It’s the unsexy side of working out. The stuff that you kind of always skip at the end of training or forget has an impact when you’ve only had a few hours sleep and your performance dips.
Recovery, to me, goes hand in hand with effective healthy training. It’s the butter on the metaphorical working out bread. And, most importantly, it shouldn’t be ignored.
So, I thought I’d give some of my top tips as to how you can promote better recovery and get the best out of your body and your training!
- Active recovery. Walking, gently cycling – keeping your heart rate slow and steady but at the same time aiding lymphatic drainage is always advisable after a heavy session or on rest days. If you’re feeling particularly sore this is something I’d advise.
- Ensure you’re eating enough to promote recovery. Food is inherently linked to how your body recovers from exercise so if you find you’re not recovering well, make sure you’re fuelling your training properly both before and after.
- Foam rolling – this doesn’t have to be hours spent flip flopping around on a roller but post workout it can be great to help bring your HR down and help to reduce tightness. Let me add here that foam rolling isn’t going to work miracles as some promise, but it can help in some cases.
- Sleep! There have been many studies that have shown how sleep or lack of can affect performance. Sleeping allows our body to adequately recover, and a lack of can not only affect performance but also mood, motivation and levels of fatigue during the day. We all need differing amounts of sleep, but aiming for 8+ hours a night is a good place to start, particularly if you’re working out a lot.
- Check your form. It’s completely normal to be sore post workout, particularly if you’re new to lifting or using different lifts in your training. But, there is a big difference between muscle soreness and potential injuries caused from poor form. If you’re concerned that you’re repetitively sore from an exercise or specific session/class, perhaps get someone to check your form and see if this is where you might be going wrong.
- Hydration! Again, also important to aid recovery. In truth, the amount needed is highly variable, depending on such factors as activity, age, health, and environmental conditions. Don’t make it too complicated, though. Just aim to drink if you’re thirsty and monitor the colour of your urine to ensure you’re well hydrated.