Being a part of our Fitstop Family, you would be familiar with pushing through a little soreness and stiffness from our Fit, Fast and Functional sessions, but are you recovering properly in between?
I’ve been a part of the Fitstop Family since we opened our doors to the Lawnton community back in mid September. Coming from a Rugby League background I have always been passionate about strength and conditioning and the team/group training environment feels like second nature. When we are training at this level of intensity, sometimes twice per day and 3-5 times per week, it can take its toll on the body.
Recovering in between sessions is super important in allowing adaptations (changes) in your body. Without adequate recovery these changes won't take place... you could actually be doing more harm than good! Through my experiences in Rugby League, I have tried and tested many recovery methods. Some have worked, while others have been a waste of money. Finding what works for you and your lifestyle is the most important thing.
One of the most common and easiest ways that we recover is a post training cool down and stretch. By slowly dropping the heart rate and concentrating on stretching the major muscle groups, we can help release the tension we have created through training and flush out any lactic acid build up.
I know for me personally that a quick 20-30 minute stretching block is a great way to switch off from the world and give your body some TLC. Try using a timer at 30-45 second intervals and work on those major muscle groups. Remember, flexibility is a TYPE of training, it is something that can be worked on and improved, just like we work on our strength and fitness during a class.
Other techniques you may be familiar with are foam rolling/trigger point therapy/self massage. These can hurt like hell and for first timers can be pretty painful, but once you get through those early stages you will feel the benefits almost immediately. Something that has worked wonders for me is a ‘Shiatsu Massage Belt’. Google it and see for yourself!
Joey’s Tip! - Again using a timer at 30-45 second intervals you can knock out a quick 20 minute block of self massage with some trigger point therapy at the end.
Try out this foam rolling program at home or next time you’re in the gym!
Calves x 30:30 (each side)
Hamstrings x 30:30
ITB x 30:30
Quads x 30:30
Glutes x 30:30
Lower Back x 30 seconds
Upper Back x 30 seconds
x 2 Rounds followed by 5 minutes of trigger point therapy.
Ice baths/cold therapy is another one, but can be tough to do (especially now coming into winter). I’ve never come out of an ice bath or hot/cold shower and regretted it, at least once I can feel my toes again..
Cold therapy or ‘cryotherapy’ reduces the blood flow to the body which in turn reduces inflammation, tissue breakdown and pain in that area. Trying it out at home is as simple as getting a couple bags of ice from your local servo and filling the bathtub (kiddies pool, small wheelie bin) with cold water and the ice and taking the plunge. Depending on your history with cold therapy, first timers should be mindful of not overdoing it with the temperature, as everyone will have a different cold threshold.
Joey’s Tip! - Between 1-3min blocks is a good starting point, ensuring that you return to normal body temperature before taking another plunge. Do 3-4 rounds of this and you are set. An easier option is to do hot/cold therapy under the shower, 1min hot:1min cold rotations.
**Remember to FINISH ON COLD, and resist the temptation to use hot water straight away. Use a towel to dry yourself off and put on warm clothing to continue the cooling effect.
Physically, these are 3 simple things that you can try out at home or in the gym.
Other important factors to consider are the amount of sleep you get each night and your water intake during the day. The body releases the largest amount of growth hormones when you are in a deep sleep, which is what repairs broken down tissue. This is necessary post workout to help you recover for the following day. For a long time 8 hours has been the standard, but new studies suggests this may even lower towards 6 hours. Again this is dependant on your lifestyle and you as an individual.
Water intake is something that can be easily done, but so easily forgotten. A large majority of Australians think they are drinking enough water, but we are well off the mark. Guidelines recommend 2L+ per day, so if you’re embracing the sweat at Fitstop like the rest of us, this is the bare minimum and you should be looking at 3L+ on training days.
Remember, not all recovery methods suit everyone! Find what works for you and find what works with your lifestyle.
See you in the gym!