I've done several posts recently on how to get started with a healthy lifestyle, or trying to find time to workout. Now we're kind of flipping gears a little bit and talking about rest days and muscle repair time. For me, a good long run or an awesome WOD at the box is a good escape for me. My schedule is crazy busy and I know that yours is too. So having that “me time” is vitally important. Is there a such thing and training TOO much? Absolutely!
Your body must have rest to be able to make your gains that you want or the losses that you want. Your rest days are so important that dare I say, they're as important as your workout. I have four tips that will help you get the most out of your workouts and speeding up your sore muscle recovery time. I've seen it time and again work for me, my clients, as well as some of my peer's clients.
Let's clear up what I mean by “rest”
Muscle recovery time will vary depending on the workouts and how well you take care of yourself after the workouts. There are two kinds of rest and they are active rest and passive rest. When I say rest, I am more of an active rest kind of gal which is how I guide my clients as well.
Active rest means light activity. Example – light house work, stretching, etc.
Passive rest means minimal to no activity – I'm talking a Netflix kind of afternoon.
Muscle Repair Time Tip 1
The number one secret that I have to proper recovery is that you must refuel your body. So what does that look like?
The number one rule to refueling is WATER. Your body is around 60% water. For the math whizzes such as myself, that would be over half. Which translates to water being the most vital component of speeding up muscle recovery time. Think you've had enough water? Go grab another glass, because you need more!
What about food….
3 words: Eat. Real. Food. Here is what I tell all of my clients: a small amount of good carbs about an hour before your workout and good protein after your workout. Now, whether you decide to eat some meat and a full balanced meal after your workout, or you decide to drink your protein and eat your regular food later, that is completely up to you.
Just remember the formula of good carbs an hour before your workout and protein within 45 minutes after your workout. The protein helps you rebuild start rebuilding those muscles immediately.
I feel worse after my workout…
I've heard many times “I feel worse after my workout”. I answer the statement with three questions:
- Did you drink enough water?
- What did you eat your good carbs an hour before and then your protein after you worked out?
- How long after your workout was your meal?
If you follow those three “rules” and you still are feeling worse after your workout, it maybe time to re-evaluate your workout routine. I'm more than happy to help you create a workout routine within your current fitness level.
Muscle Repair Time Tip 2
Growing up, I was a dancer and was super flexible. However, I also played basketball and softball and as I got older, basketball and softball became my two focuses and the flexibility I had from the dancing pretty much went out the window.
When you exercise, your muscles contract, shorten, and you're tearing them down. You have to give them time to recover and you have to lengthen them back out! I'm still extremely guilty of skipping my cool downs and that's just setting me up for longer recovery time as well as sore muscles.
I do have a secret weapon when it comes to speeding up muscle recovery time and it is this foam roller. If you have never foam rolled, it is basically a way to massage your muscles without having to hire a masseuse (which I do recommend doing from time to time) because, let's be honest, not many of us normal folk can afford a masseuse all the time. Rolling your muscles on this foam roller will help relax them and speed up that recovery time.
Muscle Repair Time Tip 3
Ah, sleep. The beautiful thing that is sleep. I absolutely love waking up in the morning feeling rested. It doesn't happen often enough but I cherish the nights it does.
When I am rested, my run times and work outs are so satisfying. They're tough, but I perform so much better. When I've had my sleep, I'm also a much more pleasant person and let's be honest… So are you. Whooooop called you right out there didn't I? Oh well, I mean it with love.
- Go into your room about 30 minutes before time for bed to get into comfier clothes/pajamas or whatever you sleep in. I mean, you may sleep nekkid, I don't know. I'm not here to judge, point is, get in your room 30 minutes before you plan to go to sleep.
- Only turn on lamps or low lighting.
- Turn on some low key music. You get some free music with Amazon Prime, so give that a go. OR what I personally do is turn on my fan I legitimately have this fan right here and it is awesome. It's got a good white noise going for it, plus it actually blows cool air, it doesn't just blow around warm stuffy air. I live in the south, the blowing around of warm air is a legitimate concern. My fan is about…. 4 years old I think? Still running strong! I love it.
- Set your alarm and put your phone away. This is a big one. Unplug from the rest of the world and let your eyes relax. Deeps breaths and try to let your mind go blank as best as you can. Pray or meditate, and start wiggling your fingers and toes and consciously working on relaxing your body from head to toe. You will be amazed at how well this works!
Before you know it, you'll be on your way to sleepy town with no turning back.
Ready to take a rest?
Our culture has created this unwritten competition that the busier you are and the harder your workouts are the more important you are.. or something like that. We have gotten into this more is more mentality instead of less is more mentality. I have a new favorite saying is “small is the new big”. Small steps in the right direction lead up to big results. Have a hard time resting and giving yourself a break? One step at a time, sister. Work your way through the tips one step at a time!
Remember, rest is absolutely essential to not only your training but to your overall health and well being. Which is where I get my 4 R's that I believe are as important as your workout:
Enjoy Your Rest Days!
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