5 Essential Components of a Rest and Recovery Routine
Picture it: you just maxed out and hit your PR on your back squat. Your legs are on fire, you’re drenched in sweat, and you barely hobble out of the gym feeling like a peg legged champion! Congrats! You’re a rock star! …..now what?
Now, my friend, you recover. But how? And more importantly, why? Well sit tight because you’re about to add 5 essential components to your rest and recovery routine.
1. Hydrate – Hydration is the absolute most important thing you can do to recover. Flushing your system of toxins and feeding your now maxed out tired muscles is key. Do you like cramps and adhesions in your fascia? No? Same. So hydrate! Your fascia needs water in order to keep moving and not get all bound up and sticky. Electrolytes are a great friend to our systems but good old fashioned water works wonders.
2. Heat – Remember the good ole days of ice baths after a rough practice? Good times. Unfortunately the cold is a great way to tighten those muscles right back up and that’s not what we want. I recommend a solid epsom soak the evening of a good workout. Epsom salt is actually a blend of naturally occurring minerals. When mixed with water it turns to magnesium and sulfate, then add the heat of the water and your muscles are all kinds of relaxed. So spark a candle, kick your feet up, and soak away! *sidebar* Let’s generally stay away from icing a muscular injury unless there is a specific injury in the acute phase (24 – 48 hours) and even then, take caution, your body brings heat and swelling as a way to protect itself and ice is a great way to get in the way.
3. Restful sleep – Sleep is where your body recovers the fastest and most thorough. Depending on your age, activity, and other variables, the amount of sleep your body needs is different from person to person. Consult your doctor if you have any in-depth questions about how many hours you personally need. As for how to get deep sleep, tricks like avoiding blue screens an hour before bed, a dark room, and a cold room have all been proven to improve peoples’ abilities to drop into solid REM sleep. Nice deep breaths also do wonders for allowing your body to relax completely and stop the self chatter in the mind.
4. Self Massage Technique(s) – Make nice with that foam roller (or whatever self massage technique works for you). I’m a sucker for a lacrosse ball. Ask anybody I’ve ever worked with and if there were a lacrosse ball pyramid scheme I’d be the head of it. Breaking up lactic acid and realigning torn fibers as soon as possible after a workout (GIVEN THERE IS NO INJURY) is going to set you miles ahead of the 48 hour-post-work-out-wobble.
5. Nutrition – Feed your body good food. You deserve it! Treat yourself! You can’t just go beating yourself up and not take care of yourself with good nutritious food after. Plus, when you allow your body great nutrients your healing process is much more quick and easy. Macros, micros, all that good stuff, you know it already! But even more simple, a solid balanced diet with lots of leafy greens (said in the voice of your middle school health teacher).
Get your best self out there! Realistically we aren’t hitting our PR’s most of the time but that doesn’t mean we don’t need recovery from sometimes just walking up the stairs. The time and effort it takes to take care of yourself can be so minimal and so effective at the same time! You deserve to give your body what it needs to keep on giving you the outcomes you’re aiming for. Good work out there kid (said in the voice of your middle school gym teacher) keep it up.
As always, we hope this helps! If you have any questions or if you would like to read about certain topics, feel free to send us an email at TeamSP@SportsPerformancePT.com.
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