Recovery is as important as your workouts. You apply stress to your body when you exercise and you get fitter only when your body recovers and adapts to that stress. Recovery is vital to getting the most from the effort you put in and to getting you refreshed and ready to go next time. Poor recovery reduces your ability to perform and increases your risk of injury. It is important to remember this, especially in today’s “no pain, no gain” “go hard or go home” world where the loudest message on social media seems to be that you have to kill yourself in every workout. Here are my top 3 tips for recovery that cost next to nothing.
Hydrate For Recovery
Hydration is vital for recovery. Your body is made up of around 70% water and it is important to maintain good hydration. Hydration for recovery serves to replace lost fluid, mainly from sweating, so that your body has the water and minerals necessary to run repairs and remove waste from muscles etc. Aim to pass fairly pale urine within a couple of hours or two to three visits to the loo. Plain water is good, but I like to improve absorption with my sea salt and lemon drink. Sip this mix slowly during your cool down. You can find my recipe here and how I put this recipe to good use here.
Delay Eating For Better Recovery
The advice to drink protein shakes and stuff your face immediately after exercise is largely flawed. Not to mention, most of this advice comes from the brands selling sports nutrition products. Think about it; when you exercise huge amounts of blood are diverted away from your digestive system to supply the working muscles and to your skin for cooling. The last thing you want to do when you stop exercising is dump a ton of food into your ill prepared stomach. This does not make for good digestion and may result in gut distress. In addition, as your stomach tries to reclaim blood for digestion, the muscles are deprived of much needed blood for their recovery. It is a worst-of-both scenario. This is why you often just don’t fancy eating straight after exercise. Simply wait 45-60 mins before enjoying your favourite post exercise meal or nutritional shake (3 great recipes here).
Take A Recovery Bath
Sometimes you need to shower quickly and get to work. When you have competed or trained really hard, make time for a ten minute recovery salt bath. I am really into magnesium rich salts like Epsom Salt, pure magnesium flakes, Himalayan salt and Dead Sea salt. They do not cost very much and are so worth it. Magnesium is absorbed through your skin where it competes for the stuff that causes fatigue and cramps (Calcium ions) and replenishes your own stores of magnesium. Read my review of these recovery salts here.
Finish your salt bath with a quick cold rinse. Quick cooling causes a constriction in superficial blood vessels which assists in the removal of waste products from the area. Shortly after, fresh blood floods the area to warm you up and nourish the muscles. This is also a great way to aid recovery of your nervous system as well your muscles.
With these quick and easy recovery tips you can get more from your training and get back out there fresher than ever. Tell me in the comments section below how you get on with these recovery tips and share your favourite, low cost tricks.