A workout can be scheduled at any time, early in the morning, at lunchtime or after a busy day before heading back home. Present in the moment, we usually feel great during training and right after thanks to an endorphin rush. Hormones, the nervous system, and blood flow activity play their part in the recovery process after a workout especially when it is as intense as a HIIT, spinning, CrossFit or boxing class.
Why the emphasis on recovery?
We get most of the benefits from our workouts when we are finished. The body integrates all the movements, stretches, flexions and contractions while it is at rest.
The time we spend not exercising is as valuable as being in the gym. There are a couple of things which can be done post workout to jumpstart a healthy healing process, allowing the entire body and mind to benefit from all our hard work.
The fastest way to recover quickly
Right after training we are rushed into a familiar pattern: shower, quick breakfast, lunch or snack and straight in or back to our daily tasks. There are simple and effective habits which we can implement in our routine and improve muscle flexibility, reduce inflammation and calm the nervous system instantaneously. The aim is to feel fantastic throughout the day but also to prepare our bodies for the next workout.
It seems obvious, but it is often overlooked by many individuals who believe that they will catch up on their water intake later in the day or that a large cup of coffee will do! Although the taste of coffee is precious, water’s function is to restore fluids levels and help muscles repair.
Stretching can be scheduled a couple of hours after the workout but should not be avoided at all cost especially if we have just been weight training. The most common case which illustrates this omission correctly is the deadlift. We probably won't feel anything the day after, but sore muscles and DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) can appear up to 72 hours after the workout that had that specific type of exercise programmed.
How to effectively stretch without having to spend hours on the floor or a foam roller? Think back to which body part was used the most during the workout and target this particular area. Done!
*Replenish energy stores
Meaning eating your food of course! But the healthy kind to restore glycogen and therefore nourish not only muscles but the brain, red blood cells, and internal organs.
A classic error is to gulp a protein shake right after the workout. Whether we are on a low carb diet or not, a banana, oatmeal, or toasts are necessary to contribute to a good recovery.
If we follow a high-intensity programme we know: after a week of training, we feel nervous and more stressed than usual. Doing too many sessions using the nervous system in its sympathetic mode (fight-or-flight response) harms our mood. The fix is a yoga session interspersed with the other workouts of the week.
While everyone is different, some recovery systems work better than others. Being aware that even though we are not professional athletes, our bodies need to recharge and recover to become efficient throughout the day. Our well-being depends on it more than we would like to admit!
We hope that we have helped to recharge you ready for your next session!
The Yogadoll Team