The key to getting results from exercise is to impose enough stimulus to cause an adaptation. That’s science-speak for work hard enough to make your body respond by becoming stronger, faster, leaner, more flexible, or whatever the goal is of the particular exercise you’re doing. The secret to achieving AMAZING results is being able to consistently impose higher and higher demands so your body continues to adapt into a version of yourself that is stronger, leaner, faster, and capable of more than you ever dreamed possible!
However, this “adaptation” doesn’t occur during the training session. It occurs while you’re RECOVERING from the training session. If you are pushing heavy weights to get stronger, challenging your flexibility in an area that’s really tight, or even learning a new skill for your sport, you are stressing out your body. This stress can lead to the amazing results you want if you prioritize proper recovery. However, if you keep working harder and neglect the recovery process, it WILL catch up to you. It’s just a question of WHEN and HOW. Neglecting recovery can lead to injury, burnout, poor performance, weight gain, fatigue, moodiness, and brain fog...just to name a few of the possible negative outcomes.
At BTY, we believe that you need to recover just as hard as you train! Here are 5 ways you can speed up your recovery and get the most out of your workouts:
The harder you drive he machine, the more maintenance you need. And just like a car, if you don’t keep up with the maintenance of your body it is going to break down at some point. Regular soft tissue work is immensely beneficial for keeping your joints healthy and helping your muscles bounce back more quickly from intense activity.
Sleep is ESSENTIAL for optimal recovery. You can be doing everything else correctly, but if you’re not getting the QUANTITY or QUALITY of sleep you need you’re fighting an uphill battle. A lot of recovery, restoration, and memory storage happens in the Deep and REM phases of sleep. Here are some tips to make sure you’re spending an adequate amount of time in these phases during sleep. -blue light -no sleep aid -light and activity early in the day -cut caffeine at noon -sleep in as cold and as dark a room as possible
Eat Carbs and Protein
You can’t achieve optimal results with sub-optimal nutrition. There is more to food than just calories. The food you eat is your fuel. The better quality fuel you put in, the better results you will get. An intense workout actually breaks down your muscle tissue and depletes the sugar stores in your muscles. If you want to bounce back quickly and perform at the same intensity as soon as possible, you need to give your body the tools it needs to rebuild the muscles and replenish the sugar stores. After an intense workout, it is important to get a good quality protein to help rebuild the muscles and a good quality carbohydrate to refill the sugar stores. Animal protein will provide the most complete protein source. Fruit, potatoes, or white rice will provide the best post-workout carb source. In this post workout window we actually want to spike blood sugar and insulin in order to quickly drive the sugar into the muscles. It’s unhealthy to have your blood sugar and insulin high all of the time, but this is one scenario where it is ideal. A whey protein shake with a sugary fruit (i.e. banana) is great post workout. You can also get your post workout meal from real food like chicken and white rice.
In order to keep pushing your body hard, you need to make sure you also keep your body moving well. Sticking with the car analogy, mobility work is like rotating your tires and re-aligning your car. A daily mobility routine is a great way to keep your body moving well and feeling good. It will also allow you to notice when you’re joints don’t feel great so you can address the small issues before they become big ones. Mobility work isn’t always the most “fun” thing to do, but without it you won’t be able to do the fun stuff as much as you’d like. Set aside a time every day to do some mobility work. Anything is better than nothing. And the more targeted it is to your needs, the more benefits your will receive!
Studies have shown that if you’re dehydrated by 1% of your body weight (which is negligible), it can decrease your mental and physical performance by 25%!!! That’s a substantial impact for just drinking a few extra cups of water. Remember, the key to getting results is increasing intensity and frequency of exercise over time without getting injured. When you can’t perform at your peak, you can’t push yourself hard enough to get optimal results. And if you do try to push yourself past your limit, it could lead to an injury that will set back your progress. By the time you realize you’re dehydrated, it’s too late. It’s hard to make up for dehydration in the middle of a sporting event or activity. It’s best to try to get ahead of the game by making sure you’re always drinking enough water. Finally, hydration requires more than just water. Electrolytes are super important, also, especially if you’ve been sweating a lot. Unfortunately, many electrolyte drinks are packed full of sugar and fake ingredients that won’t help your performance. Look for an electrolyte replacement that comes from a real food source with minimal added ingredients. At BTY, we love NOOMA as our electrolyte drink! It is real food based, low in sugar, packed with nutrients, and tastes great!
Recovery is essential for getting the most out of your hard work! Many people think “recovery” is just sitting around and doing nothing. Eventually you will recover with this approach, but by taking charge and actively recovering you will recover better and faster. These 5 tips listed above are cheap, low hanging fruit that will lead to huge results. Make them as much of a priority as the gym!