With the new year, most of us have gone from very little training to spiking back to our normal exercise regimes back! Woo! Routine! How good!
Maybe you were part of the minority and maintained your normal routine over holidays... if so, congratulations! However in my travels over the last weeks, we’ve done absolutely JACK over the Silly Season, meaning the body is probably screaming for some decent recovery and better understanding of what that actually means. So before the shin splits and strains start walking into the gym and asking for alternate exercises, here is what you need to know about the BASICS of recovery:
FFARMS (Fluid, Food, Active Recovery, Massage, Stretching)
Dehydration carries a huge risk of injury & research shows that a decrement of just 1% can lead to losses in performance! A simple way to tell if you’re dehydrated is urine colour, where a faint colour or clear is well hydrated and deep orange/yellow is dehydrated.
Adequate recovery food will not only optimise your recovery, but also optimise subsequent performances in the gym or on the field. This obviously varies per person and not being a registered dietitian or nutritionist, I can only make general recommendations, however, the best thing you can do is consume a palm-sized piece of meat, a handful of complex carbs (not straight sugar, be smart) and a considerable amount of vegetables. Or, go for a protein shake, or a serve of chobani and fresh fruit.. The options are endless.
This means yoga, a light/deload session or maybe just a couple of KM walk around your neighbourhood in that dangerous DOMS zone (24-48 hours post exercise). It allows the metabolic byproducts to flush out of the muscle and introduces new fresh blood to the muscle, encouraging recovery from the microtears and trauma caused by loading your body.
Massage can be great for two parts.
1. To remove tone from tight muscles, flush out metabolic waste products and generally improve your mobility
2. Physical touch, in a kind, caring way, has been shown to improve parasympathetic nervous system function, reduce stress and aid
Stretching, similar to massage, can remove tone from tight muscles, flush out metabolic waste products and, again, generally improve your mobility. This means trigger point therapy, foam rolling and moving through chilled movement flows, such as yoga or animal flow.
The biggest take away we want to reiterate is that all the tools you need for adequate recovery are right in your own home & will hardly break the bank! Forget cryotherapy, buying tonnes of ice, weekly massages (unless you want that, we definitely see the intrigue!) and expensive electrode technology - do the basics damn well and spend your money elsewhere.
But I do love a good ice bath experience ;)