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Recovery is often defined as the process of returning to a normal state of health, mind or strength. Although a great workout may only take about an hour or less, our bodies feel the effects anywhere from 24 to 48 hours afterward. Whether you’re trying to boost your recovery from a workout or just your day-to-day life, here are a few tips to consider!
1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!
Most of us would like to think we’re drinking enough water throughout the day, although that’s not always the case. Ideally, the average active person should be drinking anywhere from 3 to 9 liters of water a day, and sometimes even more! Our muscles are made up of over 70% water, and without proper hydration, protein synthesis can be slowed drastically. One way to take note of your hydration levels is to check the color of your urine. Ensure the color is a light yellow to clear yellow. Getting into the habit of tracking water is crucial and will help control your mental and physical fatigue during the day.
2. GET 6 TO 8 HOURS OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT
Now some of you live very busy lives. If you’re not at work, you may be at home spending some quality time with family or friends. You may have to tackle other day-to-day tasks that simply have to be done. Regardless of how busy life can be, we can’t forget about a good night’s rest. During your time asleep, the body is allowed its biggest opportunity for mental and physical recovery. Your body simply cannot perform when it hasn’t had the proper rest. Whether it is a little nap throughout the day or being strict with an earlier bedtime, do your best to ensure you are getting a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night, and be certain to make sleep a priority.
3. VARY YOUR TRAINING INTENSITY AND TAKE TIME OFF
This brings us to another method that some find hard to follow when on a strict training regime, and that is varying your training intensity and even taking some time off from the gym. Remember, your full-on, hardcore training can be very taxing to your nervous system and your joints. Taking a break once in a while can do your body some real good! This is easily applied after a few weeks of hard training in the gym. During these previous weeks of intense training, your body may also have been exposed to a lack of rest, hydration and other recovery essentials, leading to decreased gym performance and slower recovery time outside of the gym. Taking a good five days off from lifting weights every six to eight weeks will allow your body to play catch up in all forms of recovery, refreshing your joints and your central nervous system. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel the first time back at it!
4. MAKE PROTEIN A PRIORITY!
As the saying goes, you are what you eat! What you choose to fuel your body before and after a workout will dictate your performance in the gym, as well as your recovery outside the gym. Make sure you are consuming the right amount of protein – at least 1g per pound of bodyweight. Pre- and post-workout nutrition can vary depending on the time of day the workout is taking place, but the majority of your protein and carbohydrate intake should be consumed in and around your weightlifting workouts.
5. UTILIZE SUPPLEMENTS
Once your sleep, nutrition, and hydration are consistent, you will see a large improvement in your overall recovery. This is the time when supplementation becomes most effective. Protein powder is one of the simplest ways to take advantage of the anabolic window post-workout. Aim to consume anywhere from 25g to 50g of protein immediately post-workout, followed by a high-protein and high-carbohydrate post-workout meal, about an hour afterward. Also, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) should be consumed during your workouts. Take 2 scoops of Amino Build® Next Gen (my favorite is Icy Rocket Freeze™ flavor!), mix it in a water bottle with cold water and sip on it throughout your training session. This powerful amino formula contains a researched 4g dose of leucine to jump-start protein synthesis and has even been shown to boost strength! Overall, supplements are a simple and effective way to fuel the body on top of a solid, consistent diet and training regimen. When all of these recovery essentials are used in unison, you will be surprised how much your body can accomplish! When your body is well rested, you can work hard and train harder! Now, let’s work!