So it turns out training is only half the battle when it comes to building your ideal physique.
… well, I guess nutrition is half the battle… so training is half of half the battle.
Recovery is the other half. Or 25%. Or whatever the complicated fraction is I’ve managed to talk myself into…
Let’s rephrase this.
There are 5 components of successfully dropping body fat:
- Stress Management
So, if we’re looking at each of those being equal parts, I suppose it’s around 20%.
Although, that being said, nutrition, sleep & stress management all have a strong influence on how well you’ll recover from your training sessions. But I think I’ve confused us both enough by now so let’s just take the following statement as true:
Training without proper recovery is a waste of time.
If you aren’t allowing your body enough time, nutrients and rest to recover between training sessions, you’ll never get truly optimal results (and will have a highly increased chance of injuries, and getting sick).
Now (as we just touched upon) there are fundamentals that must be hit in order to recover fully from training:
- Well balanced nutrition (How To Create The Perfect Weight-Loss Meal)
- High quality sleep (Sleep: The Over-Looked Component Of Weight Loss)
- Adequate hydration (Is Water The Secret To Your Weight Loss?)
But assuming you have all of these factors hit?
Assuming you’re getting great nutritional intake, sleep and hydration levels, and are still finding yourself struggling to recover from sessions?
Or maybe you’re just feeling particularly tight and are in need of a bit of a boost to trigger recovery so you can make it back to the gym (or just not grimace as you climb the stairs)?
Well then, the following 4 techniques may be exactly what you need to fast track your recuperative capabilities and get back to full working order as soon as possible.
After all, the recovery aspect is often times more pleasant than the actual training!
1) Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salts are also known as magnesium sulphate, a mineral which plays a part in nerve function, blood pressure regulation, cortisol regulation, hormone interactions, bone health and protein synthesis-all of which contribute to improving your recovery from a hard training session (and they’re happily absorbed through the skin).
Simply add 300-400 grams to a warm bath and relax for half an hour or so- the quiet time alone will serve to decrease stress levels, contributing to improved recovery.
Add it in a few times a week for an easy recovery boost (and because you can now justify baths as being an athletic endeavour… candle included).
2) Contrast Baths & Showers
Alternating your bodies core temperature between hot and cold can do wonders for restoration.
The cold portion causes your body to flush blood inwards, to your organs. The hot section following causes your body to push the blood back out to your extremities.
This causes an increased blood flow and circulation in the aforementioned extremities, whilst simultaneously delivering a hit of nutrients that’ll aid recovery.
Fill your tub up with warm to hot water (don’t worry about being scientific here, you want to lightly sweat, not scold your skin), and lie in there for 2 minutes.
After the two minutes is up, jump into the shower for 30 seconds of the coldest water your plumbing can muster. Repeat that process 3-5 times (and make sure you end on cold water).
If you don’t have the set up to go between bath and slower without massively diluting your hot water with the cold, then the same principle can be followed with the shower taking on both roles, so 2 minutes under hot water, 30 seconds cold, and repeat.
We suggest saving this for after particularly gruelling sessions.
Everyone loves a good sauna session right? if you’re lucky enough to live near one (or even own one, you fancy guy you), then I’m sure you understand the relaxing benefits a quick sauna & chill has on your body.
Studies have suggested that a regular sauna can help increase various muscle building (and fat-burning as a result) hormones (such as HGH & IGF-1), lower stress level, has potential heart health upsides and helps manage pain.
This is probably unnecessary, but for the sake of constancy I’ll include the instruction. Simply open the sauna door, and enter.
Conflicting research concludes it may be most beneficial to do it 3 hours removed from a training session, so you aren’t raising your heart rate whilst it should be relaxing. However if this isn’t an option (for instance if your gym has a sauna), then going a a few times a week for multiple ‘sets’ of 5-15 minutes post-training will still provide a mental and physical break.
I’d imagine you don’t need much convincing to partake in this one…
Dependant upon the style of massage you opt for, the practice comes with numerous benefits.
Should you go for one of the more relaxing forms (Swedish, restorative etc) then the practice can increase blood flow, therefore recovery, to the areas they focus on.
If you opt for a more strenuous sports massage, then the process can serve to reduce inflammation, improve the elasticity of the muscle and joints, and balance out any excessively high areas (which in turn will improve training performance, therefore fat loss and muscle gain).
Try and find a reputable and qualified masseuse- if you find one that you deem to be helping your recovery, make sure you keep their number, it’s not an industry where all practitioners are created equal.
Now I’m aware for most of us, this’ll be a luxury that may be few and far between. But, if you can justify the expense, and want the physical (and mental) benefits, a massage once a week would do wonders (ideally not before any strenuous exercise though).
If you have well balanced training, nutrition, hydration, stress management and rest protocols in place, 94% of your recovery will be taken care of.
However if you do feel like you need (or want) that extra 3%?
Give one of these methods a go, and see how you feel after.
Although I wonder how many of you will gravitate towards the bath, sauna and massage, and conveniently forget the one including any cold water? 😉
P.S. If you wondered where that other 3% was? It might be hidden in the supplements that actually work. Check them out here: Which Supplements Will ACTUALLY Help?!
Finding the time to adopt new habits and fit exercise and healthy eating into a busy lifestyle can be very challenging. Here at Luke Bremner Fitness we specialise in working with busy professionals and business owners, so we understand the importance of time efficient health and fitness solutions.
We designed our core programmes – the 12 Week Transformation and the 4 Week Jumpstart with that in mind. To help you, the busy professional look, feel and perform better without sacrificing the previous little time you have available.
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