Exercise is easy. It only takes a few minutes each day. With only a bit of effort you can get a fairly intense workout in. For most of you reading this, it is more the norm to do too much of it rather than not enough. Many of us need desperately to recognize your time at the gym is not when the majority of your improvements are made. Gains of strength, stamina, and endurance are made in the hours between your workouts.
Nutrition and sleep are the two most important factors affecting recovery. High quality protein is the first priority of a training person’s diet. If you’re training you need 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of your body weight daily. Upping your protein will give your body the required building blocks to repair the damage you do to your body during training. Bonus: upping the protein will make it difficult to put any junk in your gut and you’ll lose fat.
You’re probably not surprised, for recovery, EPA & DHA (high potentcy fish oil) and BCAAs are next in the nutrition line to improve your recovery. Take a combined 1 gram of EPA and DHA per each percent of your body fat each day to reduce inflammation and improve your immune system’s ability to heal you. The optimal amount of BCAAs is 1/4 of a gram per pound of body weight (140lbs = 35 grams per day). Take 5-10 grams pre workout, 5-10 grams during your workout, and the remainder of your needed BCAAs post workout for the best results.
When it comes to sleep, 8 hours is key. If that’s not going to happen, the best thing you can do is get up the same time everyday. Sleep experts typically agree on this one thing. If you’re not sleeping well, the amino acid L-typtophan and magnesium usually do the trick. I’ve recently been taking a new chelate of magnesium, magnesium threnoate just before bed. It should come with a “do not operate heavy machinery” warning on it. I’ve been getting the most restful sleep I’ve had in many years.
Sweating rids the body of toxins, waste products (metabolites), and heavy metals. So, in theory, you rid the body of wastes when you workout. The problem is, you are also producing wastes while you train. Enter the infrared sauna. A 30 minute stay inside the dry, 135 degrees of the sauna will allow your body to flush out wastes and toxins while you sit. Bonus: the heat is relaxing and soothing and the detox will reduce the soreness (DOMS) associated with intense exercise. Not sure about the IR Sauna? Ask any of the instructors
and we’ll be more than happy to let you try it out.
Another great tool in our recovery tool box is the ice bath. The ice bath reduces inflammation in much of the same way as placing an ice pack on an injured area. Only the bath is “all encompassing” and is best used as a preventative measure, not after an injury occurs. We have a tub for ice baths and I’ve just put a freezer for ice in the gym. You can buy a few bags of ice or bring your own. Immediately following your post workout nutrition, take a plunge. It only takes 5 minutes. Anything beyond that can actually cause inflammation and stress.
If you want the full recovery ride, try contrasting cold and heat. Get 5 minutes in the ice bath, 20-30 in the sauna, and follow up with another 5 in the ice.
The sauna, ice bath, or the combo contrast should be done at least once per week and can be done daily. After each workout at the Regionals, I had the team sit for 5 minutes in the ice bath. Many of them had never tried it before but now swear by it. Give the sauna and/or the ice bath a try and you’ll immediately feel the difference they make.
10 DB Backwards Alternating Lunge
Rest 20 seconds
10 Poliquin Box Steps
Rest 20 seconds
10 DB Squat
Rest 3 minutes