Top 10 Post-Exercise Recovery Methods
We are all familiar with The Fitness Trident – Training,Nutrition and Recovery and how essential each of the three are for us to achieve our fitness goals
Now although most of us manage to be regular to the gym and even go to the point of getting our meals right, it is safe to say that only a fraction pay heed to the third and final component – RECOVERY
Think about it…
When was the last time you WORKED on your recovery?
I’m sure this question has left you scratching your head since most of us barely get our 8 hours of sleep let alone explicitly “WORK” on recovery.
I can assure you that recovery is something that needs to be “worked” on just as much as training and nutrition and whether or not you do so, could very well be the decider on whether or not you succeed in your transformation.
So without any further delay, here is the countdown to your top 10 post-exercise recovery methods that will help your body recover from workouts, grow exponentially and be ready to kick some serious ass in and out of the gym.
Top 10 Post-Exercise Recovery Methods:
10 ) Take a week off – The reason I put this VERY important method as no.10 is for you to read it while I still have your complete attention (yeah, I know you’ll eventually be skimming through the article at some point ).
If you have been working out consistently for 10-12 weeks then please…..TAKE A WEEK OFF! For many out there who are like me, this is easier said than done. But trust me, taking a week off will allow you to get even stronger and when you are back to training, you can be rest assured that you will be ready to tear the place down!
But remember, TAKE THE WHOLE DAMN WEEK OFF. No exercise whatsoever.Period.
9 ) Stretching – There is no doubt that stretching is a key part of anyone’s fitness routine as it helps work on one of the 10 components of fitness i.e Flexibility. But besides that, stretching post workout plays an additional role and that is to enhance muscle recovery. Simple static stretching after each workout can pay huge dividends in terms of recovery and hence overall development
8 ) Jacuzzi/Steam baths – This one I came across because the health club that I work out at has these facilities. After I started taking steam and jacuzzi baths, I noticed that I felt less sore after workouts. Moreover, it was doing wonders for freshness and skin health as well. After doing some research on it, it turns out that these baths do have some potent effects.
Jacuzzi baths for example helps relieve fatigue, prevents stiffness, reduces stress by releasing endorphins into the body, soothes muscle aches, relieves stress in joints and connective tissues.
Steam baths on the other hand offer pretty much the same benefits but also a few more such as eliminating toxins and deep cleaning the skin
7 ) Massage Therapy – Once in a while, treat yourself to a massage by a professional. It will help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Now of course,it is impractical to get a professional massage done every week so you can substitute that with Self Myofascial Release (SMR) which is another thing I have recently added to my daily routine.
Let me tell you, SMR is not hype at all. As a matter of fact, it is one of the MUST-HAVES for serious athletes and anyone who wants to improve the longevity of their bodies. SMR is a very simple technique that provides numerous benefits such as improved flexibility, reduction of injury potential, improved performance, correction of muscle imbalances, decreased joint stress, increased range of motion and reduction in muscle soreness.
SMR can be done using foam rollers,tennis balls,sticks or any other massage tool. Describing more about SMR would be going out of the scope of this article so I will save that for later.
6 ) Contrast Therapy (Hot/Cold treatment) – Contrast therapy is a form of treatment where the entire body (or a particular part of it) is immersed in hot water followed by immediate immersion in cold water. This procedure is repeated several times, alternating hot and cold each for a minute or so.
The theory behind this is that repeated vasodilation (caused by hot water) and vasoconstriction (caused by cold water) increases blood circulation and also helps in removal of waste products in tissues. There is also some research suggesting this technique helps reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
Performing this technique in the shower is much more feasible and practical for most people than using bath tubs.
5 ) Eat More Food – The food you eat fuels you day to day, keeps you active, gives you the energy to workout and do the most mundane daily tasks. You don’t expect your car to run without fuel do you?
If you find yourself not recovering from your workout sessions over a long period of time; chances are, you are not eating enough. Getting quality meals consisting of adequate carbohydrates,protein and fats along with all the essential vitamins and minerals is crucial to ensure that you recover well and don’t flush all your hard work in the gym down the toilet!
4 ) Antioxidants – Now even though antioxidants are to be considered in the point above, I feel they need special mention for two reasons:
a) They are SPECIFICALLY meant to prevent degeneration of the body and to preserve optimum health of tissues
b) Considering today’s scenario, we just cannot get enough of them from food alone.
Since Antioxidants play a vital role in fighting against degenerative free radicals, the least you must do is stack up on foods that are antioxidant rich such as: Berries, Artichokes, Dark grapes, Beans, Spinach,Carrots, Oranges etc
If however you are a serious athlete that trains at very high intensity and with high frequency, then you DEFINITELY need to supplement with antioxidants.
3 ) Yoga - Now you folks know I am Indian. But I am not one of those Indians you see on TV that wear saffron colored clothes striking weird poses. Nonetheless, I’d be an idiot to not tell you that yoga isn’t just about that and it can REALLY do you wonders. If I were to list down the benefits of yoga, we would be looking at another article here. All I can say is give it a shot. And I assure you that its not just your workouts that will benefit. It will transform your whole outlook to life as well.
Oh…and for those who think “Yoga is for sissies” let me tell you. I can deadlift 350 lbs with ease, but I get my backside whooped when trying to do yoga. So think again!
2 ) Water- Do I need to say more? The saying “Water is the elixir of life” isn’t for nothing. Oh, and that general guideline “Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day” really doesn’t cut it. Your water requirement increases with:
a) Lean body mass
b) Protein intake
d) Workout intensity
e) Sweat lost during exercise
Another thing that affects water requirement is the climatic conditions you live in. If the climate is hot then your water requirement further increases.So keep all these factors in mind when trying to calculate your water intake.
1 ) SLEEP! – And finally, the HOLY GRAIL of recovery. One that (to be completely honest) I am guilty of violating as well.
But hey…who doesn’t in today’s lifestyle. However, the sad fact remains that we need it (and we need it BAD!). Simply put, if you don’t get enough sleep; you CANNOT GROW. PERIOD. So if you want to get serious about your transformation this is the NUMBER 1 recovery method that you need to employ.
Be sure to get your 8 hours of sleep at night at least. For those who can manage an extra nap in the afternoon…take it. A 20 min power nap will do you great. But for those who can’t, just get your good night’s sleep dialed in right.
So there you have it.
My top 10 post-exercise recovery methods.
Be sure to implement as many as you can ( especially the top 5)
Do so and watch the magic happen
Until next time,
DREAM IT, BELIEVE IT, ACHIEVE IT!
Which of these techniques do you implement? Drop a comment below and let me know…