+ simple do’s and don’ts for you TL;DR folx… I’m here for everyone.
I don’t always preach, but when I do it’s from my soap box with a megaphone (AKA all caps.)
Let’s break it down. You’re here because you are super sore, crazy tired, or INJURED. Or you’re training for an endurance event (hello. and welcome) and need to learn to pace your training. I post A LOT about rest & recovery so here are my favorite lessons.
Yes, it really is that important. No, it’s not glamorous. Most of the stuff that makes us good athletes isn’t fancy (sorry). Maintenance work CANNOT be overemphasized. PS if you love to stretch, do me a favor and foam roll first. Foam rolling changes tissue density, while stretching deals with tissue length. You’ll get better (read: more effective) stretching if you roll first.
ALSO, rolling increases circulation which decreases inflammation (aka SWELLING) and can promote healing and faster muscle recovery.
Foam rolling should be performed several times per week, depending on training intensity, and should include: 10 passes from joint to joint, or a minimum of 30 seconds per section, with heavy pressure, and more attention paid to “hot spots”. See more on that HERE (YouTube link!)
2. F**king rest.
Yes: Rest days are mandatory. Our bodies accumulate inflammation through training, and your body REQUIRES time to deal with it. At least one a week, and perhaps two depending on your individual goals/issues/injuries/etc. If you’re not working with a coach, I suggest trying it. This could be a group fitness or CrossFit instructor who KNOWS YOU WELL.
This also includes sleep. I know sleep can be hard to achieve for several reasons. However, when you’re training hard, 7-8 hours per night, should be the goal. Here are some rules for good sleep hygiene:
Eat meals. Eat 3-4 actual meals with alllll the macros (carbs, protein, fat… and CARBS. did I already say carbs?). Fruits, and veggies, and protein, and grains if you eat those, and other carbs if you don’t. We need CARBS to recover. They got such a bad rap for such a long time… and if you can’t even grains or want to supplement them, other great carbs can be found in fruits and veggies (especially the starchy ones THAT ALSO GOT A BAD RAP).
Most people’s plate should be broken down in the following way:
important part here is you’re not going to recover (or build muscle/speed/endurance) if you’re not fueling properly.
Which leads right into my next soap-box topic! You should be consuming a minimum of ½ your body weight (in pounds) in ounces daily. So if you weigh 150lbs, you need 75oz. of water PLUS anything you sweat out. SODIUM is an electrolyte that also got a bad rap, but you NEED IT to absorb all this water I’m telling you to drink! Again, if you have high BP or other health concerns, check with your Dr before you start taking to the salt lick.
This might be the hill I die on. Epsom salt baths, for a minimum of 20 minutes, have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote healing. And who doesn’t like a tub?! Some of the excuses I hear about taking baths is “my tub is dirty” and “isn’t that a laxative?”. To you, I say (respectively): Figure it the F out, and No… only if you drink the bath water (which I do not advise.) Finally: How often? 1-2 a week depending on your training intensity!
6. Motion (is lotion).
This is synonymous with “movement is medicine” and “sitting is the new cancer”. Basically, being sedentary will hurt you just as badly as overtraining. Even on rest days you should be clocking 7,000-8,000 steps a day. Being sedentary will for sure keep that inflammation right where it is. My favorite rule (I think I need to credit Kelly Starrett?) is for every 30 minutes you are sitting, you should get up for 2 minutes. Set timers, phone reminders, outlook reminders… whatever it takes. Motion is lotion 😉