Top 5 Recovery Hacks
You may have heard the saying “Train hard, recover harder.” If you haven’t heard it, you have now, and you should absolutely pay attention to it! Think about it. A lot of times people say “you’re only as good as your last workout.” But reality is, you’re only as good as your recovery ALLOWS you to be. If we’re constantly putting 110% into our workout and giving minimal if any time to preparing our body for the next workout, its going to catch up to you. Either in the form of an injury, lethargy or both.
So with the RFT 6 Week Challenge drawing to a close and next weeks focus being on recovery, I wanted to share my top 5 recovery tips.
5 . Re-hydrate
You may lose a lot of fluid during exercise and ideally, you should be replacing it during exercise, but filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function. Adequate fluid replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who lose large amounts of water during hours of sweating.
4 . Perform active recovery
Easy, gentle movement (such as a brisk walk or a bike ride) improves circulation, which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster. You could also include some gentle foam rolling, stretching and/or yoga to aid recovery and help get you ready for your next session.
3 . Eat healthy recovery foods
After depleting your energy stores with exercise, you need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. This is even more important if you are performing endurance exercise day after day or trying to build muscle. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and carbohydrates.
2 . Get a bit more sleep
While you sleep, amazing things are taking place in your body. Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair. Aim for a minimum 7 hours, but 8 would be better.
Ok, so here is my number 1 recovery hack. Drumroll please…………………
1 . Ice bath or cold therapy
Yep. You read that correctly. If we’re talking about the speediest, most time efficient form of recovery, it’s the good ol’ ice bath! I can vouch for this one! I relied heavily on ice baths during my time endurance training. Long, long runs followed up by long, long bike rides the next day, meant I had to be ready no matter what. Three bags of ice in the tub with cold water for 8-10 minutes certainly does the trick! Every ache, every pain, every niggle disappears. Some other benefits you’ll receive from an ice bath include helping your central nervous system, limits the inflammatory response, trains your vagus nerve and flush waste products.
If you want to experience the amazing benefits of cold therapy (and I suggest you do), RFT will be holding a breath and ice bath workshop on Saturday October 12th. Come along, breathe, take a dip and reap the healing rewards for your body!