December 8, 2021 No Comments

6 Tools for Recovery

+ 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.)

  • DO
    • Foam roll
    • Take baths
    • Walk
    • Eat nutrient-dense foods (and ENOUGH)
    • Drink lots of water
  • DON’T
    • Skip rest days (!!!!)
    • Sit around all day
    • Think you are immune to overtraining, regardless of your intensity level.

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.

  1. FOAM ROLL.
Actual footage of good quality foam rolling.

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.

Actual footage of me resting my eyes, pre-race.

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:

  1. dark room (if you live in an apartment complex like me, you’ll need blackout curtains or an eye-mask. IYKYK)
  2. cool room… if you like to sleep in temps over 68, you are a psychopath and I cannot help you.
  3. NO SCREENs before bed. The rule is 90 minutes before bed (which if you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you should abide by). But 30 minutes would be helpful.
  4. Lastly, watch your sugar intake before bed. Sorry not sorry.

3. Nutrition.

Leave a comment if you want to talk about all the things you can make with brown bananas.

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: mportant part here is you’re not going to recover (or build muscle/speed/endurance) if you’re not fueling properly.

4. Hydration.

Two water bottles and a giant cup of watered down Gatorade. And cinnamon raisin bread because: carbs.

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.

5. Baths. 

A tub and some tea. Nothing better.

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 😉 

I don’t take pictures of myself walking, so here is my training partner Shanda bringing me a coffee because she is an angel sent from heaven.

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Strength & Conditioning Coach / Personal Trainer

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