Are you a pro athlete and weight room regular or do you spend the majority of your day in an office chair? Either way, you can always benefit from including recovery workouts and stretches into your exercise routine, because when the body isn't in proper alignment or it's out of balance, your strength and endurance tend to go out the window too. The good news is that you can incorporate recovery techniques into your home workout routine with ease. Here are 8 tips to get you started!
1. Rest vs Recovery: The Difference
A balanced combination of rest and recovery along with proper diet and exercise should be a part of any fitness regimen. Most easily defined as a combination of sleep and time spent not training, rest is the easiest to understand and implement. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night after training is critical so your muscles have the time to recover and develop. Recovery is multifaceted and encompasses more than just muscle repair. It involves managing chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair and even nurturing a healthy mental state. A combination of both rest and a regular recovery regime will do wonders in your ability to keep up your training intensity.
2. Prioritise The Recovery Basics
First and foremost, make sure that you always warm up before your workout and stretch afterwards. It’ll speed up the muscle recovery process. Your body’s repair also relies on hydration, nutrition, posture, heat, ice, self-myofascial release, stress management, compression, and time spent standing versus sitting versus lying down. Ultimately, all of these techniques reduce lactic acid build-up in muscles and eliminate toxins in your body. Start with ‘soft’ recovery products such as a foam roller and work up to the firmer products as you get used to it and as required if you need a deeper treatment.
3. Don’t Stop Taking Notes
Monitor your home workouts or stretches with a training log and paying attention to how your body feels and how motivated you are. This will prove extremely helpful in determining your recovery needs and modifying your training program accordingly. There are a number of free apps available for making this even easier to track such as Rest! and Fitbod
4. Work on Your Posture
Workouts aside, sitting or standing with bad posture is harmful. It can lead to back or neck pain, specifically for those who have desk jobs. Find a chair that is ergonomically correct and try using a foam roller or ball in your back to give you a tactile cue and help force good posture.
5. Recovery After Cardio
You sweat a lot from moderate to intense cardio so make sure that you replace lost fluid. If you weren’t drinking water throughout your workout either, drink even more. If you’ve only done a moderate level cardio it’s best to avoid sports drinks marketed towards athletes. It is tough to beat good old H2O. It is also recommended to spend at least 15 minutes stretching the muscles that were most in use during your cardio workout.
6. Recovery After HIIT
High Intense Interval Training encourages the burning of calories after your workout due to a process called post-exercise oxygen consumption. As well as drinking fluids and making sure that you’re hydrated, make sure you eat a meal rich in carbs and protein (3:1 ratio is ideal). Also, give yourself one full day in between HIIT sessions to recover.
7. Recovery After Running
After a run on the treadmill or up and down your apartment blocks parkade, you’ll need to restore your fluids. Water and electrolytes are your number one priority. Believe it or not, chocolate milk is one of the best post-running drinks. It deliciously embodies the 3:1 carb to protein ratio that you need. Bolster this with a well-balanced snack or meal too. Incorporate plenty of actual rest days into your running schedule to recover from stress and pressure on your joints. Don’t forget when running that it is incredibly important to wear good quality running shoes to give you the support you need and ensure you reduce the impact on your joints. Depending on your level of running there is a range of suitable footwear from excellent brands such as ASICS, Nike, adidas, Under Armour, New Balance, Mizuno & Brooks.
8. Recovery After Strength Training
You’ll need to make sure that you consume protein and a good amount of carbs after a strength training workout. This promotes the best muscle growth. The recovery times and rest days in between strength training greatly depends on your workout schedule. If you split your days between muscle groups, then you can get away with training 5-6 days with one rest day in the week. If you train the same muscle group in a row, give yourself at least a day’s rest in between to recover. It is also recommended to include a thorough muscle recovery process after your workout to promote muscle repair. There are a number of suitable products that can help you with this such as foam rollers (great for the back, legs & neck) and targeted recovery options to really pinpoint certain muscles such as the biceps, shoulders and calves)