Are you looking to enhance your recovery? Optimal recovery post-workout, training, or event is vital for short and long term performance. Take a look at these simple steps you can implement right now to optimize your recovery.
6 Steps to Optimal Recovery
If you’re an athlete, you know about the importance of warming up pre-event or workout. This is especially true the older you get. Cooling down is also just as important to help metabolize biochemical byproducts and assist your body tissues and systems in reaching homeostasis. Cooling down also decreases post-workout tension, soreness, and prolonged elevated stress hormones.
“You are what you eat” and “food is thy medicine” are popular sayings that show how much nutrition plays a role in our health. Inflammatory foods can hinder recovery processes, especially when intense exercise such as weight lifting, sprinting, or sports can lead to temporary tissue breakdown. A systemic level of inflammation in the body will only reduce the bodies ability to heal and recover as well as perform at an optimal level. Whole and organic foods are ideal for recovery being nutrient-rich and low-inflammatory (if prepared properly, such as soaking grains and lentils). I personally eat a whole foods paleo diet limiting sugar, processed foods, and inflammatory foods such as nightshades, wheat, and most dairy. Raw unpasteurized cheeses digest well, soaked and slow-steamed rice, and a range of healthy fats and protein from plant and animal sources fit my body well. But this has developed over many years of trial and error and different seasons of life.
Sleep is a no-brainer when it comes to recovery with everyone needing on average 6-10 hours of sleep, 7-8 being typical. When we get deep, restful sleep our bodies drain lymph from the brain, regenerate tissue, and process mentally and emotionally. If your sleep is off, try to have your last meal 3 hours before bedtime, limiting screen time and bright lights, and use this time to foam roll, stretch, read a book, and unwind from the day. Meditation, prayer, and conversation with a loved one can help decompress before sleep.
Supplements like creatine, BCAA’s, glutamine, collagen, curcumin, magnesium, EPA/DHA, HMB, and electrolytes are just some popular examples that can improve athletic performance, healing, and recovery. Athletes will utilize and potentially deplete vital nutrients even if their diet is sound. Many Americans are nutrient deficient due to food quality diminishing. High-quality supplements can be ordered at a significant discount directly on my Fullscript page. Not all supplements are created equally. Look for brands that are cGMP certified and reputable. The supplement industry is not highly regulated so be careful when ordering products from private sellers or from China. The risk is contaminated products with heavy metals or dead nutrients.
As an LMT and Personal Trainer, I love empowering others to utilize the power of foam rolling, stretching, massage, acupuncture, PEMF, and stress-management skills. Not all modalities work for everyone, but it is worth trying out some of them to see what works for your body and routine.
Hot and cold therapy has been used for centuries to help people heal and recover. The cold plunge is growing in popularity due to its ability to effect cellular metabolize, reduce inflammation, and decrease pain. There is nothing as refreshing as a cold plunge in alpine water after a long hot trek in the mountains!
I hope this short list of ideas help you optimize your recovery. If you have any others that have particularly helped you, please leave a comment below!