But- it is a fact that working out alone doesn’t make you strong and healthy. It’s just one piece of the whole cake of healthiness.
While many people actively think about nutrition and workout programming, few consider proper regeneration. Nutrition and training are obvious.
Recently I found out the hard way how important proper recovery really is. It’s nothing to maybe care about – it’s the single most important thing you should work on to get ahead.
And let’s be real – we all could sleep more, worry less and calm down more often.
That’s what this post is about:
Let’s actively think about recovery and look at what’s important to get the best results – without lying 2 hours on a freakin blackroll every day…
The three most methods to improve your recovery
Nothing works without it: Sleep
Really. Nothing. If you don’t sleep, you die. This is true even for lesser beings.
Sleep is extraordinarily important. Nearly every process in your body is influenced to the better by it.1
If you are sleeping badly, no other recovery aid can help you. So – fix this one first. For the sake of your whole well-being.
- You should aim for 8-9 hours in bed
- Go to bed each night at the same time
- Create a supporting evening routine
- Make these points non-negotiable and be responsible for them
If you wanna learn more about good ol’ sleep head straight to this post.
Active recovery: Movement and cardio
Although it might sound paradox – more movement can help you recover faster. That you can move even more. The unending, vicious cycle of sports.
The thought behind that is to simply get more blood through your muscles. More blood equals more oxygen, more repairing material and lesser waste metabolites.
Us humans are made to move. Can’t do anything about it!
The most important thing is to keep it easy. Just move lightly, do some mobility work, or go for a relaxed cardio session. Even just walking around your local forest can help significantly.
Eat well and sufficient!
Only who gives his body all the materials it needs can recover properly.
Ever been on a strict diet and trained really hard while doing so?
I bet you were sore even 2 days after this workout. That’s because your body is already stressed enough by starvation.
Your body is an awesome improviser. It can sustain without many substances and not everything is essential. On the contrary, it can build up a lot of stuff from scratch and sustain without many others for a long period of time.
But to function to its best you should give him plenty of everything it needs. You are in this together, so better support each other. 😀
In fact, it is really hard to get fat if you’re living active and eating well most of the time.2
Don’t even think about blackrolls, miraculous supplements, and co!
Recovery is like many other things worth achieving – it requires hard, consistent work. Or in this case consistent, relaxing work.
That’s why you should keep it simple and err on the side of the basics. You got limited time – so go for the things that work. Don’t waste your time lying half an hour a day on a creepy blackroll.
- Sleep is the best recovery method there is and will ever be. Period.
- Nutrition is important.
- Both are so important, that we die without them pretty quick.
- Movement is not unimportant, too, to say the least.
The fitness industry wants to sell. They try to sell you every few months there new, glorious short-term-solutions to get everything without putting in the work.
They promise the holy grail of the lazy (or an economist’s wet dream). The only problem with this approach is that it doesn’t work in 99% of all cases.
Do yourself a favor and forget about short-term-fixes and quick solutions.
Getting strong needs time, dedication and hard work. The same goes for mobility. Even more, is true for recovery. It takes a whooping third of your whole day.
Befriend this mindset and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration. And money…
Other recovery methods to consider for your getting-back-on-track-toolbox
In this section, you’ll find besides the three main protagonists – sleep, nutrition, and movement – a few passive methods that I personally found useful in some cases.
If the three above are in sync they can help you. If you mess up in one of the three, none of them will help you.
See them as a plus, an additional feature – the top of the recovery iceberg.
Who doesn’t like going into saunas? Besides all these many naked, and most of the time ancient-looking, bodies…
Because of the high room temperature inside a sauna, your heart has to work really hard. Your body thinks you’re dying of a heat stroke and want to get the heat outside.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work – outside its hot and humid. Sorry, body.
A visit to the sauna, once a week, can be a good supplement for your recovery – both physically and mentally.
Massages and Gua Sha
In general, I don’t think good of massages. They feel great but don’t have a lasting effect. But, from time to time, they can help to get really stressed-out body parts, back for action.
I like to massage my forearms after strenuous handstand sessions for example.
Gua Sha is a self-massage technique. You use a stone, spoon or coin for it. This may sound unpleasant – but in reality, it’s 10 times that unpleasant. If you wanna try this technique educate yourself first and start slow.
This article is a good first dive into this topic.
Blood Flow Restriction Flushes
First things first – flushes are nothing for rookies! You should know what you are doing here.
When flushing you’ll reduce the blood flow out of an extremity with the aid of a flexible band, named voodoo floss. The important point is that you don’t bind it up completely. You don’t want to create a tourniquet.
While bind up, for roughly 2-3 minutes, you’ll perform some light and easy exercises to build up an oxygen deficit. This is why your extremity can turn slightly blue.
When you open the voodoo floss, blood will shoot into the tissues. It will look red, hot, warm, and pumping. Your body tries hard to reoxygenate these tissues.
The goal is to increase blood flow in the targeted area.
I learned this method through Kelly Starrets MWOD Course.
A few thoughts to end this post
The take-home message of this post is that you should look first and most important at the basics.
Is my sleep, nutrition and training in sync with my life?
These three points will make around 90% of the final outcome.
If this is the case and you are really serious about your training, you can look around to optimize the other 10%.
Most people waste their time hunting after 10% but leave 50% at the table when it comes to the basics. Party nights, strict diets, strenuous workouts, and uneducated decisions take their toll.
Have you any other secret recovery methods in your arsenal to get back stronger? I would love to know them!
So feel free to write me a comment, with which methods you had great experiences.
I wish you a great evening,
Queries and further reading:
- I would suggest reading this article by EverydayHealth about various recovery methods post-workout.
- Very interesting to read was this Interview with Christie Aschwanden. I like her No-Bullshit approach when it comes to recovery. She thinks nearly as I do of this matter and focuses on the important basics.