Recovery. We all need it, but we don’t really take it seriously. We live for the gym and the addictive high it gives us. It’s impossible to go out and feel amazing or sexy when you’ve skipped your workout that day.
Those of us who are 110% committed find it so hard to take that needed day off. Often the excuse is at least one body part is always resting. Legs on Monday, so then anything goes for Tuesday, and the cycle continues. Suddenly its 35 days at the gym without a day off, and our body isn’t happy. We need to fuel correctly to exert energy and burn maximum calories efficiently. But what’s equally important is all those body parts we work so hard to improve also need their time to rest and recover properly.
“No pain no gain” is a saying we all love, and it’s true! That two-day post-workout soreness can be a celebration, but it can also be immobilizing with the thought of the stairs as a worst nightmare. But strength and muscle gains do also happen off the gym floor; its called recovery! When you can’t climb those stairs, your body is talking to you, so listen.
An injury time out is way longer than a day off from the gym. If we can’t take that one day off per week, here are a few ways to cheat around working out seven days a week and still do our best to recover quickly.
No-one sleeps enough! But the best thing to do is sleep more. Our muscles need to relax just like our minds. They will listen better in the morning if they’re taken care of the night before. Performance on exhaustion can never compete with one that’s rested. It’s a no-brainer.
Music is also an incredible way to relax. Play something that calms you down after your workout. Create a “cool-down” list on your iPod. Go stretch and breathe. We all love our pump-up tunes to work out, so also fall in love with the ones that help your heart rate calm down.
We are what we eat! Increase your protein all day long. We need protein in the morning to fuel up for the day, and when we are full, we crave less. If you are not a morning person, then including even a little protein before you hit the gym helps to repair and strengthen damaged muscles.
Drink a protein shake or have a protein-rich meal after you work out to help you refuel and recover throughout the rest of the day. Add in some extra protein before bed and give your body nutrients to rest on. Going to sleep hungry never works. Another dinner isn’t necessary, but a few slices of deli meat minus the bread, some mixed nuts or even some veggies with hummus can help us refuel and recover.
We are what we drink, too! Chocolate milk is a sweet, healthy treat that should be taken advantage of more often. It’s great after the gym or when racing from here to there. Low-fat chocolate milk provides double the protein, helps to improve muscle recovery, keeps us hydrated, and we could all use more calcium.