Are you recovering from your workout?
In my experience, the answer to the above question is probably, NO. Most gym goers train at 100% everyday and put their bodies under a lot of strain. What this can often lead to is DOMS, injury, loss of energy/motivation or maybe sickness due to a weakened immune system. Now, I am by no means discouraging anyone from working hard in the gym, in fact it is more the opposite, but in this short article I will try to highlight some of the key things I have found to help my body recover after a hard days training.
1. Nutrition. This is probably the most important factor of post workout recovery. A good dose of post workout carbohydrates and protein is exactly what your body needs to start replenishing your depleted glycogen stores. Put simply, your body needs to replace the energy you expended during your workout. If you don’t, energy levels are sure to be lower and your muscle won’t get the nutrients they need to repair and grow.
Typically what we are looking for here is a large does of protein and carbohydrates at a 50/50 ratio, try to eat within 40 minutes of finishing your workout. A pretty simple ‘go-to’ meal for me would be around 150g of both chicken breast and sweet potato with some extra greens in there too. Make plenty at the start of the week so you always have food ready post-workout.
A lot of people struggle to stomach food after a workout, you have two options: 1: Man-Up and get through it, your body will thank you later, or 2: blend up your food and drink it as a shake.
2. Sleep. Are you getting enough? Probably not. We recommend 7-8 hours a night, but the more the better in this case. A solid 8-10 hours of good quality, undisturbed sleep a night will work wonders for you in the gym. Your body recovers whilst you sleep, releasing important hormones like testosterone and growth hormone. A few tips for a good night sleep: put your phone on silent and out of reach, so you are not tempted to use it or have it disturb you. Make the room as dark and silent as possible, remove any distractions in the room and keep the temperature low.
3. Reduce stress. Not always an easy one, but the more external stress factors you can eliminate form your life, the better. Stress is very draining physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s no wonder that high stress can lead to bad result in the gym. One thing I see a lot is people stressed because they ‘don’t have enough time’ Now sometimes this is true, but more often that not this is self inflicted trough poor time management. Before you go to bed at night, make a ‘plan of attack’ for the following day. Make sure you factor in enough time for traveling, preparing/eating the right food, getting to the gym on time for class and getting home early enough so you can get a good night sleep.
Remove the people in your life that influence you in a bad way, surround yourself only by positive and supportive people and your life will be far less stressful.
Here’s one last way to think about this. An intense workout drains your body. You have to make sure you have the right tools in place to ‘recharge’ yourself each day in order to be able to repeat that intense workout and stay fit for the following days, weeks and years to come!
By Phil Hesketh, InnerFight Performance Coach