These little things can trap blood and make movement painful (to learn more about knots, check out our post about em HERE)!
If you take 5-10 minutes after your workout to use a foam roller, something that is found in most American homes by now, you can move stagnant blood and break apart tight muscles so that you can hit the next day’s workout with your best effort!
Long Static Stretching
Static stretching happens when you hold a stretch rather than move through the range of motion to open muscle up. Perform before a workout, you are at risk of injuring yourself. When you do long stretch routines after a workout or on a rest day, you can help your body get blood flow to areas it wouldn’t be able to if your joints and muscles were left tight.
Use static stretching as a tool to help you feel better and more refreshed as blood flow is freed up rather than a way to get more mobility. The best way for that to happen is to practice it in your movements by aiming to have the best form possible and doing dynamic (moving rather than holding) exercises to open up muscles and teach your brain what to relax and contract for each movement.
Become a recovery master!!
The best thing you can do is start working on one of these at a time. Do 5 minutes of stretching after your 2 hardest workouts this week! Eat some protein within 90 minutes of a workout and see how it feels! Get a full night’s rest without interruption and take note of all the changes that happen when you’re rested!
Take your time and enjoy the journey! Taking care of yourself can not only help yourself, it can help the people you love most!