How to Optimize Recovery
It is known that working out causes damage to the body in the form of little micro-tears. Once the damage is done, the body works tirelessly to heal itself and come back stronger. This is how muscle is built. However, this recovery process needs to be taken seriously. When looking to get the best results, you want to optimize this recovery. You will eventually get the most bang for your buck when it comes to working out and actually making gains.
Here are SIX ways that you can optimize your recovery and ensure the progress you are looking for.
Protein is a buzzword in the fitness space. How much, what does it do, what kind?
Protein is a macronutrient that has a ton of responsibilities in the body. It helps to make DNA, repair tissues, and synthesize muscle. It hands down is the most important macronutrient!
When we don’t consume enough protein, we hinder the body’s ability to recover. The entire recovery process is centered around protein as a whole. Therefore, we can optimize our recovery when we consume enough protein.
What is enough?
Typically, it is common to see someone consuming around 1g of protein per pound of body weight. This tends to be plenty for muscle recovery. However, for some more intense athletes or people with more ambitious goals; you could even go as high as 1.2g of protein per pound of body weight. This is an amount that will help to optimize recovery and provide you with the best gains!
This is one area that everyone can improve upon. With the way our society works now, sleep is neglected. We sacrifice sleep so that we can get more work done. However, this is detrimental to our health and even more-so to our recovery.
As we sleep, the potent recovery and muscle building hormone testosterone is released in very high amounts. This helps to go about the body and repair all of the damaged tissue. When we miss out on sleep, we miss a large sum of our total recovery for the day.
Sleep is a complex thing. There is a ton that goes into it. How to sleep better, how long to sleep, how you should sleep. All of these are topics that you may be very familiar with.
You should be getting around 6-8 hours of sleep a night. This can vary depending on the person, because there are outliers who don’t need as much as others. Regardless, this is the most effective time range for sleep. Now if you are someone who does not get this much sleep, you can create what is called a sleep deficit. This is the amount of time that you did not get within that range. You can make up for this by taking naps during the day. Even if it is just 30 minutes added to your total sleep for the day, it will help.
The quality of this sleep also matters. You may have had 10 hours of sleep, but you woke up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all. This is due to the fact that you never got any deep sleep. We need what is called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is the deepest part of our sleep cycle and a lot of recovery happens during this time. If we sleep lightly or never fall into this deeper portion of the cycle, we may not feel rested or recovered. You can practice what is called sleep hygiene to help make this happen. This includes making your room cool, staying away from blue light before bed (phones, laptop), and keeping the room dark. When we make sure to have those things in check, we can more easily get into a deeper sleep, therefore, optimizing our recovery.
There are tons of supplements out there. Some with outrageous claims, and then there are the staples. These are the ones that are proven to work through real research and have withstood the test of time. These include BCAA’s, Glutamine, and Creatine. Every one of these can help to optimize your recovery.
BCAA’s are branched chain amino acids. Amino acids are what make up proteins, so it only makes sense that the individual parts are also beneficial for the body. When we consume protein, we break them down into these individual amino acids, but as a supplement we get to bypass that process. They aid in recovery. As we do that muscle damage, these amino acids can swoop in and provide the muscles with fuel for recovery. They also keep the body from pulling from existing muscle stores for energy. So, if you are in a cutting phase or trying to lose weight, BCAA’s may help you to preserve some of that muscle mass.
Glutamine is also an amino acid. It can help to synthesize muscle and aid in recovery. Glutamine also has a great quality that allows it to help aid in the immune system. So, glutamine is great for avoiding getting sick. It also helps with you intestinal health as well. As we dig deeper into research, there is plenty of evidence showing the importance in gut health, so this is a great way to aid that.
Creatine is probably one of the oldest supplements, as well as, one of the most researched. When creatine first came on the scene, it was almost too good to be true. It increased your lean muscle mass and helped you produce more strength and power. To some, this sounds like a steroid. But it isn’t! Creatine is found naturally in the human body and we use it as an energy source. However, we only have so much of it. When we use what is stored, we have to wait until it has replenished. If we supplement with creatine, we then increase the amount that is stored in the body and improve our performance and muscle mass. Creatine is interesting because it does have to build up in the system. The benefits of recovery, muscle mass, and strength won’t show immediately. However, over time they will begin to manifest. You can start with a loading period, but that isn’t necessary. It is recommended to just consume 3-5g of creatine a day to get the desired effect. Just be patient!
If you are interested in a high-quality supplement such as the ones just mentioned, you can check out 1upnutrition.com to get yourself set up. You can also use the discount code: LBD20 to save some money.
This is a newer form of recovery that has just recently become popular. Typically, this type of cold therapy was done in ice baths, but who wants to do that? With cryotherapy, you enter a tube and they blast you with extremely cold air. This reduction in temperature creates an adaptive response in the body that turns proteins on. Some of these cold response proteins help to recover things in the body that normally wouldn’t. It also helps to push any old blood through the system. As the air gets colder, the blood vessels contract. This creates a flush in the system. Once you get warm again, the blood vessels dilate and allow for the blood to flow REALLY well. As you get blood, oxygen, and other nutrients flowing through the body better; recovery increases.
Deep Tissue Massage
With all of the damage and intense workouts, some extra attention to recovery will help. This can come in the form of a deep tissue massage. When tissues get damaged, or injuries occur, muscle may knot up or build scar tissue. So, having a very deep massage, can help to loosen up anything that may be bothering you. It also opens up blood flow to areas that may be tight or constricted by an injury. This can increase the rate of recovery for whatever area.
It isn’t always fun, and it can be painful. However, the relief that you will experience afterwards can reap tons of rewards. We get stiff from time to time, and over time this can take a toll on us. So, having someone really get in there and loosen things up is great.
I would say going around once a week is super beneficial for someone who is intensely working out. Going twice a month would be great for pretty much anyone.
IV Hydration Therapy
This can come in the form of hydration or even vitamin therapy. Sometimes we fail to get all of the necessary vitamins and minerals that we need to be our best. This is normal, because there are a ton of them. All of those are also distributed through the body in the blood. So, you can have an IV treatment where they directly insert soluble vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes into the body. This allows for the body to absorb them super-fast!
When we are dehydrated from working out or just everyday life, this can be a life saver. It can also help you cover any nutrients that you may be neglecting in your diet. Dehydration can cause a host of issues such as dizziness, headaches, and even lower recovery levels. We want to minimize this if we are looking to optimize our recovery.
The first three solutions for recovery are very common. The second three are a little more advanced. Regardless of where you are, you can use all of these methods you help optimize your recovery. We need to take it seriously if we are looking to get the most out our training. It will also help you to reduce the amount of soreness that you are experiencing. This is often a feeling that keeps people out of the gym, and if we can help to reduce that, we can keep people healthier and stronger.
Work to optimize your recovery, and you will notice a massive difference in your results!