Recovering from your workouts
Updated: Apr 18, 2021
Especially if you're bad at rest days!
It may be the worst kept secret that I LOVE a challenge, especially if it involves a workout, hitting a specific milestone, or pushing my body/mind out of my comfort zone. Even if there is no challenge involved it is extremely difficult for me to take a rest day, but add in a challenge and I can guarantee you that I will not take a day off.
I'm here to tell you--if you are the type of person who can take a rest day, you 100% absolutely should! It is great for your body, and quite honestly, it's better to take rest days than being forced into resting due to overuse and injury. It is generally recommended to take a rest day every 3-5 days, but only you know your body best.
However, if you're like me, someone who needs the consistency of your daily workout(s) and simply must finish every challenge you begin, here are some helpful tips to keep your body up for the challenges you can't stop entering!
Stay Hydrated! Your body needs water to function, even if you are not working out. If you are not properly hydrated you may feel muscle cramps, lightheadedness, weak, and your urine will be dark in color. A good rule of thumb is to drink .5 - 1ounce of water for every pound you weigh, so if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking between 75-150 ounces of water per day. You will also need to replace the amount of sweat you lose during a workout, but usually, that can be done with about 16 ounces of additional water.
Get enough sleep! Waking up and teaching early morning workouts means I need to be well-rested and ready to go, so maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is key! For me, it is more difficult to sleep-in some days of the week and wake up early on others, so my schedule is pretty consistent. I go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 5am during the week and give myself an extra hour of sleep on the weekends.
Fuel your body accordingly! Aim to eat within at least 60 minutes of completing your workout (the earlier the better) and refuel with a mix of protein and carbohydrates. There is no magic formula, and if your curious about what works best for your body post-workout consult with your doctor. My favorite post-workout shake is by Premier Protein, it has 30grams of protein, only 1gram of sugar, and is under 200 calories. Many find that just plain chocolate milk works great to refuel after their workout too. Since I normally teach early in the morning, I don't like to eat too much (or anything at all) before my workout, but if I do, it's usually a tablespoon of peanut butter or an easy on-the-go fruit like a banana or apple. Whether it's before or after my workout, I always add Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to my coffee which helps 'improve the health of your hair, skin, nails, joints and ligaments, and tendons.'
Stretch! There are days when we arrive late to class or need to leave early, but the pre & post stretches are a super important part of every workout you do. If you need to leave early be sure you stretch out while your body is still warm, don't forget to stretch your whole body, even if you don't feel 'tight.' Quick stretches upon waking up and before going to bed can help increase your blood flow and relax your muscles.
Give your muscles & fascia an extra boost! During this past year, I've added a massage gun and fascia blasting into my routine. The massage gun touts that it can 'deeply relieve muscle stiffness and soreness and increase blood circulation,' while I don't use it every day, it really does help with soreness after a tough workout, especially when I feel really tight in my glutes and hamstrings. Here is a link to the massage gun I purchased on Amazon (currently $40 off!) Fascia is the body’s connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs, and it is believed that fascia can pull on the skin which contributes to the appearance of cellulite. I use the Ashley Black products and recommend watching her free videos to get the full benefits from fascia blasting. Since adding this into my routine, I have noticed that in addition to my muscles recovering more quickly, my skin looks and feels tighter.
Active recovery! It may seem counterproductive, but keeping yourself active will help reduce soreness and speed up the muscle-building process. An example of an active recovery workout would be a light walk, yoga, or swimming. The key is to not put a heavy strain on your muscles or joints so they have time to repair themselves. Since my higher intensity workouts are in the morning, I like the balance of an active recovery workout in the afternoon, which my favorite is a walk with a friend or family member(s).
I hope you find these tips helpful, especially while working through a challenge. But do remember--it's ok to give yourself a rest day here and there ;)