We all want fast results, but gaining fitness and strength isn’t all about work. When you workout energy stores are depleted, and muscles and tissues are broken down. Taking time to rest renews your body for better results, and workouts. Here are a few important considerations for your recovery plan.
1) Schedule Recovery Workouts.
Schedule rest into your week, to ensure you’re getting the recovery you need. With adequate recovery, you’ll have enough energy to give your best effort on hard days.
You can vary intensity and length of workouts from day to day. For example, maybe some days are hard days, some are medium, and some are easy- this variety will give your body time to rest while still remaining active.
At a minimum, I recommend at least one day of complete rest per week, along with 1 or 2 active rest days sprinkled in. Active rest might include light walking or jogging, as well as active stretching or yoga.
Drinking adequate amounts of water is critical to energy, recovery, performance, and health. In a study done by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), it is suggested that drinking a few cups of water (500 mL) prior to a workout, as well as a cup of water every 15-20 minutes of exercise, will help maintain adequate levels of hydration throughout a workout.
It’s even important to hydrate after exercise. Due to excess fluid loss in sweat, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) recommends drinking 16 oz. of water for every pound lost during exercise. After a longer workout (60 min +) in intense heat, a sports drink with electrolytes and carbohydrates is recommended in addition to water in order to refill diminished electrolyte and glycogen stores.
Somedays our bodies feel GREAT, and somedays we feel tight in places we didn’t even know existed! Don’t worry this is normal. Stretching can help correct these muscle imbalances, by lengthening tight muscles.
In order to get a good stretch- take your time! I recommend 1-3 sets of a 30 second hold on each stretch. For more specifics on stretching, check out this blog.
4) Foam Rolling.
Foam Rolling is another great recovery tool. It can be used to attack knots, and relax tight muscles. The idea is that a tight muscle is one that is overactive, when you put pressure (similar to massage) on these tight spots it activates a receptor that relaxes this overactive muscle.
When foam rolling, the general consensus is: roll around on an area to workout the whole muscle and determine which spots are the most tender. Then, apply pressure to the tightest spots for 30 seconds, or until pressure is relieved.
We hope you have gotten a few ideas from this article to include in your training plan! We want the PK community to be balanced. Please don’t forget that rest- mentally and physically- is just as important as work and play.