This post is about how to optimize yours sports recovery habits, so you can get the most out of your training routine. If you like this, make sure to get in touch over on my Facebook community, Holistic Health for the Avid Adventurer, where we cover topics just like this one. If you’re interested in strategic 1-1 support, you can also apply to work with me. I would love to work with you now or in the future! ~Katie
Your sports recovery habits are just as important as your active training time if you want to get the most out of your fitness routine. During your workout, you break down muscle tissue, deplete glycogen, and stress the body. In order to repair, rebuild, and grow new muscle, you need proper recovery, so you can build more strength and endurance.
Proper recovery is essential for every body, and if you find yourself sore for long periods of time, dealing with chronic injuries, and unmotivated to complete your workouts, you’re likely overtraining. It’s time to listen to your body and focus extra attention on rest and repair. Use the following tips to optimize your recovery periods.
Focus on Whole Food Nutrition
Muscles need protein and carbohydrate to recover. Protein repairs and rebuilds muscle fibers, while carbohydrates restore depleted glycogen stores. It’s also important to ensure you’re consuming enough calories, especially if you want to build muscle. Focus on whole food sources, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs, and lean meat. Eating whole foods helps you get adequate vitamins and minerals, which are essential for reducing inflammation and speeding recovery.
To properly recover, your body needs enough sleep, which is 7-9 hours for most adults. Inadequate sleep negatively impacts growth hormone production and insulin sensitivity. Optimize sleep through basic sleep hygiene, like cutting off stimulants after noon, sleeping in a dark, cool environment, limiting blue light exposure 1-2 hours before bed, and maintaining a consistent sleep and wake time.
Proper hydration can support recovery by helping you to digest the nutrients needed for the thousands of biochemical reactions in your body that keep you healthy. Furthermore, dehydration following a workout can slow the protein synthesis needed for muscle repair. Rehydrate after exercise by drinking 16 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. If you’re significantly dehydrated, consider adding an electrolyte mix, coconut water, or even a pinch of mineral salt to your water.
Engage in Rest Days + Active Recovery
Workout frequency is an important aspect of a proper sports recovery plan. Include at least 1 rest day per week and avoid working out the same muscle group two days in a row. Engaging in active recovery activities like gentle yoga, walking, stretching, and foam rolling can promote blood flow, help move waste products out of the body, and speed recovery.
Consider taking a dip in a cold lake or a plunge in an ice bath after workouts. Research has shown cold immersion to significantly reduce muscle soreness.
To get the most out of your workouts, remember that including optimal recovery techniques is just as important as the time you spend training!
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