Fact: Recovery is the cornerstone for ensuring you achieve results.
I personally don’t measure results in lost inches or pounds on the scale. I’m talking more about results such as the overall positive feelings in your life, such as feeling less stressed, feeling stronger and enjoying your life to the fullest.
When embarking on a fitness journey, you want to train hard to maximize your exercise time while progressively building your strength, stamina and mental fortitude. You can also take this approach with the other big things in your life, whether it’s your career, your relationships or the general outlook in your day-to-day. You want to feel good in your body and your mind, and this affects how you show up in the world.
In order to do this effectively, you need to embrace recovery.
If I’m being honest, it took me a long time to understand what this means in my own life. I’m lucky that I’ve had the time and means to experiment with this until I reached an understanding on how recovery fits into my life.
Below, I’ve listed some easy steps to help you build recovery in your life as well.
1. Foam Rolling
The easiest and most inexpensive way to help keep your body from experiencing aches and pains? Foam rolling! Or as I jokingly to call it, “the poor man’s massage”.
It’s truly an accessible and simple way to keep your body feeling properly recovered from strength training. I strongly suggest that you acquire a foam roller (you can find some great ones on Amazon) and work it into your routine. While I’m not suggesting you don’t need to see a massage therapist, it’s a great tool to use for muscle relaxation in between your usual RMT visits.
For those of you new to foam rolling, check out my 2-minute foam rolling video for beginners here.
2. Cool Down
Almost as important as your actual workout is cooling down after it! Take a short walk, stretch and roll. It’s crucial to relax your nervous system after physically taxing your body. This allows your mind to calm down from the high intensity and will help you feel more relaxed for the rest of your day.
This a big one, folks! Try to aim for at least 7 solid hours of sleep every night. Create a routine that will help you shut down as best you can. I completely understand and recognize that there are points in your life where powering down right before bed may not work or be realistic, but these phases are usually temporary. It’s important get a system in place that will help you relax your mind at night so that when your head hits the pillow, you can easily fall fast asleep!
Your body gets up to all sorts of amazing things when you’re not awake, including tissue growth and repair, energy restoration and memory retaining, which all support and optimize your daytime performance.
Bonus — sleep can also help reduce your appetite because your brain is less likely to be starved for energy, which could help you nix those mid-afternoon cookie cravings.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: drinking water helps your body lubricate its joints, transport nutrients throughout your body, helps build and repair muscles, flushes out toxins… I could literally go on forever about the benefits of staying hydrated, but I’ll cap it right now with this: Drink your water, people!
5. Recovery Shake
Incorporating protein and carbs after your training session is a great way to help fuel the muscles you worked out and get your energy levels back up. Ultimately, it will also stop you from craving sugary foods because you’ve replenished your energy levels. Check out one of my favourite smoothie recipes here!
But the most important recovery tip of them all…
Rest and Recovery Day!
Your rest day is key. You need to incorporate days where you rest your body from all the physical activity you do. Think about it, not only are you working on your fitness (and if you’re new to this, congratulations! You are awesome at taking this step towards achieving your best life.) You need to allow your body time to heal from this in order to be stronger the next time you workout.
And I don’t mean take a lot of time off. I mean one day, maybe you focus on just laying down and reading, lighting a candle, taking a bath with epsom salts. Whatever makes you feel like you have recharged from a physical and mental perspective is the key for optimal recovery. Not only will you come back to your fitness stronger but you will prevent injury and burnout! It’s a total win-win.
I hope these suggestions have given you some new ideas on how you can build recovery into your routine. Please let me know if you try them, and how they work for you! What are some other ways you practise recovery? Let me know in the comments!