I’m baaack! After a few months (yes, it’s been 2 whole months…where the hell is this year going) I have finally sat down to write a new post. And with a new job, increased workload, less down time and always making time for a workout, this topic is my current nearest and dearest!
What is it, why do you need it and how do you do it- a sorta kinda complete guide? Or at least one that’s good enough to get you through your training regime successfully and safely.
Recovery is the process of bringing your body back to its pre exercise state. The underlying importance of recovery is to reduce the risk of injury and get you back to training or competition as soon as possible, with performance at its peak.
The main objectives of recovery processes are to
– Restore bodily (and specifically muscular) function
– Tissue repair
– Reduce muscle soreness
– Psychological recovery (you know, getting your zen on after you sweat out your insides and think your muscles are literally on fire…all so you have the mindset to forget the crap bits and do it all again)
Types of recovery
– Ice baths
– Contract water therapy
– Hydro therapy
– Compression garments
So they all make sense, and then I went and threw nutrition in the mix. Why? Within 30 minutes of finishing exercise, replenishment of macronutrients and fluid loss during exercise is crucial at returning yourself to your pre-exercise state. If you’re close to home, have a wholesome meal waiting (thank god for meal prep), if you have a fair way to travel, small snacks or smoothies and shakes can be legendary at giving your body what it needs.
What to shove in your mouth for maximum benefit;
Protein – for synthesis of new proteins, tissue repair, muscle restoration
Carbohydrates – replenishment of glycogen stores depleted during exercise
Rehydration – aim to consume 125% – 150% of the fluid you’ve expected to have lost during exercise within 4-6 hours of exercise completion. Remember you’re going to need to replace electrolytes also, lost through sweat. So plain water won’t cut it (here’s a chance to get creative with water infusing rather than consuming the commercial sports drink).
When not to recover.
Well, never! But here’s some circumstances where you would avoid some techniques. If you have an injury; don’t stretch, foam roll or jump in a hot spa! You’ve already torn and/or damaged the tissue, don’t stretch it even more and prolong the recovery process. Likewise jumping in a hot spa (although you probably want to) will increase blood flow, further increasing inflammation around the injured site!
Open wounds; avoid water immersion to reduce the risk of infection.
Young athletes; avoid ice baths. The ability of young people to acclimatise isn’t as developed as an adults, and the sudden immersion in cold water could lead to hypothermia and other health implications.
My favourite? Well obviously food, but I was gonna eat anyways! My go to recovery strategy (if I have the time and means) is hydrotherapy. A water baby at heart, getting wet and recovering while having no impact on the joints is a go-to – using the beach as my location is a massive bonus!