Recovery: What does it mean?
Recovery can take many forms, but overall it’s the self-care we do to help our bodies heal from the stress we put on them through exercise. Imagine your body as a bank account; every workout you do is a withdrawal from the bank. If it’s a challenging/long workout, then it’s a significant withdrawal. Recovery is how we add money back into the bank. The goal is to add more money to our bank accounts than what we take out.
Why do you need to be doing it?
Implementing a recovery plan designed to take care of our bodies outside of the gym helps us get the most out of our workouts, see progress/positive results, stay injury-free, and feel our best.
Remember, if you want to set yourself up for a healthy lifestyle now and in the future, then recovery is one of the critical elements you need to think about in your health and fitness routine. It does not have to take hours. 10-20 minutes daily is often all you need.
Recovery can include but is not limited to (ordered from least to most expensive):
- Low-Level Steady State Cardiovascular Work aka Blood Flow (Walking, Riding a Bike)
- Full Rest Days (Not running around town in a stressed state, literally resting)
- Sleep Quality (7+ Hours)
- M.F.R. Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)
- Stretching (At Home or a Yoga Class)
- Hot/Cold Therapy (Contrast Showers, Saunas, Epsom Salt Baths, Ice Baths)
- Body Work/Massage Therapy
- Dry Needling
After a challenging workout:
- A great way to approach recovery would be to think opposite of the TRASHED board. Getting adequate hydration and nutrition, limiting/no alcohol consumption, and a good night’s sleep will help your body recover from a tough workout.
Tips for Success:
- Keep it simple: Start small with one or two daily stretches.
- Keep your recovery tools nearby/in-sight: A good life hack is to keep the foam roller in the living room by the TV. It’s a friendly reminder that you can foam roll while watching television.
- Outsource your recovery: Have a monthly massage scheduled so all you do is show up or go to a restorative yoga class and have an instructor guide you through stretches.
- If it’s a true rest day then really rest: Rest gives our bodies a chance to repair and become even stronger. Avoid the temptation to sneak in extra work or push yourself too hard on days you’ve set aside for recovery. Driving hard every day isn’t going to be as effective a strategy as finding a balance of work and rest.
My Go-to Recovery:
- Stretching & Mobility Work:
- A format I like doing is ground work (10-20 Minutes a day sitting on the ground working through different positions).
- If you’d like something more structured, try this basic cool down.
- Foam Rolling:
- Here is an excellent video with a basic routine and proper foam rolling technique.
- Article on why foam rolling is important.
- Hot Cold Therapy:
- Contrast Shower: The last couple minutes switch between as hot and cold as your body can handle.
- Move More:
- I go on 20-30 minute walks to increase blood flow as many days out of the week as I can.
- I schedule a one hour massage once a month.
- Jeff Trotti at Comprehensive Bodyworks
- Dry Needling and PT Work:
- Athletes’ Potential (their office is two minutes from the gym)
- Dr. Glass or Dr. Eng (Atlanta United’s chiro) at Georgia Sports Chiropractic