Did you know that recovery is one of the most overlooked parts of training? When we don’t have a strategic recovery plan, we increase our risk of injury, illness, fatigue, irritability and reduced performance – all resulting in not only being unable to train but affect our work and social life.
During intense training, your body tissues break down, creating micro traumas. It is through rest and recovery that your body is able to send essential nutrients to help rebuild tissues, making them stronger and your body ready for the next training session. Without proper recovery, your body won’t fully get to build back to full strength. This is when overtraining, performance decrease and injury occur.
So, what to do about it? Here’s a few simple recovery methods you ought to implement in your routine.
Self Myofcial Release (SMR)
What is it? Using a foam roller, tennis ball or cricket ball to help release created from damaged muscles. By adding pressure to the affected area, blood flow is improved to the muscle area, allowing for nutrients to help repair the damaged tissue.
How do I do it? Slowly roll up and down the sore muscle area with a foam roller between 8 – 20 times. Focus more time on tight and sore muscles, be careful not to put pressure on any joints or bone areas. Do this before and after training, before and after waking up.
What is it? You can stretch actively or passively as good ways to improve your blood flow and flexibility.
How do I do it? Either on your own or with a partner. Hold each stretch for 60-90 seconds and repeat this 2-3 times. Remember to focus on deep, slow breathing and be careful not to over stretch.
Never perform ballistic stretching moves. Do this after training, before and after waking up.
What is it? Cold therapy or an ice bath is used to help ease pain, reduce inflammation and replace the magnesium in your body.
How do I do it? The first option requires a bath tub. Fill your bath tub with cold water and add a few bags of ice. Sit or float in the tub, completely submerging yourself up to your neck (not for the faint hearted!) or simply submerge your legs for lower body recovery. Do this for about 6-12 minutes.
The second option is if you don’t have a bath and you can use your shower. Stand in the shower under the coldest water setting for 15 seconds, then do the same in hot water for 60 seconds. Be aware, the hot/warm water is going to feel much warmer than usual, so don’t burn yourself. Repeat 5-8 times.
What is it? Yoga has become increasingly popular in the last few years. There are so many different types of yoga which can be found in most gyms. Yoga has been found to improve flexibility, mobility, core strength as well as help with breathing and relaxation.
How do I do it? There are plenty of yoga classes available in and around London. The best is to go and try out different ones and find the best for you.
Don’t forget that fuelling your body with the correct nutrients in your daily diet is essential. When we train, we lose many macronutrients which if not replaced, can affect our performance and recovery.
Everyone’s dietary needs are different, so it would be important to work out what works best for you, if needed to consult a dietitian. In general, having a good protein intake to help rebuild muscle and have good carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up.