You’re proud of yourself. You gave it everything in that session, pushed yourself further than you thought you could go. Wet, bedraggled and exhausted, you pack up your bag from your locker. You know you’ve earned the acknowledging looks from others in the group. As your pulse starts to settle and fatigued muscles start to forgive you, you pull large gulps of thirst-quenching water from your bottle.
Water and electrolytes are essential for temperature control, blood pressure and transport of nutrients. My own personal rule is to top up the water in as soon as possible after finishing exercising and of course during, getting a head-start before I get caught up in other things in my busy day. Forgetting to rehydrate after a session, can result in lethargy, headaches and the slow recovery of muscles.
Studies show that whilst it won’t eliminate soreness, dynamic stretching post-exercise can provide benefits such as helping lymphatic flow, removing damaged cells.
PROTEIN UP SLEEP GIVEN
Replace protein within a few hours of exercise – studies show that when protein and carbohydrates are consumed within a couple of hours of activity, muscle protein synthesis increases significantly (by 300% in this study). Great sources of protein: lean red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs. Vegan options include tofu and other soy products, quinoa, kale and spinach.
TAKE TIME TO BREATHE
Rest and repair happens when the body is in its parasympathetic nervous system state. Deep breathing engaging the diaphragm is one way to enter this state and is paramount to be able to get the body into recovery mode.
Given that the whole concept of exercise is overtaxing the body during exercise, followed by recovery where the body can adapt, it’s pretty clear how important it is to get sufficient rest. Which means sleep, not flopping on the sofa and checking your insane Insta feed into the small hours. Research shows that sleep is when your body releases growth hormone, repairing and building up muscles, building bone density, burning fat. You know, the very reasons why you’re exercising to begin with. The more you exercise, the more you need to sleep. Give your body the chance to deliver the return on your sweat investment.
VEGAN RECOVERY SUMMARY
Did you know that there’s a growing swell of elite athletes who swear that going vegan has had a major impact on their recovery rates? If you’re on Netflix, have a look at “The Game Changers” documentary charting numerous athletes from Olympic competitors to Arnold Schwarzenegger himself as they describe how going vegan has helped them take their performance to new levels. Others who have committed to their performance this way include Venus Williams and Lewis Hamilton. It’s certainly not for everyone, and if you are going to adopt a plant-based diet you need to do it properly. If you’re serious about achieving peak condition, it might be worth looking into and deciding if it’s right for you.
SOURCING YOUR NUTRITIOUS FOOD
It goes without saying that natural is best, and in any smart approach to a performance diet you must not compromise on quality. Organic, chemical-free and fresh food is slowly becoming more available and affordable here in the Middle East. Most of it though needs to be imported, which undermines the organic part of it.
Today there’s a growing trend of growing your own vegetables. This has many benefits, including maximizing nutritional value (some types of spinach, for example, lose up to 90% of their nutrients within 24 hours of being harvested), minimising or even eliminating the need for chemicals, and requires no packaging or transportation. Unfortunately there are often barriers to doing this – climate can prevent year-round growing, and people often lack space, time or gardening knowledge.
But I’ve recently discovered a fantastic new device from a UAE startup that makes it so easy to grow your own luscious veggies right at home, year-round. Check out the HydroArtPod here. I’m excited about this product as it suits my lifestyle and meets my needs, and I think it might do the same for you too. That’s why, as a special offer to this group, I’ve secured a deal where you can register your interest here and secure a whopping 28% early bird discount on the standard price (2500 AED compared to the standard retail price of 3500 aed). Make sure you enter the code TR28 to avail the discount. Other than getting the same discount myself I have no financial interest, I just think it’s a great product.
After all the effort that you’ve put into pushing through barriers, don’t let yourself down by failing to plan for your recovery. Just a few simple steps that you repeat on a regular basis will see you taking big strides forward.
You owe it to yourself.
I’d love to hear your own best recovery tips – what is working for you?
Until next time, stay healthy and strong.