Newer research shows that exercise recovery is almost as important as the actual training you do. How you recover will either add to, or take away from the gains you make from training. Training really only serves to break the body down, while recovery is what the body does to repair and rebuild itself so you can take on the next workout.
Exercise recovery should be a serious endeavor. After all, if you’re going to invest the time (and pain) in 4 hour bike rides and long, lonely runs, make sure you make it all worth it by paying attention to your recovery.
“Less is more” is where much of the recovery research is heading. Athletes are typically a driven bunch, and time off tends to be a big source of guilt. However, researchers are learning how important exercise recovery is for your body and mind. Taking some time off gives your body an opportunity to heal, and allows you to have better balance in the rest of your life.
During recovery, the following things happen:
- Energy stores are replenished.
- Tissue undergo repair.
- Rehydration takes place.
- Inflammation is contained.
- The endocrine (hormone) system regains balance.
Here’s what you should do to maximize post-workout exercise recovery:
- Do a quick cool down. Cooling down shifts metabolic gears and this lower intensity exercise is when your body uses up lactic acid. (That’s right; lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a useless waste product.
- Hydrate. This is an ongoing process. You probably aren’t going to be able to replace all of the fluid you lost training in the short term; hydration should be an ongoing process.
- Refuel. The 30 minutes immediately after training is known as the ‘anabolic window’, when the body becomes extremely efficient at replacing fuels spent during exercise. This is the best time to eat – immediately after your session.
- Rest. More specifically, sleep. Sleep is a state of repair – its when growth hormone is produced; it leads the charge in repairing your body. Poor or inadequate sleep leaves your body poorly equipped to repair itself, and sets you up for long term health problems like insulin resistance, weight gain and hormonal imbalances, not to mention poor injury repair.
- Massage is a great way to relax the muscles, and get them out of their active state – think of it as a forced, yet brief vacation for your muscles.
- Active recovery – some rest days should be spent doing nothing, and other times active recovery is appropriate. Active recovery means going for a walk, a gentle yoga class or stretching, or even a slow bike ride. All of this is meant to get your blood flowing, but with very little demand placed on your body.
Proper exercise recovery requires the right amount of rest and nutrition. Supplementation with the right formulas can help speed up the recovery process.
Anti-inflammatory formula gets at the heart of inflammation and stops it where it starts. AI formula is a potent natural replacement for ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Quercetin bromelain complex is a powerful combination of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound quercetin, and bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory enzyme that also helps the body absorb quercetin and cool inflammation.
Systemic enzyme complex combines 9 different anti-inflammatory enzymes. Enzymes stop the production of inflammatory chemicals that are produced during strenuous exercise. Enzymes stop inflammation and pain as well.
Food and rest will help your body regenerate its energy stores, but supplementing with a combination of Corvalen, magnesium, L-carnitine and CoQ10 will speed up the process and target the heart of energy production inside the cells at the mitochondria.
Cordyceps sinensis is a Chinese herb that has been shown to enhance the recovery and energy-producing processes in the body.
Energy Formula is a combination of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that will give you a quick lift following an intense workout. It’s also great for an afternoon pick up on those long workdays.
Acli-Mate Endurance Formula combines both simple- and complex carbohydrates for quick energy replacement, B-vitamins, electrolytes and R-ribose for mitochondrial energy. It’s a great fuel for during and post-exercise recovery.
Think of oxidation as biological ‘rusting’ – it lies at the heart of aging. While the benefits of exercise are indisputable, excess exercise creates oxidation in the body. That’s why it’s important to quench those free radicals (which are created by the oxidation process) with anti-oxidants.
Greens First and Greens First Berry are fortified blends of over 10 servings of fruits and vegetables; each formula contains 49 different super food concentrates making it a powerful serving of antioxidants. It tastes good, and we put a scoop in our smoothies and recovery drinks to boost our antioxidant intake right after exercise.
Take your recovery seriously – make sure you do all you can to enhance it so that all your training pays off!