Recovery is important. If we dont recover, we dont get better. If we dont get better, our motivation is going to take a hit. If we loose motivation its going to make training hard. So lets recover well so we can get the most out of ourselves!
Top 6 Recovery Essential
#6: Warming up/Cooling down
Sounds simple and to some probably pretty boring... Lets face it, the warm up is never really as much fun as throwing around heavy weights, hitting a new personal best or getting that endorphin hit from a solid workout! BUT, if you want to move heavy weights, you wont to be able to train to hit new personal bests and get your daily dose of endorphins day in and day out well into the future, then you have to look after your body.
A proper warm up gets the heart pumping, stimulates the central nervous system, provides fluid flow through the joints, can restore range of motion, help relieve muscle sorness and prepare you for whatever the session has to bring
A cool down helps to eliminate toxins that may have developed during training. It helps flush the 'bad stuff' away and make room from the 'good stuff'. A cool down is the perfect oportunity increase range of motion. Muscles and joints are generally more 'giving' and easier to stretch after working out.
#5: Lack of Movement
"Its my rest day!!! Thank the CrossFit Gods! My legs feel like they've been run over by cement truck. My back is so tight it has the flexibility of a bus stop and my biceps are so sore I cant scratch my face! Im going to plonk myslelf in front of the TV and watch seasons 1 through 10 of Friends. Tomorrow I'll feel as good as the combined genetic mutant child of Rich Froning and Camille!" - Um... no.
The body is designed to move. Being proactive with your recovery day's can help the recovery process. Ever heard of an 'Active Recovery'? An Active Recovery is low stress activity that, simply put, get the body moving through range, gets the blood flowing but minises breakdown of tissue. There's also this thing called the 'Lymphatic System'. Our Lymphatic system is like our Circulatory System (heart, arteries, veins, capillaries etc), but is more like the 'drainage system' of the human body. Our lymphatic system however does not have an active pump like heart, instead it pumps all of our waste product (that is too big for our circulatory system to manage) by the contraction of muscles around it. Movement = drainage. So recover hard. Get moving outside. Go for a bike ride, swim, bush walk etc. The most damaging thing you can do is nothing!
Now I know we're talking about 'stressors', but here I mean emotional and physiological stressors. The body is essentually one big on going chemical reaction. It is governed by the nervous sytem which regualtes or hormones. Hormones do a great many things and like the nervous system play a vital role in our day to day life. If any aspect of this becomes unbalanced then it can greatly affect our ability to recover. Every day stress from work, relationships money etc can put the body for example in a continued state of 'fight or flight'. This is one of the bodies natural defence mechanisms and greatly reduces the bodies aility to synthesis muscle protein, can affect hunger and digestion, suppresses the immune system and more. Having a balanced stress free life and training environment can go a long way to maximisng your recovery.
Food is important. You eat something that doesnt agree with you, you get sick. Now thats an extreme, but selecting quality foods can help keep you healthy, replenished and feeling on top of your game. These days there is loads of information available; Paleo diet, zone, atkins etc... The best thing you can do is find what works for you. Some people are coeliac's and cant eat any gluten, some are just gluten intolerant and susceptability varies from person to person. Some are lactose intolarant, some allergic to sea food etc etc... Some people may have intolorances and it may not even be severe enough for them to notice. The best thing you can do is elimination and see what makes you feel better or worse.
Supplements? Sure! If you cant get the right combination or Protein, fats and carbs into your belly after a tough workout, then protein shake suited for your goals is ideal
We're 2/3 water. If we dont drink we get dehydrated. Every cell in our body is made up of water, so even slight dehydration is going to have an adverse effect on our performance and recovery. Water is one of the most under rated supplement, but its one of the most abundant. Drink plenty of water after a workout and you'll be better for it!
You dont sleep, you will die. Probably a little harsh, but it gets you thinking yeah? Our bodies can go longer without water and food than it can without sleep. Sleep is the number one time the body to repaire itself. A good quality uninterupted sleep in a pitch black room for approx 7-8.5hours is proven to be ideal for the majority of the population. Getting enough sleep each night will allow you to reset. Your mental and hormonal health will thank you and body can be left to repair and recover from the stress you placed on it throughout the day. get them ZZZZZ's!