Tips to Improve Recovery
Written by Bryan Miller
This article isn’t rocket science. I am sure EVERYONE knows the benefits of what I am about to cover; however, I see many athletes and general fitness enthusiasts who are overlooking at least one of these simple recovery tips. So, this article serves as a good reminder to anyone who is looking to meet their fitness goals more efficiently.
Sleep needs are going to vary based on the individual, but most people will benefit from sleeping until you feel refreshed, whether that means 7 hours or 10 hours. Sleep is your body’s recovery time. Many amazing things happen when you are asleep.
Did you know…..
1) Blood pressure drops.
2) Breathing becomes slower.
3) Muscles are relaxed.
4) Blood supply to muscles increases, which allows tissue growth and repair to occur.
5) Energy is restored.
6) Hormones are released; in particular: growth hormone and testosterone. Both are essential for muscle growth and development.
Napping throughout the day is a great way to increase your exposure to the benefits of sleep. Napping is a tried and true method that has been used by athletes for quite some time. Sleep is, in my opinion, the most essential piece of the recovery pie. As the great Robb Wolf would say, “Sleep as much as you can without getting fired or divorced.”
Drinking has myriad positive health benefits….but let me clarify that I mean drinking WATER, and lots of it.
By drinking plenty of water, coupled with proper nutrition (see below), your body will have all the “supplies” necessary to run at peak performance. This means improved metabolism, increased fat loss and growth of lean muscle mass. Without sufficient hydration, your body hordes water for use by vital organ like the brain. Water is also necessary for optimal exercise; if you ever feel like you had a bad day in the gym, you might want to look back at how much water you drank that day. Likely you will notice a correlation between optimal hydration and performance.
Nutrition, like sleep, is highly dependent on the person; but a good place to start is CrossFit’s food recommendation, “base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.” That’s about as simple as you can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery shopping to the perimeter of the grocery store and avoiding the middle aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food should be perishable. Anything with a long shelf life should be suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition. i
Following the “CrossFit Nutrition Prescription” is a good starting point for 90% of the population. If you know you have a higher exercise intensity and duration than normal, you could add more starchy items such as rice and sweet potatoes to your diet.
If you cannot recover from your training, then you aren’t getting the maximal return on investment for your time spent in the gym and there is no sense in doing more and more. By following these simple guidelines, you will maximize your body’s ability to recover and make those extra gym sessions worth it.
i “CrossFit: Nutrition.” CrossFit: Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2014. <http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/start-diet.html>.