by Coach Alisha
To all my superstars who come into the gym on a frequent basis and put everything into their workouts: I’m going to ask you a question that you probably have not been asked, BUT should be asked…
What are you doing to optimize your body for your workouts?
This question is one that many people do not consider. You go to the gym, you workout until a muscle is sore or you’re sweating out of your shirt…but then what?
I am going to introduce you to a concept that is rising in the world of fitness for the general population: RECOVERY.
Most of our population tend to focus on the workout itself. However, the recovery process is where the magic happens! Let’s begin with defining what recovery is, how it pertains to your workout routine, and how it can help you feel…
- Stronger, faster, and happier during workouts
- Improve performance during workouts
- Get you results faster and in a HEALTHIER way
Recovery is defined in the dictionary as, “a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength”. Return, in particular, is the focus when recovering from a hard gym session. The cardio, strength training, HIIT, CrossFit, and other gym routines take a toll on your muscles and cardiovascular system. Because these systems are broken down, they need replenishing to be built back up to normalcy. However, with the training you get even more than normalcy when you recover, you become more RESILIENT. This is why recovery is important to your overall performance. If you keep beating down an object without repair, it will not have the same strength as before. More importantly, the mental toll that overtraining can carry needs restoration in order to keep your motivation up in order to keep you in the gym more consistently.
So you may ask, what do I need to do to recover other than the obvious? Below is a list of all supplements that the fitness market has to offer:
- Beet Juice
- Sea Salt
- BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
- EAA’s (Essential Amino Acids)
- Fish Oil
But don’t get overwhelmed with buying unnecessary accessories. Let’s start with the basics. If I asked how much sleep you get on a daily basis, would you be confident in your answer? If I asked how you space your rest days between workouts, would you be confident in your weekly workout template? How about your nutrition? When fixing anything, it is important to master the basics before graduating to the big leagues. Here are a few tips regarding recovery that will be easy to implement:
- Build consistency day to day, go to bed at the same time to create a routine
- Sleep in cooler environments
- Darken the area you sleep in to optimize your natural circadian rhythm
- Create a pre-bed routine that involves less cell phone time (limit blue light) and entering into a parasympathetic state
- Take an Epsom salt bath before bed (I use them FREQUENTLY and swear by them)
2) Rest Days
- Adopt a “2 day on, 1 day off” approach to give yourself time to recover from hard workouts
- If that option does not work with your schedule, implement “active recovery” days where your volume and intensity is lowered
- Use tools like lotions, lacrosse balls, foam rollers, metal tools, Theragun, and IASTM’s to massage potentially sore muscles and promote healing
- Use meditation to improve breathing and relaxation even throughout the day
- If you’re in a caloric surplus (gaining weight/muscle), you’re in a better circumstance to recover than someone who is in a deficit (weight/fat loss). If in maintenance or a deficit, make sure to emphasize the quality of the foods you’re eating and supplement with needed vitamins and minerals as to not be deficient!
Implement any of the above suggestions, and watch as your recovery helps optimize your mental outlook, gym performance, and your overall goals!