You’re on the mats day in day out, training hard every session. But what about recovery? Are you doing enough to look after your body? If you want to get the most out of every training session, you need to prioritise recovery. Here are my six tips from methods I use to maximise recovery so I can make continuous long-term progress and stay injury free.
1. Break barriers, not your body
Exceeding your comfort zone is a good thing, you should constantly seek new challenges in order to make progress. However, there is a point where you begin to do more harm than good as annihilating your body every training session increases the likelihood of becoming over-trained.
Over-training occurs when excessive stress is applied to the body through exercise because of this your athletic performance is likely to suffer due to both strength and endurance becoming diminished.
To avoid over-training it’s important that you listen to your body and adapt your training accordingly. Reducing the intensity of your training session is the easiest way to prevent over-training. Instead, focus on drilling and technique over hard sparring.
2. Food for thought
It’s no secret that what you eat influences your body’s ability to recover efficiently. Aim to eat predominantly healthy meals consisting of a high-quality protein source, complex carbohydrates and good fats.
Eating nutrient dense food ensures that the body has the correct materials available to repair tissue damage which arises from training.
Personally, I eat around 3-4 times a day depending on my training schedule, making sure that I eat a well-balanced meal around 2 hours before training so that I have sufficient energy without experiencing digestive issues.
Example pre-workout meal I use:
• 40g Oatmeal
• 1 full Banana
• 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
3. H2…Oh really?
Drinking water during your training session is one thing, but are you getting enough water outside the gym?
Drinking enough water is vital to optimise recovery. When you exercise you apply stress to your muscles which causes tissue breakdown, your body then utilises protein synthesis to rebuild the damaged tissue. To carry out this process efficiently; the muscle tissue must be hydrated. Therefore, a lack of water intake will result in slower recovery time.
4. Perhaps sleep isn’t for the weak after all
Most adults require between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. However, I’m sure we have all been guilty of staying up into the early hours; scrolling through social media or binge-watching a Netflix series. This, however, has a negative impact on your body’s restorative abilities which will result in slower recovery.
It may be hard in the beginning to break the habit of late nights, but trust me a good nights sleep makes a huge difference. You’ll wake up with more energy, reduced soreness and feel ready for your next training session.
5. Take an active approach to recovery
Something I’ve implemented into my routine is active recovery. Active recovery promotes blood flow to the muscles which reduces soreness. Muscle tightness can also be relieved by incorporating activities such as stretching or yoga.
Here’s what I include on my “rest” day(s):
- Foam rolling
- Light cardio (jog)
I focus mostly on yoga as I’ve found it to have the most benefit in relieving tightness and soreness experienced in the morning after an intense training session. Similarly, foam rolling complements yoga as it also relieves tightness and improves mobility.
6. Take the plunge!
Cold water immersion is something you’ll either love or hate. Either way, you’ll never totally get used to it. However, it’s a great way to speed up recovery post-workout. The theory behind using a cold water bath is that swelling and tissue breakdown is reduced so you’ll experience less soreness.
If you didn’t already know, hopefully now you have a better understanding of recovery including why it’s a key component of any training programme. Whatever your fitness goal, incorporating these tips into your routine will take your recovery game to the next level! Do you have any tips or tricks you use to aid your recovery? Let me know in the comments below.
Any questions? Get in touch below: