However, our aim is to minimise the amount of soreness we carry so that we may continue to train regularly and enjoy our health and fitness.
So what are the key aspects of recovery to bring this about?
When you use your muscles (for both cardio & resistance training), you create small tears that need to be repaired so that you can grow stronger and fitter. These micro-tears are a normal part of the training process. The other half of the improvement equation is feeding your muscles what they need to repair and grow. Most people are aware that protein plays a massive role in feeding and maintaining muscle but other nutrients (macro and micro) have a role to play too.
Consuming the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat) in the right ratios and the right times is likely the most important nutritional dimension to your recovery.
In addition to the macronutrients, getting the right vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) into your system is also very important.
The types of foods you should eat – and when you should eat them – will vary considerably depending on your goals.
It’s a great idea to get a nutrition plan from Mind+Body reception in order to make this happen.
How often do we get a full, restful sleep of at least 8 hours? Pretty rarely, most people in our society would say.
What’s important to understand about sleep is that this is the time your body gets the nitty gritty of muscle repair done. In the gym your muscles are stimulated, and while you are sleeping they are repaired and improved.
If you cannot get sufficient sleep, you will not improve at the rate you wish.
In fact, insufficient sleep can lead to greater injury risk, too, as your fatigued muscles and central nervous system are training under duress.
A couple of strong tips for quality sleep: don’t drink alcohol as it strongly inhibits quality sleep (and muscle repair); don’t eat within the last few hours before bed; don’t have too much screen/television time prior to bed.
The way nutrients are delivered to our muscles is through our bloodstream. The phrase ‘active recovery’ has been prominent in the industry for several years now, and with good reason. In the same way that stretching can help alleviate stiffness and promote faster recovery, light, easy movement (such as walking, light yoga or light swimming) can make a big difference.
When our blood is spread evenly and consistently throughout our extremeties, the oxygen and nutrients needed for repair is available.
If you stay still for the day or two following a strong workout, expect to have longer soreness.
Perhaps the most well-known aspect of recovery, but done by few gym goers.
When our muscles have been trained properly, they shorten. They are likely to stay in a shortened state unless prompted to lengthen via stretching and movement.
When shortened, the blood supply is compromised, and hence recovery is much slower.
Short muscles also have a huge impact on our posture, so make the effort to stretch regularly and promote healthy posture and quick training recovery.
For more information on recovery protocols, please feel free to speak to the helpful staff at Mind + Body!