A few weeks ago we discussed the importance of sleep for recovery and sanity, However that is not the only thing that our body needs in order to recover from workouts and prevent injury. There are many things that are essential to proper recovery from training. Much of it is has to with what we our doing outside of our workouts. Most of America gets a good solid hour of training in and then sits in their car on the way to work and sit at a desk for 6 – 8 hours once at work. Because you are sitting in a office that is hopefully air conditioned; water consumption is low because your body is cool and you don’t feel thirsty. After work; you sit in your car until you get home and sit down to enjoy dinner and/ or watch some T.V. with the family. Does this sound familiar? What was the most frequent word used in the last few sentences? .. Yep!.. “Sit”! Lack of movement throughout the day does not promote proper muscle recovery. Sitting causes many other physical issues and has been shown to shorten life span. Our bodies were designed to stand and move, not sit. I can go on and on about this topic but there are a few other things I want to get into about this. Another factor in poor recovery is nutrition. If you don’t have a balanced diet (Protein, carbohydrates and fats) throughout the day your muscles will lack the nutrients they need to function properly. Water consumption is key to flushing out the toxins (Lactic Acid) our body builds up during exercise along with keeping our muscles hydrated. Lastly, frequency of training as an effect on our ability to recover. Novice athletes should start off slow and only weight train 2 to 3 times a week with a couple of active rest days (light jog and stretch) in there. Intermediate athletes can up it a bit but the more you increase your training frequency with less rest in between the more proper sleep, movement, and nutrition are essential for recovery. Here are few things you can do post workout in order to properly recovery and ultimately prevent injury.
- Stretch and allow your heart rate to slow before leaving the gym to drive home
- Have a protein shake or balanced meal within an hour of training
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you and try drink roughly 100 ounces a day. More if you work out doors
- Move as much as you can throughout the day. Stretch as much as you can. You may look funny in the office but your body will thank you.
- Eat a protein, clean carb (vegetable, fruit, potato, oats, whole grains) and good fat with every meal. Nutrient balance is what keeps our muscles happy
- Train smart! Don’t do more than you physically can do and plan out your week so you have scheduled rest days in. Rest day does mean couch day. Go for a jog, yoga, stretch, whatever just stay moving.
- Get good sleep! 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep. See blog on “Sleep” for more on this.
When you do all these things long enough, they become habit and your body is operating like a well oiled machine.
- Make sure to warm up proper. Dynamic movement to stretch and warming the muscles prior to training. You should have a little sweat going before you get into your workout. Doing this will prime your energy stystem which will allow you to get more out of training and prevent injury.For more information on this ask your coach Stay Classy! Eric B