Having an intense workout is great. But if you can’t recover from it, your effort is wasted.
Instead of getting closer to your goals, you may see them slip further away.
Running hard, lifting heavy, and pushing your body to its limits comes at a cost and it is important to include recovery tactics into your routine.
Start incorporating these four easy to implement recovery tactics and you’ll be reaching your goals in no time!
Refueling and Repairing
Despite their vastly different recommendations for general nutrition, you would be hard-pressed to find a coach or nutritionist that doesn’t suggest consuming a mix of fast-digesting carbohydrates and protein immediately after an intense workout.
This post-workout period is the best time to include high Glycemic Index carbs into your diet. The quick insulin spike these foods provide should be avoided throughout most of the day, but post-workout it actually helps by transporting nutrients into our now starving cells quickly.
Foods like white rice, potatoes, cereal, honey, and sugar, combined with a complete source of protein helps us replenish our glycogen (i.e. energy) stores, increase the size and quality of our muscles, repair any damage caused by the workout, and feel less sore the next day.
This is why the Predator Meal Plan is set up the way it is.
Stretching and Mobilizing
Static stretching before a training session is not a great idea. Even foam rolling before a workout has been shown to have a negative effect.
This is why most mobility experts, such as Dr. Kelly Starrett, suggest stretching, foam rolling, and executing other mobility exercises post-workout.
These techniques will help in reducing delayed onset muscle soreness, allow you to maintain proper mobility in all your extremities, and have you ready to effectively train sooner rather than later.
Lacrosse balls are great mobility tools that can easily be stored in your desk or gym bag.
Continue to Move
The worst thing you can do after an intense workout is to sit and stop moving.
Being locked up into one position all day is terrible for our bodies. It destroys our mobility, turns off muscles that should be working, and significantly slows down our recovery. Unfortunately, exercising for an hour can’t undo the damage caused by sitting over eight hours the rest of the day.
If you’re forced to sit at a desk all day, set a timer for yourself to get up every 30 minutes or so and do some air squats, lunges, wall sits, or walk around the office for a while.
Not only will this help to break up the monotony of your day, but will also have you feeling great for your next workout.
Want to see how many more calories you’d burn by standing instead of sitting? Check out this Calorie Burn Calculator.
Get More, Better Sleep
Exercise and nutrition are huge, but sleep is an equally important piece of the puzzle. Sleeping is when most of your recovery happens.
If you cut it short or have poor quality sleep, you simply won’t recover as well as you should.
Eight hours should be the goal. And as difficult as it may sound, your life will be much better if you swap an hour of Netflix for an extra hour of sleep.
Increasing the quality of your sleep can be easy too. Stop staring at screens an hour before bed, turn off all your electronics in your bedroom, invest in some blackout curtains or a sleep mask, and stop consuming caffeine after noon. The mattress you sleep on is also a major factor.
I didn’t realize how big of a difference a mattress could make until we got our new Casper mattress. I love this thing and have been getting much better sleep with it. Less tossing and turning, less sweating, and feeling much better when I wake up.
You can save $50 off a Casper mattress here. I’d highly recommend them.
Start taking your sleep more serious and your recovery will improve dramatically.
Consistency is King
Progress does not come overnight. It comes from consistent, quality effort.
And if you want to be able to maintain the quality of your workouts you need to take recovery seriously.