Updated: Jan 10, 2021
We often talk a lot about training, form and technique throughout our fitness journey, but sometimes forget that what we do beyond our workouts are equally, if not more, important! What we do in the time following our workouts will determine how much our hard work really counts.
So what is recovery? What does it entail?
Recovery is an umbrella term that encompasses everything we do during our “rest time”. This can include what we eat, how much water we drink, the quality of our sleep, and our physical recovery such as stretching. All of these things combined will determine how well our bodies adapt and grow, as well as prevent injury and burnout. When we recover and focus on proper nutrition and rest, our body goes into a state of “Rest & Digest” where our muscles relax, our blood flow is sent to our digestive system to absorb nutrients, and our fuel storage is replenished.
This can all seem a little overwhelming and you may feel like you don’t have time to properly recover between workouts, but breaking it down into small steps can help ease some of the stress of a proper recovery! Here are some easy tips to step-up your recovery game!
1. Hydration. Ensuring you are getting enough H2O will help restore oxygen levels in your body, aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, help with muscle recovery and help to ensure maintenance of healthy joints! Water truly does it all, so don’t forget to keep your water bottle handy. Aiming to drink about 2-3L of water each day is a great place to start, however this can vary for everyone.
2. Nutrition. Nutrition can be a tricky situation that many of us struggle with. Choosing the right foods to eat for your body based on your physical activity can be like a tough mathematical equation. Trying to get all the essential macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates), as well as your vitamins and minerals takes patience and a bit of work. This macronutrient calculator can be a great tool to keep you on track following your workouts!
3. Sleep. Although we all love to stay up into the deep hours of the night binging our favourite Netflix show, getting adequate sleep is essential for overall health and recovery. Aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night will allow for proper muscle growth and repair and helps with so many physical, mental and emotional aspects of our daily life.
4. Physical Recovery. Our actual physical recovery can include an infinite amount of things. The good news is, that no matter your physical recovery technique, there is no wrong answer here. If yoga relaxes you and helps ease your muscle soreness, then great! If foam rolling is your cup of tea, keep it up. Ensuring you always complete a proper warm-up and cool-down for your workouts will help with this part of the recovery process. Cloud Fitness even has a great Stretch & Recovery video you can complete in less than 6 minutes!
If your recovery routine can use a bit of TLC, start with baby steps. Focus on proper hydration and once you have that down, move onto nutrition and so on. There are no right or wrong ways to go about recovery, so starting small and doing your best is always better than neglecting it!
Make recovery a part of your fitness journey, and remember - always reach for the clouds!