What's going on everyone!!
If you've found my blog for the first time, Welcome! If you've read my material before, welcome back and I hope you enjoy. Today, I'm bloggin about optimizing recovery!!
We all know that recovery following high-level intensity exercise or athletic performance is one of the most important things to do to grow as an Competitive Athlete, Olympic lifter, CrossFitter or everyday person looking to excel in the gym or on the field. There's a ton of literature and research out there on how to recover properly, but a lot of it varies, and there's not really any set step by step system to tell you how to recover right. However, there are some very very common and well-supported things that you should be doing, and I'm going to tell you about them right now. These are three things you should be focusing on to optimizing your recovery following a high intensity workout that you can implement today!!!
1. Hydration Recovery. Hydrate and restore your electrolyte balance for the next 48-72 hours. During a long duration >30 minute workout you need carbohydrate and electrolyte replenishment. Following a high intensity workout where you sweat a great deal, you need to be consuming at least half your body weight in ounces for the day. This should be planned out before your workouts for the week. Don't try to play CATCH UP, it doesn't work. Once you start implementing a plan for that hydration recovery it will become a common part of your programming. On a very basic framework, that's hydration and fueling. We all know this, but we don't do it all the time, and I am just as guilty as the next person and continue to work to improve my hydration and nutrition.
2. Muscle and Fascial recovery. Consequently, this involves nervous system recovery as well. Most of us are aware of the two main forms of exercise (energy systems): Aerobic and Anaerobic. Aerobic being longer duration utilizing oxygen to for energy and Anaerobic short-to moderate duration high intensity exercise utilizing lactic acid. Typically with lifting this system is what we are most working with and the by-product of this system (Following our Workouts) leaves us with an acidic environment in the muscle and fascial tissue. In shorter words, this is why we are sore. Generally speaking if you sit around and are lazy following a high intensity workout, the more sore you are and more inhibited your muscle function is. So in combination with hydration, as your flushing fluid in and out, you also need to help assist actively with this. There are now many different modalities out there to help with this such as; pneumatic compression devices, Electronic Stimulation recovery, Massage Guns, Foam Rolling. Not one has been shown to be better than the other, but didactically I have seen some great results from these. I'm not suggesting one over the other but I am here to tell you that you need to be active after a high intensity workout. You need to promote fluid exchange within the muscle, and you need to mobilize that tissue. "Motion is lotion" , and fluid needs to move through your body. Muscle recovery is important so in addition walk, jog, row, or bike I don't care, but you need to recover so that you can perform in the next day or two with your next workout.
Now this next point is something that is not as commonly talked about as the previous two.
3. Mental Recovery. Most of us go to the gym to sort escape from our everyday routine. Maybe from work, from our kids (God Bless them) or from anything else that may be stressing us out. So we get in there, we're in the moment, nothing else is on our brain but throwing that weight around, climbing that rope, or doing a handstand. Sure we might be tired, sore, but mentally we feel clear. We are in the moment, and naturally that feels amazing. The "WORKOUT HIGH." We know that with the changes in our hormones that occur during exercise, it is a stress reliever. Do we appreciate it enough though? I believe, following exercise, we need to mentally reflect what we have accomplished. This is what I love to do with my Mobility class at the end of the week. Think about what you accomplished, not what you didn't accomplish in that session. Think about what your recovery is going to be, and what your goals are for your next workout. Maybe about how this specific training that you're doing is going to lead to other positive outcomes in your life. There's no doubt that if you take the time to mentally appreciate what you have accomplished and see it as something that has presented value to you, you are going to carry that over into the next task or event that you do in your day, the rest of your week, and in the next workout that you do. Overtime that positivity and appreciation is going to accumulate and change you as a person. This is probably the most important point and will have the most impact on your recovery.
So, focus on these 3 things so that you can CRUSH your recovery, which is going to lead to dominating your PRs, your competition's, and your games. Make a plan for the upcoming week and reap the benefits!!
Dr. Luke Greenwell is a Performance Based Physical Therapist with an extensive background in treating the injured athlete. He is passionate about returning people to the sports & activities they love. He has post-doctorate certifications in Manual Spine Therapy and Functional Dry Needling. He is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has extensive experience in Dartfish video gait/running analysis, concussion rehab, & functional movement screening & correction. He is the owner of CrossFit based RecoverRx Physical Therapy