Are you recovering as hard as you train? Part 2
Are you recovering as hard as you train?
We all give 100% in our training and focus on pushing those boundaries and trusting the process. But are you consciously thinking about your lifestyle outside of the gym? Are you recovering as hard as you train? Do you feel fresh when you enter the gym? Or are you constantly lethargic and broken?
Here͛s 8 tips to help give you the best chance of progressing.
1. Diet (Part 1) 2. Hydration (Part 1) 3. Stretching / Mobility (Part 1) 4. Sleeping (Part 1) 5. Sports Massage 6. Supplements 7. Bathing 8. Sex
Like mobility and stretching, these are very similar. Normally sought after when a niggle starts to appear or injury starts. GET IT SORTED. If you have a niggle or start to feel an injury coming on, don͛t bury your head in the sand. Guess what, its not going to go away. Its not going to magically heal. Its just going to get worse. Seek professional help and get it fixed.
Increase flexibility and range of motion Improve circulation of blood and lymph, to increase flow of nutrients to cells (muscles, organs, connective tissue & skin), accelerating recovery from fatigue, injury or operation, relieving congestion and improving regeneration Improve muscle tone Relieve soreness, tension and stiffness Relieve restlessness and insomnia, helping to develop a more restful sleep pattern Relieve constipation (through abdominal massage) Reduce pain and swelling, and prevents or delays muscular atrophy, resulting from inactivity caused by injury, age, surgery, or illness Reduce symptoms of depression Break down or prevent scar tissue and other inter-tissue adhesions (knots) Decrease inflammation and restriction in connective tissue Lower blood pressure, and can help reduce your heart rate Stimulate the immune system to help increase resistance to attacks, and assist in speeding recovery from illness, and regulate our hormones Stimulate the release of endorphins (the body͛s natural painkiller) to help decrease chronic pain Promote deeper and easier breathing Engage our nervous system to help switch from our ͚fight or flight͛ state into a calmer state
Supplements can be a very specific subject depending on the individual in question. So please feel free to get in touch directly with your needs. But for everyone else, general advice. Here͛s a statement – If you are getting your daily amount of protein through food, you do not NEED protein shakes. Protein shakes are convenient and handy for those unable to eat the correct amount of protein from food sources. They are also handy for those unable to physically eat the amount of calories needed for their body per day. Also for those that have a sweet tooth and use them as a treat. So you may not NEED them, but you may WANT them. For everyone else, don͛t think shakes are the magic formula to success. With all supplements, this is an accessory to compliment all the other points I have mentioned.
Recommended supplements for daily use, for life, for health and for recovery : 1. High strength Omega 3 2. High strength multivitamin
Bathing – WHAT THE F*** ???
Cold therapy. Yes, thats right, ice baths! Or cold baths if you don͛t have unlimited supply of ice. The cold tap in your house or shower will be low enough sufficient temperature to create an impact. Now, there is science for and against this. Studies supporting it and studies against it. Purely from my own experience, I am a advocate. When training has ramped up in the past for fights, training with the marines, plus other challenges, I͛ve used cold baths with great results. Leaving me feeling refreshed and alert. The theory behind ice baths is that your body feels under attack and goes into survival mode. Its uncomfortable. Its not pleasant. Your body knows this. It tries to protect your organs and keep them warm by flushing blood and heat to these areas. In order to this, capillaries in the muscles restrict, forcing them to flush out toxins in the muscle to organs, in which case they can be excreted. It can also assist with recovery of injuries, in reducing inflammation of injured area resulting in less pain in most cases. Relating to sleep – Your body temperature is massive in how well you sleep. Remember those hot summer nights tossing and turning because your too hot, restless. Well yeah, that͛s not a good night͛ s sleep. Cooling down your body before going to sleep will assist in allowing you to drift off without being agitated from being too hot. Plus, on another note, being in a cold shower and getting into a comfortable bed is AMAZING! Try it and get back to me!
Better nights sleep = Better Recovery
How many of you skipped the whole article and came to this point? Be honest! How does sex effect recovery? Surely that͛s more exercise Chris! Maybe not, here we go :
Taken from Testosterone nation on the effects :
We can be pretty certain that sex works as a rest and recovery aid. Orgasm is one of the most relaxing activities on the planet. We don't need the science to tell us how rewarding a good sexual release can be, but happily the science supports our intuition.
The post-orgasm changes to the brain are highly relaxing (said to resemble heroin). Dopamine levels fall and serotonin levels rise. This is the hallmark of a satiated and relaxed physiology. We could imagine less cravings, more psychological wellbeing, less mental worry, and a greater focus on the present moment.
The hormonal activity also supports rest and relaxation. Stress hormones, including cortisol, are generally shown to be lower (the cortisol response may be variable, especially in women). Oxytocin levels are elevated and can remain high with plenty of post-coital cuddling. This makes us feel supported, suppresses cravings, and gives an overall sense of wellbeing. The biggest impact is prolactin, which is far more pronounced in men. This is likely the major factor involved in the ability to easily fall asleep after orgasm and why men suffer this stereotype more than women. As mentioned, some lines of research hint that the transitory spike in prolactin has a positive impact on testosterone, while chronically high prolactin does not.
All of this makes sexual activity an ideal recovery method for those who are subjecting their bodies to elevated training stress.