Train Hard, Recover Hard: How to Think About Workout Recovery
Recovery is just as important as the workout itself. Read that one more time.
Recovery is just as important as the workout itself. In our lives, we eat, sleep, train, and repeat, but where does recovery fall into that? Even if you are not an athlete, recovering from the stress of a long work day is also extremely important.
A lot of the time, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and forget to take a second to breathe.
Let’s take a step back, what exactly is recovery?
It is defined as “a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength”. When we are pushing our bodies to the max every day, we need to have a day or two in order to return to a normal and recovered state of health, mind, and strength.
There are many ways to make sure that we can recover properly both physically and mentally. When training hard, muscle recovery is critical to ensure fatigue does not set in and performance is not at cost.
This means that eating adequate carbohydrates Before and After
If the training lasts more than an hour, you might need to consume carbohydrates consumption during the workout to decrease fatigue. Foods like dried fruit, cereal, instant oatmeal, energy gels, rice cakes, light toast, and smoothies are some options. Additionally, carbohydrates after hard training are really important to ensure that your muscles replenish all the energy they just used.
Ideally, after a workout, try to consume a protein powder or a meal with a quick-acting carbohydrate and protein.
This will ensure you are getting both macronutrients (carbs and proteins) so your body can kick start that recovery. Protein consumption in cooperation with carbohydrates within an hour of exercise can promote muscle recovery and replenishment.
Similar to nutrition, your hydration is also something that needs to be replenished after a hard workout.
Having an awareness of how much your body sweats is a good indicator of how much you need to replenish with water and electrolytes (like Gatorade). Knowing if you are a heavy sweater or not, will let you know how much water to drink prior to exercise as well. Being properly hydrated helps your body regulate its temperature and allows you to move better.
After your workout, mobility is key to making sure that you do not get injured.
You must eat and drink properly, but if you are not giving your body the necessary attention and doing proper mobility exercises, recovery will be hard.
Using mobility tools like the lacrosse ball, the foam roller, massage guns, crossover symmetry, resistance bands, and body weight movements can help your body to move better in your next training session.
One of the final and most important aspects of recovery is sleep and relaxation. Sleep is so underrated, and I cannot count the number of people that get less than 8 hours of sleep a night. This amount of time to relax and recover is critical.
Muscles and tissues repair as we sleep, so if you’re not getting a sufficient amount of rest each night, it’s going to be harder for your body to recover from exercise.
If we are continually getting less sleep, this can further result in injury or poor performance.
As you can see, there are so many ways to improve recovery. Recovery is extremely important for performance and to make sure we are feeling our very best to continue training.
Some might consider devoting time to recovery as a weakness or that needing recovery is weak, but it's actually the opposite. Prioritizing recovery allows us to feel better and push even harder the next time we train
Ashleigh Angle, Snowbeast Performance