One of the most neglected aspects of training is the ‘recovery time’ in between workouts. Poor recovery means that you can’t train as hard, which is going to impact your results and training performance. It can also lead to fatigue, and injury!
Don’t worry though, there are lots of things that you can do to Improve Your Recovery Time Between Workouts…
#1 Foam rolling
I really rate foam rolling because it’s a great way to loosen off muscles which get tight from frequent training.
When we lift weights, run, cycle, swim or play sport(s) we contract muscles and put our body under stress. Whilst this stress is positive in many ways i.e. it helps to keep our muscles, and joints strong, and improves circulation and aerobic fitness – the trade off is tight, fatigued muscles.
One of the best ways to undo this damage is to apply pressure on the tight muscle using a foam roller. Pick an area that’s tight and gently roll over it until it starts to loosen off. If you’re new to foam rolling it can be pretty painful. I’d recommend using a soft foam roller before working your way up to a firmer one.
Just 5-10 minutes per day can improve your recovery time in between workouts. Here are a few exercises that I do myself, and also with my 1-1 personal training clients…
Having a bath after training is a great way to recover. If you train in the morning, before work, then it’s not always convenient to have a bath (as you don’t have time!) if that’s the case then i’d recommend having a bath before bed.
Submerging your muscles into hot water will help them relax, it’s also good for your mind too. Having a bath in the evening will help you unwind from the day, and also help you drift off into a nice, relaxing sleep when you get into bed.
If you want to get more benefits from your bath, then i’d recommend using some magnesium salts, as they aid the recovery process further. Magnesium will soak into your tight and tired muscles, helping them to replenish and repair so that you can train hard again the next time you workout.
#3 Sports Massage
Having a sports massage isn’t always cheap, in Sheffield for a good massage you could be looking at paying anything from £30-`£50 but it’s worth it. Most people don’t need a sports massage that often, once per month would suffice for most, unless you are training very intensely and therefore you may need one once per week, or every fortnight.
A good sports massage therapist will understand the body, and will be able to find the areas that need massaging/releasing. They will also provide corrective exercises to help ease your symptoms and stop them from coming back…
For example you may repeatedly have a painful lower back, and think it’s the back that’s the problem, but in actual fact whilst the back is causing you pain, it’s actually tight hamstrings and glutes that are causing the back pain to keep reoccurring. A qualified expert will not only be able to mitigate your back pain, but he or she will also provide guidance and exercises to stop it from reoccurring again in the future.
In my opinion this is the most important out of all the recovery strategies, and it doesn’t cost a penny. You just need a comfy bed, a dark room…and that’s it!
When we sleep our bodies heal, not only physically but mentally too. This is the opportunity for your mind and body to relax, so that you can wake up the next day and perform better not only in the gym, but also at work too. I’d recommend reading the book ‘Why We Sleep’ – by Matthew Walker. It’s one of the best books i’ve read, you must check it out as it will change your life and the way you view sleep!
Aim to get 7-8 hours sleep each night. Some things to help you achieve this: make your house as dark as possible 1-2 hours before you go to sleep, take a bath before bed, switch off all electrical appliances one hour before bed, use a sleeping mask, or black out blinds to make your room dark, also make-sure that the room isn’t too hot (if anything you want a cooler room as your body temperature needs to drop before you fall to sleep).
After a 10-20 minutes stretch your body will feel much better, as your tight muscles will be more relaxed. It will also reduce tension from around the body, especially in areas like the neck and shoulders – especially beneficial for those of you who are sat at a desk all day and have stressful jobs.
When you stretch focus on the areas that feel tight, relax your body and be mindful of your breathing – taking deep breaths, breathing through the nose and out through the mouth.
Here are some of my favourite stretches to do, you could do these straight after training, or separate from your workouts i.e. on your rest day, or when your body is feeling particularly beat up…
Meditation is a great way to relax, and let your body heal. Many of us run around like headless chickens all day, constantly trying to complete tasks: go to work, train at the gym, feed the kids, do the dishes, the gardening, take out the bins, maintain a social life, etc, etc – there doesn’t feel like enough time to just sit and chill, and when we do it’s easy to feel guilty!
The reality is that most of us could do with relaxing more often. During chill time your body will heal, recharge, process emotions, and be more creative – to name but a few benefits! One of the best ways to do this is to mediate, even just 10 minutes per day has been proven to improve health, performance and mental well-being.
You could go to a mediation class, or use an app like Headspace or Calm – both of these apps are great and I would highly recommend checking them out.
Thanks for reading, I hope this post helps you recover in between your workouts and just generally makes you feel healthier, and happier!
If you found this article helpful then please drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org – I would absolutely love to hear from you.