Recovery is a hot topic in the fitness and training world. Just like anything that has to do with fitness there are countless opinions, theories and methods thrown around as being the best way to recover from hard training. And let me add that when I say recovery here I am not talking about the 5 minutes after “Fran” that you feel you have been run over and are trying to figure out how to get up and get home. I am talking about the hours and days after tough training – the time the body is actually adapting, growing and improving from the training.
Do a little search on recovery and you will find numerous methods out there that can help your body recover from hard training. Some of the more popular include pre and post workout nutrition, massage, yoga/mobility work/flexibility, active rest, sleep, chiropractic, ice baths, contrast baths and post workout supplements. There are more but for now let’s look at nutrition, sleep, and mobility/flexibility. Notice anything familiar about these? If not let me help you, they are three of the keys to fitness that we talk about all of the time, three things that from day one you should be putting effort into to get healthy, lose fat and perform better.
I like to look at recovery from the same angle I look at supplements. (Warning: I am about to go off topic a little, but I promise I will bring it back) If you have talked to me about supplements then you will know that I am not a big fan of spending a lot of money on supplements when you haven’t got the basics of diet and nutrition dialed in. Supplements should be used just as their name implies to supplement your diet and training – and there aren’t many supplements worth spending money on even if you do have the nutrition part dialed in (that is a topic for another time). Don’t throw money at supplementing a bad diet. No matter what the multi-billion dollar supplement industry tells you (which they can just about tell you anything they want), you can’t beat a good, clean and properly portioned diet. And you cannot supplement your way out of a bad, junk diet.
So back to recovery and the point I am trying to make. It is easy to get caught up in all of the hype that surrounds the fitness world and constantly try the newest recovery method “guaranteeing” better workout performance, faster gains, improved fat burning after the workout etc… But if you do not first focus on and get the basics right, you will not be getting the most out of any of these methods and you certainly will not be getting the best results from your training, it all goes hand in hand.
I may have disappointed you with not giving you specific recovery protocols and exact ratios of proteins and carbs to eat post workout, but before we even get to that level you must first get the basics dialed in. This is a mandatory first step to getting results from your training as well as for your recovery regimen. We will go into specifics in an upcoming post, but start here first.
- Get your nutrition in order.
- Sleep and sleep well and regularly.
- Do not neglect your flexibility and mobility.
I will leave you with a look at recovery from Greg Glassman in a 2005 CrossFit Journal article; back before there was a CrossFit Games, when CrossFit was all about the average person getting better for life and not training for the “Sport” of fitness. This is a free CrossFit Journal article, but if you are not already a subscriber to the Journal, that is your homework for the day. There are literally 1000’s of articles and videos in the Journal that will all help you get the most out of your training and nutrition. It is the best $25/year investment you can make if you are serious about this stuff.