Welcome back for How to Recover Faster from Workouts part two.
Click here if you missed part one.
Again, below are the links to most of the articles I read through during my research.
Let’s finish up, starting with the rest of the factors that go into figuring out you optimal recovery time.
Ben says that as your training load increases, it’s normal for your appetite to drop.
It doesn’t happen to everybody, but it can happen.
In fact, many say that working out increases your appetite.
But anyways, the problem with losing your appetite due to increases in training loads, is that this can cause you to not take in as much protein as you should, which can negatively impact your immune system, protein synthesis and training recovery.
If you’re experiencing muscle soreness, it could be just normal DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but you need to make sure that you get enough rest to rest the muscle, otherwise you can put yourself at risk for experiencing injuries from overuse and overtraining syndrome (OTS).
If you pay attention to your energy levels, you can use them to gauge whether or not you’re getting enough rest and recovery after your workout.
As Ben points out, the difficulty comes from discerning between whether you’re just feeling unmotivated that specific day, or whether you’re actually experiencing energy level depletion due to over training.
As Ben mentions in the article, the Profile of Mood States (POMS) assessment and the Central Nervous System score have proven that there’s a link between mind and body, and that the mental state of an athlete definitely has an affect on their recovery.
Depression, anxiety, and mood swings are all signs that you might be experiencing fatigue and over training, so don’t take those lightly if you’re experiencing them.
If you’re over training, you might experience fatigue, stress, and sometimes even illnesses.
Symptoms like headaches, diarrhea, sore throat and nausea should not be taken lightly if they’re experienced while you’re training.
Previous Day’s Performance
Not sure if you knew this, but it can be normal to experience temporary “underperformance” while you in the midst of a training regimen.
Now if you experience it for extended periods of time, then you have cause for alarm, because it could mean that you’re not recovering and resting properly after your training sessions.
Lesson #5 – “Contrast Showers” Can Help Your Recovery
I first learned about contract showers in the “Pieces of the Puzzle… 9 Ways to Renew, Recovery and Feel Your Best” article which is posted on the Innovative Results website.
Innovative Results is a personal training business in California that was rated the top personal trainers in Orange County two years in a row (according to their website).
Contrast showers will help flush out the lactic acid in your muscles, by increasing the blood flow into and out of your muscles.
These should help if you’re feeling sore or stiff.
To take a contrast shower, you run cold water on the sore part of your body for 10-20 seconds, then run hot water over it.
The article says that your affected area will likely go numb after the second cycle of cold/hot water, but it doesn’t say how many cycles they’d recommend you do per session.
(I’m going to try this out on my hip flexors, I’ll leave a comment in a few days about whether or not it helped.)
This guy talks about how to take a contrast shower. I’ll admit that the dude is boring as all get-out, but the information is pretty good, nonetheless.
Lesson #6 – Ice (and Ice Baths) Can Help, Too
As a football player, I’m sure you’ve hopped in the ice bath here and there.
Ever wondered why it works?
No? Well I’m going to tell you anyways. 🙂
In “After Exercise – Does an Ice Water Bath Speed Recovery?”, the author, Elizabeth Quinn, an exercise physiologist and fitness consultant, says that ice baths help by:
- Flushing lactic acid and other waste out of the muscles/tissues
- Decreasing metabolic activity and slowing down physiological processes
- Reducing swelling and tissue breakdowns
Of course, if ice baths help, so does simply applying ice to your affected areas as well.
When you experience pain, it’s your body’s way of letting you know that there’s some inflammation in the area where the pain is.
Ice can help with the pain, and will reduce the inflammation as well.
Speaking of ice baths, check out this video on RB Stephen Jackson’s recovery routine after he gets home from games.
Slide the video forward to the 4:25 mark; that’s where he actually starts his routine.
Lesson #7 – Muscle Massages Aid Recovery
In the “Pieces of the Puzzle…” article on the Innovative Results article, they mention that muscle massages help aid recovery as well:
Massage is one of the most amazing ways to stimulate muscle recovery and to allow the mind the relax… A good therapist can help you address imbalances, relieve tightness, decrease soreness and speed recovery between workouts. Plus, it just feels good (most of the time).
I touched on muscle massages in a two-part series recently, and you can check those articles out using the links below.
Lesson #8 – Self Myo-fascial Release (SMR) Helps with Muscle Recovery
In “Muscle Recovery: Self Myofascial Release”, the author, Shawn Horwood, explains that self myo-fascial release (SMR) gets rid of the knots in your muscles, relaxes them, and “stimulates the stretch reflex” in your muscles to help you recover faster and reduce pain after your workouts.
In his article, he says you should do SMR right after your workouts.
One of the main forms of SMR deals with using foam rollers on your muscles.
He goes more in-depth on the different methods to perform SMR in the article.
It’s something you definitely should look into incorporating into your workout routine.
The guy in this video goes through some further explanations on SMR, and even gives you some example of techniques you can use.
Lesson #9 – Sometimes You Have to Just Take a Day Off
Even players at the big expensive combine training facilities take days off here and there.
Heavy training breaks your body down. During the resting period, your body can rebuild (to make you stronger), but it can only do so if you’re eating right and getting proper rest.
Knowing when you need to just take a day off depends on several factors.
The best thing you can do is know your body well enough to know when it’s time for a day off.
If you’re working under a certified trainer, they should have enough knowledge to help you identify when you need to just take a day off.
Lesson #10 – Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
I know this is obvious, but sleep is crucial to recovering properly.
As I mentioned earlier in this series in Lesson #4, I did a two-part series on the importance of sleep, so you may want to check those out.
Below are links to those two articles:
Lesson #11 – You GOTTA Eat Right!
In the “Pieces of the Puzzle” article, they elaborate on exactly why eating right is crucial:
Good nutrition supplies our body with water, amino acids (building blocks for muscle), minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients, fatty acids and energy. When proper fuel is provided, the body is able to recover, rebuild and become stronger, in a shorter amount of time.
I did a two-part series on eating right that you can check out using the links below:
Lesson #12 – Make Sure You’re Stretching After Your Workouts
In “After the Workout: Restoration”, the author, Josh Henkin, a conditioning specialist, who holds a B.S. in Exercise Science, touches on the importance of stretching after your workouts.
Like many, he recommends that you do static stretches after your workouts.
He lists out seven benefits of static stretching can provide for you when done post-workout:
1. Increase in the range of useful movement
2. Reduction in the incidence of injury
3. Decrease in the severity of injury
4. Delay in the onset of muscular fatigue
5. Prevention and alleviation of muscle soreness after exercise
6. Increase in the level of skill and muscular efficiency
7. Prolongation of sporting life
So there you have it. Hopefully you’re now going to pay more attention to making sure you’re giving enough thought to recovering properly after your workouts.
After all, the recovery part is where you get the real “gains.”
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