We all know how important it is to make time for recovery, both for our performance gains and our general wellbeing.
But let’s be honest:
When we have a fully stacked to-do list and limited time, it’s often one of the first things to go out the window. We’re then left wondering why we feel so stiff and injury prone…
The good news?
Recovery doesn’t have to be a lengthy, arduous process.
In this article, we’ll explore five simple habits, backed by science, to help you recover faster and perform to your potential.
Let’s take a look.
TIP 1: CALM THE NERVOUS SYSTEM WITH BREATHWORK
Breathwork is an easy win when it comes to calming down after a tough workout and kickstarting the recovery process.
Box breathing is a simple drill used by athletes, US Navy Seals, and the police force to increase parasympathetic nervous system activation – the rest and digest state where recovery occurs.
All it takes is 2-5 minutes at the end of your workout:
- Inhaling for a count of four
- Holding for four
- Exhaling for four
- Holding for four
TIP 2: RELEASE TENSION WITH SOFT TISSUE RELEASE
As well as some conscious breathing, taking 5-10 minutes at the end of your workout to do some soft tissue work can make a big difference when it comes to recovery.
A foam roller can work fairly well, but if you want to take things to the next level, you can use a massage gun like the Stryke PRO for a deeper, more targeted approach.
It’s not only fun but also more efficient than traditional rolling or massage.
TIP 3: SPEED UP RECOVERY WITH HOT-COLD CONTRAST
Contrasting between hot and cold water in the shower or bath is a recovery method that dates back to ancient Rome.
The pressure change when you go from high to low temperatures and vice versa is thought to activate lymph flow – a drainage system in the body that helps to remove waste and control inflammation.
While there’s more research needed, contrast water therapy has been shown to be more effective than passive recovery alone, so it may be worth experimenting with.
TIP 4: REFUEL WITH WHOLEFOOD NUTRITION
Once you’ve finished up your cooldown and hit the showers, it’s then time to supply your body with the building blocks it needs to recover properly.
On a basic level, this would ideally include:
- Micronutrients/antioxidants to control inflammation. Plenty of leafy greens, dark salad leaves, cruciferous veg and a small portion of berries.
- Adequate protein to rebuild. Including grass-fed meat, poultry, fish, or legumes.
- Carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. Quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, yams or sweet potatoes are great choices.
- Fats to support hormonal profile. Oily fish, eggs, avocadoes, nuts, seeds, olive oil or coconut oil.
TIP 5: COME BACK STRONGER WITH QUALITY SLEEP
Both sleep quantity and quality are crucial when it comes to maximizing recovery. It’s when we’re at rest that the body replenishes and we make improvements from our training.
Some easy habits to ensure a good night’s sleep include:
- Skipping caffeine after midday
- Limiting blue light exposure in the evening
- Having your last meal 3-4 hours prior to bed
- Using blackout blinds to minimize light exposure
- Keeping the room cool – around 15-19 degrees Celcius
OVER TO YOU:
Now you’re armed with a few simple habits to maximize your recovery, it’s time to get out there and experiment. All it takes is a few extra minutes each day to do a little self-care, and your body will thank you.