Health occupies No.1 priority in life for many and these are the ones who schedule their daily routine around their favorite workout or fitness classes. But, many of them don’t realize that working out is only one part of the entire fitness regime and it is not the workout phase but the post-workout phase that makes a person stronger. To completely maximize from your daily workout routine, follow these post-workout recovery options to achieve optimal benefits:
Recovery might be immediate after practicing a set to allow the muscles to eliminate waste products (short-term) or take a longer time (long-term) and happens after completing the workout. Sleep quality and quantity, eating the right post-workout nutrition and the clothes that you wear can promote post-workout recovery needed to help you maximize workout benefits.
While tracks and t-shirts were trending a few years back, the latest are knee-high socks, tights on both the legs and sleeves over the calves and arms. Wearing such compression clothing improve circulation and is the latest form of recovery treatment. These clothes aid in the return of blood back to the heart which in turn removes metabolic waste from muscles and advocates flow of oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.
Ample studies exist these days advocating the advantages of using a vibration platform. The vibrating motion enhances blood flow to any part of the body that is placed over the machine, the three-dimensional movement improves viscosity and enhances nervous system sensitivity. The vibration platform can also help to flush out metabolic waste from the muscles collected during workout and enhance recovery time.
Sports stores and clubs are stocked with these massage-enabling tools such as compression balls, rolling-pin-like sticks and foam rollers that help reduce muscle tightness. Conventional massage therapy works by manually seeking muscle tissue to break adhesions and allowing the muscles to slide against each other without restrictions. A foam roller does a similar job when we place a body part directly over the roller and move it back and forth. Practically, it is impossible to hire a massage person to relax one’s muscles after workout and foam rollers, compression balls and rolling sticks are used instead to provide recovery.
Sauna or Hot Tub
Heat from these improve circulation, remove metabolic waste products such as hydrogen ions and promote oxygen circulation and other nutrients that are helpful in repairing tissue.
Ice Bath or Cryogenic Chambers
It works on the same concept as using ice to heal sore muscles and pains. Ice packs, baths or cryogenic chambers are the latest and most effective way (although less-comfortable) for recovery after workout. A cryogenic chamber applies extreme temperatures (up to -135 degrees Centigrade) for a brief time. Such treatment options cool down body’s core temperature, especially during hot weather, promote healing in tissue and reduce inflammation after a workout session.
‘When’ you eat is as important as ‘what’ you eat. Post-workout snacks should contain healthy macronutrients in apt quantities to replenish lost energy stores. Consuming a post-workout snack or drink with the right mix of carbohydrates and protein can serve the purpose of replacing energy needs (carbs) and repairing tissue (protein). Evidences show that having a snack or drink with a 3 to 4.1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio within 30-45 minutes post-exercise can help the individual recover from the workout energy depletions and equip himself/herself for the next day’s workout.
Sleep is indispensable for excellent health and fitness levels. Our body produces hormones needed for tissue repair during the REM cycle of sleep. Our sleep-wake cycle detailed at www.firsteatright.com plays a major role in keeping our body healthy. So, if you decide to go for a high-intensity workout, ensure that you have time for a good night’s sleep to recover 100%.
Blending Workout Intensities
Periodization is the term used for alternating between high- and low-intensity workouts, used more in the case of athletes preparing for competitions. The workout intensity is gradually increased reaching its peak some two to three weeks before the start of competition and then gradually decreased, giving time for rest and repair before the competition starts. Non-linear periodization alters between high- and low-intensity days within the same week. For example, Monday might involve high-intensity strength-training workout, Tuesday might involve low-intensity aerobic-training workout, Wednesday might involve moderate-intensity body-weight workout, Thursday again might involve high-intensity anaerobic interval workout, Friday might be the rest day, Saturday a high-intensity strength day and Sunday a low-intensity strength day. Such non-linear workouts always allow a few days off every few weeks to allow the body to fully rest and recover from the stresses of the workout program.
Effects of Overtraining
Overtraining without rest and recovery will lead to injury or illness, both of which can keep you from doing physical activity for a prolonged period. Such lack of rest can also lead to energy-producing hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol that can decrease the ability to generate new muscle tissue. Inability to sleep, lack of appetite, prolonged illness or no positive gains/effects after exercising are symptoms of overtraining which can ruin your goals in life. Travel plans, busy office schedules or family commitment must be met with low- or moderate-intensity workout plans until you return to your normal sleep pattern that can support high-intensity exercise.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.