People often overlook and underestimate the importance of muscle recovery. Skipping this essential part of your routine can have damaging effects on your body. Here is what you need to know to keep your body at top performance, safe and healthy!
It is scientifically proven that rest and recovery enhance performance. As with anything in life, if you want to be successful you have to plan for it. It may sound crazy, or overly type A (Khristen and Carissa don't mind, type A personalities is how we got here) but, planning for recovery and rest is critical to a successful training program. If you carve out time in your busy schedule to kick ass in class several hours per week, then you also need to carve out time to properly rest and recover from those classes. So reach over right now, pick up a big fat pen, or open your smart phone calendar and put in big bold letters "REST TIME HOMIE" on your day planner. WHAT?! Don't have a day planner or calendar? Then stick a post it on your computer, mirror, anywhere you will see it regularly to remind yourself to plan for rest and recovery!
DO IT CORRECTLY
Wha-what? There is a wrong way to rest? And how the heck do I recover? Can't I just veg out on the sofa and watch 8 hours of The Walking Dead? NOPE! There is distinct difference between what rest and recovery actually are, and there is a way to properly implement them into your exercise program. Yes, we know, we are super picky about technique and execution on everything, but hey that's what makes us good at what we do. So what is rest and recovery and exactly how do you make it beneficial?
Rest - is easily understood as time spent sleeping and not training. How you do this is very critical.
Recovery - this is how you help maximize your body's repair.
***Intellectual Badass Alert*** aka NERD! The human body is one super fascinating machine, it repairs and rebuilds itself and comes back better each time if you implement the recovery techniques correctly.
Recovery is complex system with many components. Don't get overwhelmed! Here is a list of items recovery encompasses:
- Stretching (quit missing Natasha and Katie's yoga classes)
- Stress management
- Time standing vs. sitting (do you listen to Carissa's rants about proper sitting and standing?)
- Time lying down
- Myofascial release (there is that crazy word again fascia, we'll save that for another nerdy blog)
- Then there is the whole biology part of it which includes hormonal balance, chemical components, your nervous system, mental state, oh man the list keeps going!
Because our body is one major complex machine, we have different operating systems that need recovery and in different ways. Much like changing the oil on your car and taking it in for regular tune ups, we have to be the mechanic for our body and do routine maintenance also.
Muscles will recover and repair faster than tendons, ligaments and bones. So don't ignore minor aches and pains, they can become major pains later due to over training stress (ugh…cough …cough Khristen's shoulder is a good example of in need of recovery).
So….How exactly do I recover? Do I need to test hormone levels, count my calories, carry a gallon of water everywhere, take an ice bath then jump in the hot tub…..? Only if you want to! The goal is to work rest and recovery into your regular schedule without having to sacrifice enjoyment of everyday life. Look to achieve balance. It's quite alright to enjoy a fun evening with friends and/or family, have the occasional adult icy cold beverage, and give up a night of veggies and protein for a big fat nasty burger every now and then. In fact, evenings of letting your hair down so to speak may be better for you mentally, than stressing about the next inversion on the pole or that damn roll up on the mat your trying to conquer.
Simply strive for a harmonious balance of happiness in your life, that includes some rest, recovery, exercise, proper diet and good hydration.
ENOUGH NERD TALK WHAT DO I DO EXACTLY?
- EAT - you can heal or poison your body with nutrition. So research and educate yourself on proper nutrition and what will work best for your body and lifestyle. EVERYONE is different. What you eat and what you avoid will depend on you and not what your friends and family do. So make a simple meal plan for yourself, include healthy snacks, and give yourself a break once and awhile. You don't need to punish yourself for enjoying the occasional chocolate or glass of wine. If you decide to eat the whole chocolate aisle at Atomic Candy and then put Wine Squared out of business in one evening, we may need to have a little chat and a good run around downtown Lil D!
- DRINK - water is the key to life! Much like oxygen. You breath without thinking about it to stay alive. Water has the same effect, with out going into too much science cells NEED and CRAVE H20! Start by being aware of how much water you are actually taking in. So realquick go take a good long pee and then look at it! Yep, take a look a that lovely yellow puddle of bliss. In fact take a picture of it and text it to Carissa, she's super dorky like that! Just don't tell her Khristen told you to! HA! The color of your urine can be a good clue to whether or not you are hydrated. Clear to pale yellow is GOOD, the darker and more saturated with color the more water you need to drink! If you start seeing anything other than shades of yellow….call the doctor! What about sports drinks and water additives like Propel and Mio? Truth be told, water is really all you need. In fact, flavorings and other additives can cause your body to work harder and strain to process all that unnatural junk such as aspartame! So if you don't like plain old water try adding fresh fruit like lemon, strawberries, kiwi, etc.
- STRETCH - Not just we these crazy ladies make you but on your own too! Not sure how to do it properly or correctly, take a class with Natasha, Katie or Carissa. Not just because we say so, but because Denton Record Chronicle voters said, we have some of the BEST Yoginis around! They will be happy to share with you how to lengthen those muscles, tendons, ligaments and more. Flexibility is key to being able to move well and stay pain free. Good rule of thumb dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching after ALWAYS! And make sure you move through all planes of movement!
- STAND UP SIT DOWN - Don't be lazy! You hear Carissa talk often about posture, what it does to your body, and many times she sounds like a crazy old bat ranting about how you sit, stand, and those big ugly purses we all carry. But, there is absolute truth behind the craziness. Most people spend more time sitting than moving, and generally with bad posture at a computer most likely trolling Facebook! Uh-huh, think about it, what are you doing now? and how are you doing it? If you sit for most the day, utilize tactile props to make sure your alignment is correct and try to sit up on something like a wedge to help open those hip flexors. Bad posture can lead to numerous problems and that make us send you to Dr. Twila next door! Why? Because it throws everything off! And we can tell when you have been lazy with your posture, just try reformer class with Carissa and I bet she points out how you sit, stand, or what shoulder you carry your purse/back pack on!
- FIRE AND ICE - We aren't talking about a Texas and Canada smack down. Properly icing and heating the muscles can help repair time. But, don't wait for an injury to start practicing these methods. One simple way to start implementing is to go home after a hard work out, turn on your shower and get in while it is still cold. YES COLD! Let the water heat up while you stand there, then alternate between the hot and cold, always starting and ending with cold. Try it out, we promise it is not as bad as it sounds and your recovery time will increase!
- SLEEP - Yes, sleep and get plenty of it. It kind of sounds silly coming from two crazy insomniacs who complete business meetings via text at 1:00 AM; but it is vital to successful
- ENJOY LIFE - Sounds kind of self explanatory. Yet, we often get caught up in the stress of day to day life, the things that irritate us, and can quickly fall into a rut. So, take a few minutes each day and find time to enjoy the simple things, like sunshine, clouds, the yummy food in front of you, the water that quenches your thirst, or the goofy friends that make you laugh. You have heard it a million times, Life is too Short, but it is true. Even on the worst days you can find enjoyment if you look for it! For Khristen and Carissa it's in those precious moments of craziness with their kids. Natasha takes to nature hiking, biking, and camping. Becca cuddles that fat wrinkly thing known as Maddie, and Katie hugs her girls tight. We all have something to bring us enjoyment everyday, so cherish it!
And by the way….get ready Carissa has anatomy charts coming! So no more excuses for not knowing what the erector spinae is or how the trap plays an essential role in Pilates movement. You have been warned!