What is Recovery?
Rest and recovery are essential aspects of your workout routine. The recovery phases of your daily, weekly, and monthly routines can have as big of impact on your results and the workout itself. Most studies suggest that a muscle may need anywhere from 24-48 hours to repair and rebuild itself to be ready for another workout or performance. Overworking the muscles can result in breakdown of the muscle and even injuries. However, if you add on various types of recovery into your workout, you can optimize the recovery of your muscles and be ready to go for your next workout or performance.
Rest and sleep are probably the most important aspects to incorporate into your recovery regimen. Most sleep experts recommend the standard 8 hours of sleep for your body to be at its optimal performance. If you are an athlete or workout very often, most studies suggest that anywhere between 7-10 hours is recommended for the best recovery. Obviously, we may not all be able to sleep a full 10 hours, but time is the ultimate recovery technique. Our bodies can take incredible care of itself and heal the muscles post workout with enough time.
Drinking water isn't just something for during your workout. During your workout, you sweat, which takes more liquid from your body that you may think. Most of our blood and muscular system is water, so replenishing your body with the necessary liquids is key to recovery. Water is also incredibly important because it is also a transport system within your body to help get the proper nutrients to your muscles. A good way to tell if you are well hydrated is the color of your urine (more yellow = drink more water).
The food you eat will have a major impact on how your body performs and grows, and your diet and nutritional input should reflect what your goals are and what your workout regimen is as well. For example, if you are trying to add more muscle, your diet may include more protein rich foods like chicken, where as someone trying to lose weight and trim may be looking for more vegetables. The easiest way to ensure your diet aligns with your goals is to plan your meals ahead of time to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients to fuel your body and aid in the proper recovery.
Stretching and Foam Rolling
Stretching tight areas can help alleviate pain and help with blood flow. Having flexible muscles can also result in fewer injuries overall. Try changing up your stretches as well to constantly improve your flexibility and mobility.
Unfortunately, some ailments aren't always helped by stretching and need some extra pressure to help work out. That's where foam rolling comes in. Foam rolling can help loosen tight muscles where stretching may not. The deep compression of the troubled areas can help break up or relax those tight muscles.
An ice bath can help flush waste, which will help reduce swelling and tissue breakdown following a tough workout. When you get our of an ice bath, your blood will warm back to normal levels and increase the blood flow speed, which will speed up the recovery process to bring the proper nutrients to your body.
A massage via a professional masseuse or a massage chair can not only help your body fully relax, but it can also improve your circulation. The improved circulation will increase blood flow, helping boost transport of nutrients to your muscles.