Working hard on your fitness right now? Great! In our busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of back to back workouts alongside marathon work weeks (or even actual marathon training). But it’s just as important to add recovery time into your schedule because that’s what helps our bodies build muscle. Yes, you heard that right.
When we work out, we are breaking our muscles down and tearing the fibers. When we are recovering (think time spent asleep), our bodies are hard at work rebuilding and multiplying our muscle fibers, helping us find those strength gains and new personal bests later on down the road. Recovery time doesn’t just help you build muscle, it also helps your body heal from injuries and fight off viruses. So what counts as rest? Let this be your guide:
It goes without saying that getting consistent sleep is the key to keeping your energy levels high, and your injury levels low. Aim to get between six to eight hours of sleep every night (even weekends). There’s no such thing as catching up on sleep. Bingeing on sleep on weekends, for example, will actually make you more fatigued during the week, leaving you more prone to injury and a higher chance of you not sticking to your healthy food choices. If you’re also looking to improve your muscle tone and improve your body fat percentage, remember to cut off carbohydrates three hours prior to bed (this allows your body to go right into burning fat instead), and sign off of electronic devices an hour before to make sure you get your most effective sleep yet.
Sounds contradictory? Not quite! Here’s why it’s a good thing: Our muscles need to release tension, especially post-workout or after a long and stressful week. Try to release tight muscles and improve mobility through foam rolling, restorative yoga, float therapy or cryotherapy. Try classes like these:
Many of us add vitamins to our daily routine to help give us a boost of nutrition, so it’s important to also consider adding a supplement when it comes to your post-workout recovery. Give your recovery time a boost with a little help from branch-chained amino acids, or BCAAs as you might know them. They’re super helpful when it comes to recovery, as they help promote protein synthesis, which aids in rebuilding your muscle fibers more than just protein supplements alone. Take a serving post-workout, and for an added boost, take another half serving right before you head to sleep. Another top-notch option is Arnica, a homeopathic supplement that helps relieve muscle fatigue and soreness and is a lifesaver when you’re on the go!
There’s a reason why professional athletes get regular massages—they’re not just a spa day luxury! It’s important to help break up muscle tension in order to keep us exercising at our best. Some of the top benefits of getting regular massages include improved flexibility, mobility, and increased blood circulation. If you’re feeling tight or sluggish, opt for a sports massage, which focuses on your tightest spots like hips or shoulders. Pro tip: Did you know that you can also book massages on ClassPass? Try these classes:
Yin yoga with Thai massage
Power Plate yoga and massage