What is the best way to recover?
Should you focus on nutrition? Should you do a daily ice bath? Should you sleep in a hyperbaric chamber?
Maybe all of the above?
I am not talking about recovering from injury. I am talking about recovering from daily training.
Wait, maybe I should start by asking you a question…Do you actively recover from your daily workouts?
A lot of great coaches advocate for a 1:1 recovery. Meaning, if you spend an hour in the gym, you should spend one hour on recovery activities; activities which we are about cover.
The best way to look at training is as a formula (hat tip to Mark Twight):
- Training = Work + Recovery
Good recovery practices also allow more frequent high-intensity training sessions.
If you neglect your recovery it will slowly creep up on you until…BOOM! You’re injured, burnt out, etc.
Then, you are that incredibly annoying person who always talks about “the good old days” before your injury.
Don’t be that guy.
A lot of this stuff is covered in a recent podcast I did which you can listen to below:
- Recover well. Be well.
New to the fitness and recovery game?
First, things first…Yes, the same picture is in this article twice! Why? Because if you understand this simple concept you understand recovery!
If you don’t focus on recovery, the above “whiteboard wisdom” is the EASIEST way to understand it, and the best place to start. A commonly misunderstood principle is that training, while good for you, is also a stressor on your body which needs to be counterbalanced with recovery.
Got it? Let’s get to your action steps.
Recovery Action Steps:
- First, focus on getting high-quality sleep.
- Next, focus on your nutrition. Optimize your pre and post workout meals, then attack your overall diet.
- After that, start adding contrast showers to your daily routine. Trust me on this one.
- Lastly, get a lacrosse ball and learn how to use it.
Need more info…?
- Sleep is simple and important. Learn all you could want to know about sleep: Three Essential Elements to Sloth-Like Sleep, The Definitive Guide to Sleep and Fitness, and How to Make Working Out Suck Less.
- Want more on nutrition? I usually suggest going APAP (as Paleo as possible) but if you want some GREAT information on nutrition, you need to listen to these two podcasts:
- Never heard of a contrast shower? OK, read all about contrast showers here, and do so immediately!
- Don’t own a lacrosse ball? Check out this video for some basic lacrosse ball work.
Know the fitness and recovery basics?
If you know the basics from above, your next logical step (and most affordable) is what can I take? What supplements can help? And really, most supplements will show marginal results for you if you are not really hitting it hard with sleep, nutrition and basic DIY recovery.
So what supplements?
Recovery Action Steps
Consider the following…
- Magnesium – There is evidence that marginal magnesium deficiency impairs exercise performance and amplifies the negative consequences of strenuous exercise (e.g., oxidative stress).
- BCAAs – BCAAs are not an athletic performance enhancer (directly), but rather a way to enhance muscle recovery and boost the immune system.
- Turmeric – If you have a diet high in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods (like turmeric) you’ll be able to train harder, more effectively and more efficiently in a given time period.
- Essential Oils…? – These oils have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and honestly if it weren’t for some really positive personal uses I wouldn’t suggest them. But you can take a look at essential oils as a method to recovery.
Need more info…?
- Magnesium helps with strength and aerobic power. Magnesium may speed recovery and help protect you from inflammation due to how it regulates gene expression.
- BCAAs have been popular for a long time! It took awhile for the science to catch up to their effectiveness, but they help by decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis. They also are thought to boost the immune system.
- Turmeric is an Ultra Endurance Secret…Those hardcore endurance athletes know how to recover because, well, it’s an absolute necessity. Apparently, they have been using Turmeric due to the curcumin found in the spice and it can REALLY aid in the recovery process.
Anything else I can do in fitness and recovery? OH YEA!
Alright, ready for the more advanced stuff?
If you have the basic understanding of recovery down; i.e. you have good sleep and nutrition habits and you are supplementing as necessary to optimize your recovery you may want to take it to the next level.
Well, there is a next level, but it can get kind of crazy. But, hey I want to give you all the better-human recovery options possible!
Recovery Action Steps
- The Marc Pro – The Marc Pro is an Electrical Muscle Stimulation Machine (EMS) for Muscle Recovery. Using a machine like this will enhance post exercise recovery in the normalization of tissue through the movement of nourishment and waste.
- Hyperthermic Conditioning – Acclimating your body to heat stress by intermittent whole-body hyperthermia which can increase nutrient delivery to muscles…and about a million other positive benefits.
Need more info…?
- An EMS can actually help you grow new blood vessels! A published research study showed a significant increase in limb blood flow during the first application of Marc Pro technology. After a three-week period of using Marc Pro five days per week, limb blood flow increased markedly more upon application. This additional increase or reserve was possible because the consistent use resulted in new additional vessels in the area (angiogenesis) giving more capacity to the region.
- Getting hot is AMAZING for you! Hyperthermic training can increase muscle hypertrophy by preventing protein degradation and enhance endurance and time to exhaustion. Now, be safe with this one! If you really want to learn more about this topic listen to this podcast:
And that’s recovery!
If you have any tips, tricks or supplements you think should be added to this article, please leave a comment below!