Does Your Workout Need A Recovery Plan
by Shannon Bonner
If you are reading this, you probably have a sound workout plan. But, do you have a plan for recovery? Any solid workout regimen must include recovery and hydration as formidable components of a sound workout plan. Many people hit the gym, push their bodies to the max, and walk out the door. Wait! There’s more, you are not done. Rest and recovery is an essential part of any workout routine. Your after-exercise recovery routine has a big impact on your fitness gains and sports performance, and allows you to train much more effectively. Unfortunately, most people don’t have a a recovery routine in place. So, I’ve gathered some preliminary ideas for you to consider adding to your current fitness plan. This is not an exhaustive list of ideas, but here are some options to consider when jump-starting your recovery efforts.
Consider the following:
● FLUIDS-Replace lost fluids you lost during exercise by drinking water during exercise, and
ideally drinking 16 ounces 45 to 60 minutes before and after exercise to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body. If you lose more than 1lbs. during your workout your are not hydrated, so drink more H20.
● ICE BATH-According to many top strength coaches, pro-athletes and athletic trainers, a tub of ice is their number one go-to for recovery. Why you ask? It works! How does it work? An Ice bath helps to reduce swelling and bring much needed oxygen from constricted blood vessels to your muscle tissue while removing waste products like lactic acid leading to a speedy recover. TRY IT. Fill your tub halfway with cold water and 2 bags of ice, and hang out for 20 to 30 minutes. Hint: Only submerge your lower body the first few times, and slowly integrate your upper body as you get more comfortable with the therapy. Running out of time? Freeze cups of ice to massage on your muscles for 10 minutes after your workout.
● MASSAGE THERAPY- Research indicates massage speeds up your recovery after a workout twice as fast as rest, because massage helps to improve immediate blood flow to supply nutrients and oxygen to your muscles unlocking range of motion, stiffness, and flexibility. Massage therapy brings immediate relief to the muscles, fascia, surrounding ligaments, and tendons.
● STRETCHING AND FOAM ROLLING-I see lots of folks doing this option here at Fit Results, but do you know the benefits? Foam rolling stimulates and releases the myofascial (fibrous layers of connective tissue) that surround the muscles to properly re-align with the muscles, nerves, and other connective tissue. At the end of a workout research indicates it is best to foam roll, and then stretch. An article found in the Journal of Sport
Rehabilitation, 2014, measured the effects of foam rolling prior to static stretching. The authors found an increase in hip range of motion after rolling on the hamstring then stretching, compared to stretching alone. The increase of blood flow and intramuscular temperature from the pair increased the viscoelastic (flexibility) and healing properties of
muscle (Andrew R. Mohr, Blaine C. Long, and Carla L. Goad, 2014).
● CONTRAST WATER THERAPY- This therapy uses intermittent rounds of hot and cold water while you shower after your workout. Take a shower using 2 minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water. Repeat this four to six times with one minute of moderate temperature between the hot and cold bouts. Also claims to improve your metabolic efficiency.
● DRY NEEDLE THERAPY- Dry needling is one of my favorite bi-weekly recovery therapies with my physical therapist. Dry needling involves the insertion of a thin filament needle into the muscle (similar to acupuncture) used to stimulate healing of soft tissue, trigger points, knots, fascia, tendons and ligaments. The procedure can be startling at first, but the relief is priceless. The therapy is associated with increased blood flow, myofascial release, and a “twitching” sensation that helps the muscles receive blood-flow and increased oxygen to the affected area. This therapy requires a licensed practitioner.
● AVOID OVERTRAINING- Listen to your body. Don’t let the exercise guilt monster into your head. Resting is a form of self-care and recovery. Too much, is too much. Excessive exercise without rest and proper recovery leads to fatigue and injury. This will limit your fitness gains and undermine your recovery efforts. If you feel tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from training
altogether. If you are feeling strong the day after a hard workout, you don’t have to force yourself to go slow. If you pay attention to your body it will let you know what it needs, when it needs it.
by Shannon Bonner