Proper recovery is a super important aspect of seeing your hard work in the gym pay off. You don’t see progress from exercise, you see progress by recovering from exercise. You see, you’re less fit right after you exercise, but, if you recover properly and adequately, your body will repair itself to adapt and come back stronger!
So here are 8 of the absolute best ways to increase recovery and feel amazing:
- Get 6-8 hours of high-quality sleep. Sleep is when the majority of recovery occurs. If this is a challenge for you I recommend going to bed 30 minutes earlier to start.
- Eat more protein. Protein is king and supplies amino acids which are used to repair your muscles. Red meat, chicken, eggs, milk, and other dairy are the best and most complete protein sources. Add an egg or two to breakfast, have some meat with lunch and dinner, or a protein shake as a snack or after your workout to ensure you’re getting enough protein daily.
- Take a rest day. More workouts aren’t always better. Sometimes you need to take a day off to make sure you’re feeling good and recovering properly in order to see continued progress. We recommend AT LEAST 1 rest day each week for most people.
- Workout. Yeah I know we just said to take a rest day but just because you’re sore doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work out or get moving. Working out increases blood flow to muscles which then improves recovery. You’ll also feel much better after moving. If you did squats yesterday we’re not saying to do more squats but get moving and do some cardio or other movements to get the blood flowing.
- Eat fatty fish or supplement with omega-3s. Fish contains omega-3s which reduce inflammation and are great for sore muscles and lubricating joints after exercise. We typically don’t eat enough fish so it’s a great idea to supplement with omega-3s daily. Look for a high dose (1 gram or 1,000 mg) of EPA and DHA (the specific omega-3s we want).
- Take an ice bath or cold shower. This sucks at first I’m not going to lie. But once you get used to and embrace the cold you feel amazing afterward. I started taking cold showers 2 years ago and they work as a complete reset and energy booster while also reducing inflammation. Other research also suggests that they can even improve your immune system among other things. Start with 30 seconds at the end of your shower and build up to a few minutes as it gets easier.
- Hop in the sauna or take a hot shower. The benefits of heat actually outweigh the benefits of ice and cold overall. Change in temperature and heat specifically helps loosen up muscles and increases blood flow. The latest research on regular sauna also suggests a 66% reduction in dementia and Alzheimers. Nuts!
- Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol makes proper recovery impossible. It affects your central nervous system and ability to get into deep sleep, reduces metabolism and strength output, and causes dehydration (a performance limiter itself). Being social is important but do your best to drink a little less so you see faster progress and feel better.
Ensuring proper recovery from exercise (and life) is the key to seeing progress long-term!