The Absolute Best Part of Fitness
Are you someone that loves to hit the gym hard but you don’t necessarily “quit hard”? Meaning, you don’t allow your body the time to rest and restore vital nutrients needed after an intense workout. If you’re sitting thinking, ‘this is TOTALLY me’, no worries, we have some simple steps to follow that will help your body repair itself and allow you to continue hitting the gym
The recovery process starts well before you even press play on your favorite tunes and hit the treadmill. The warm-up phase consists of a few minutes of jogging, jumping jacks or any activity that will increase your heart rate, followed by dynamic movements, such as lunges. This process prepares your joints and body for a workout. It’s kind of like the previews at a movie… it allows you time to get situated in the reclining seats, know what cupholder has the popcorn and your favorite beverage and gets you prepared for the movie you came to see. You should move your joints through a large range of motion without stopping for long periods in between.
Similar to the period of preparation before your workout, your body needs a designated period afterward to get back to ‘normal’. Walking on the treadmill or hopping on the stationary bike at an easy pace for 10 minutes will give your body just enough time to gradually decrease blood pressure and heart rate and prevent blood from pooling in your arms and legs. This process also accelerates the removal of lactate from the muscles while initiating healing and restoration.
We all know by now that water is a life source; it maintains a well-functioning, healthy body. What we may not know (or see), however, is the multitude of purposes it has beneath the skin such as: transporting nutrients throughout our body, regulating body temperature which allows our body to produce sweat to help us cool down during a workout, and lubricating our joints,
eyes, and spinal cord. Hydration is key for any human body, but especially for one that is training in the gym. Going into a workout dehydrated limits your body’s ability for peak performance because it has to work extra hard to protect and repair itself. As a rule, you should consume about 2 cups of water 30 minutes before your workout, and roughly 1 cup every 15
minutes of activity to prevent dehydration, and give your joints the lubrication needed to sustain a workout.
What you eat plays a major role in the recovery process as well. There are 2 important windows of time critical to food consumption: pre-workout and post-workout. Consuming a solid base of whole foods, and nothing processed before a workout will help your muscles and joints perform well in the gym. Likewise, consuming protein and complex carbs within an hour after your workout will help immensely with recovery; carbs are needed to replenish fast-acting energy stores (glycogen), while protein is needed for muscle repair. Some awesome post-workout meal options include: Greek yogurt with berries, turkey and cheese, and hummus with pita.
Catching z’s rounds out the recovery process. Ultimately, good nutrition, coupled with sleep is crucial to the rebuilding process of your body after a workout or training session. Poor sleep patterns inevitably equal poor performance and decreased energy in the gym, which is the last place you want that to occur! Adequate sleep will increase your gym performance and quite possibly increase muscle mass; making those tricep pulldowns worth it! Some tips for proper rest include: try to wake up and fall asleep at similar times every day to keep your body on its natural 24-hour cycle ,and don’t partake in a high-intensity activity (or workout) before bed, this will give your body an unwanted energy boost and keep you awake longer. Remember, the recovery process starts with a good night’s sleep!
Hitting the gym hard and also quitting hard will allow your body the rest it needs to restore, repair and rebuild and you’ll be knocking out goals in NO TIME!!!