What makes for the best recovery?
Just as anything else worthwhile in life you desire to achieve success at, recovery is no different. Your recovery is ultimately planned with the end in mind, therefore, one must start planning their recovery before they even begin to train, be it for their daily routine, an event such as a race, spartan, and so forth, or especially if they our new to training, or have been off training, for one reason or another, for a length of time.
Extreme and elite athletes are my forte, whether military, or not. These individuals have gained much knowledge about their bodies, and their body’s response to various climates, terrains, cuisine, hydration levels, and the effects of rest, sleep, stress, and attitude, as well as, how they all play into recovery well before they even begin. They have learned to tune into their body’s and listen. The have also learned the art of flexibility.
Let’s touch on these:
Our body’s are constantly sending us feedback: How rested we are, if we need more sleep, more food, more water, more space, more quiet, more activity, more challenge, so on and so forth. It’s our job to be paying attention to the signals our body is sending. If one is pre-occupied with an over scheduled calendar, they are highly likely to ignore all signals until they have a chance to catch their breathe. In extreme cases, or what most people would refer to as ‘Type A’ personalties, who are always on the go (and literally choose this for themselves or they have become conditioned to do so), they typically do not stop to assess the situation until either 1) they become ill, or 2) they become injured. Many, even at that point, do not make the connection of their predicament as having anything to do with listening to their body.
So, first, I encourage you to assess your lifestyle and habits. Second, assess if you are overdoing it anywhere: work, training, play, school, late nights, etc., and work on making the changes that will bring balance to your life.
Lastly, take note when you’re starting to feel overly fatigued, easily agitated, to pains here or there, headaches, muscle tightness, tweaks, and so forth. These are all warning signs. Take heed and many times you’ll never encounter the illness or injury, keep pressing forward and you could be asking for an unnecessary setback. It’s better to take a a day or two off training, and get other productive things done that are less demanding, than end up feeling lousy for a week or more, with low productivity.
Flexibility: Allows one to ‘go with the flow’, to make changes as needed, and be willing to do so at a moments notice. Elite athletes find they make these changes daily in order to meet the needs and demands of the next day’s agenda. No two days of ‘prep’ for recovery are the same. You do not need to become an elite athlete to master this skill, you simply just need to listen to your body, and be willing to make the appropriate changes (flexibility), to bring it back into balance, as soon as possible.
Helpful Tools to Aid Recovery
To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~Buddha
25 Tips to a Speedy Recovery
Take in electrolytes
Juice: fresh, homemade, mostly vegetable
Ice and Heat
Walk to keep circulation active
Vitamins B (Complex), 6 and 12, and Vitamin C get used abundantly, restore
Vitamins A, D, and E as needed for injuries
Keep meals satisfying but moderate. Overeating taxes the digestion system, and in turn the immune system. Under eating leads to malnutrition, slows healing, and mental sluggishness.
Use an inversion table to encourage blood flow to harder to reach places.
Use compression, as needed
Hot and cold water therapy
Proper pre and post workout nutrition
Proper timing of pre and post workout nutrition
Additional supplementation, as needed: BCAA’s, L-Glutamine, and so forth.
Consume extra protein (casein), before you go to bed and a regular whey first thing in the morning
Although many athletes turn to ibuprofen for inflammation, usage over a period of time, or high doses has been found to cause liver damage. Try tumeric, cinnamon, or ginger instead.
Creatine post training
Warm-up properly (yes, this is prep for recovery, daily)
Ditch sugar and alcohol