"It is not how hard you train, but how well you recover."
Active Recovery….now that may sound like an oxymoron to you! Recovery conventionally refers to taking time off training and resting, whereas active implies the opposite. We are generally conditioned to believe that activity and recovery are conflicting notions.
The whole objective of recovery is to allow your muscles to repair themselves. However, taking a recovery day does not have to involve doing absolutely nothing. Whereas rest is classified as taking time off training and getting some sleep, recovery refers to practices or methods utilized to boost your body’s repair. Active recovery also plays a large role on the mental element of training, the purpose of a recovery day is not solely to give your body a rest from training but also to give you that much needed mental break.
Active recovery entails completing an exercise or a workout at a low intensity, something that is intense enough to raise your heart rate and increase blood flow, which in turn helps to reduce the residual fatigue in muscles. Active recovery can also be crucial in reducing the symptoms of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). There are a number of different ways to practice active recovery, here are a few of my favorites:
An important element of active recovery is ‘mental restoration’, this may be achieved in a number of ways, it may be meditation, watching a movie, or playing a game. The key is to engage in activities that help you recharge your batteries! In my opinion there are few better ways to relax your mind than doing a light swim, a brisk walk or just playing a game. I adore training but when I train I am constantly trying to improve, trying to break through the next barrier and sometimes it is really important to just take a break!
Find your favorite way to add some active recovery into your week, make it something fun, and make it something that leaves you feeling better afterwards. Whatever activity you choose must be restorative and recuperative for you. The goal is to end the session feeling invigorated, not exhausted.
In order to best restore your body, and return to training feeling fit and fresh, there are a number of other things that must also be accounted for:
Sleep – the amount needed varies from person to person. Regardless of how many hours of shuteye you need, this is the single most important element for both mental and physical recovery. A hot bath before bed can also be great for recovery in addition to lulling you to sleep.
Hydration – getting adequate fluids before and after your workouts is fundamental for muscle endurance and recovery. Upholding proper hydration guarantees that our cardiovascular system is operating at maximum capacity. Our body is mostly made of water and thus good hydration will promote the repair and growth of our cells.
Nutrition – besides sleep, nutrition is the most important aid for recovery. On rest days or active recovery days we want to make sure that we stick to our clean eating plan and not to reduce the amount of calories too much, (undereating can be just as damaging as overeating). On active recovery days we can reduce our levels of carbohydrates (carbohydrates are predominantly used to fuel our body, if we reduce our energy output we can reduce our carb input) but maintain levels of protein and increase fat slightly. Eating real food, in its unprocessed form will give your body all the required nutrients. Consuming whole foods, along with herbs and spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and garlic are particularly anti-inflammatory) can assist in moderating any inflammation, which will in turn assist with recovery.
Properly stimulating your muscles is a precise science and application of volume, intensity and recovery to achieve optimal results. Too much or not enough volume and/or intensity without enough or with too much recovery and you wont get the results you want. In this article we cover how to find the right balance between these three to hit your specific goals.
For athletes working to reach their peak potential in performance, there can be a verity of areas that keep them from getting to the high level of performance they’re trying to reach. However the single most common weakness athletes face are weak glutes. In this article we cover how to identify weak glutes, strengthen them and get you on your way to peak athletic performance.
Muscle soreness is something every person who trains deals with. From the beginner to the professional athlete, understanding what post-training muscle soreness is and how to manage it will go a long way in your training, recovery and overall athletic progress. In this article, we what post-training muscle soreness is, what causes it and how to manage it.
TO GET 10% OFF ON YOUR FIRST ORDER, THE LATEST ON NEW RELEASES AND MORE. . .