Recover Your Way to Better Performance
3 Things to Focus on For Better Recovery
Work hard, recover hard… or so the saying goes. When you’re putting your body under stress with hard training sessions, recovery becomes increasingly important so you can continue to make gains (in and out of the gym). Focus on these 3 things to ensure you’re coming back stronger every time:
Sleep is important no matter what your goal is. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep is correlated with loss of lean body mass and stagnates fat loss efforts. Most of the time, our work and home life get in the way of a good night’s rest. By prioritizing a healthy sleep schedule, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to meet your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Have trouble getting to sleep? Increasing melatonin and magnesium intake can help. When you are sleep-deprived, your magnesium levels decrease. Your body increases its production of dopamine and adrenaline in order to keep your mind alert so you can get through the day. Magnesium is essential for Gaba production, which calms and relaxes you. You can increase magnesium with foods like almonds, avocado, and spinach, or a magnesium supplement.
Melatonin is essential for regulating your sleep/wake cycle. By increasing melatonin, you’re telling your body that it’s night and it’s time for rest. A few easy things you can incorporate are getting out in the sun in the morning and limiting the amount of blue light you’re exposed to in the evening. This will help your body auto-regulate melatonin production. Consuming tart cherry juice in the evening has also been shown to reduce inflammation present from heavy training sessions and improve melatonin production.
“You can increase magnesium with foods like almonds, avocado, and spinach, or a magnesium supplement.”
Eating the right foods at the right time helps our bodies to balance our hormone production and ensures that we’re getting an adequate amount of nutrients. We want our brains to be active and alert during the day so that we can focus on the things we need to accomplish. However, this is the opposite of what we want when we’re trying to go to sleep.
When you eat a high-protein breakfast, you produce more acetylcholine and dopamine, giving you the focus and drive needed to accomplish your daily tasks. At dinner, though, you want to incorporate carbohydrates. This allows your body to increase serotonin levels, helping you to feel calm and peaceful.
Check out this article on the benefits of a high-protein breakfast to learn more.
Active Rest Days
Taking rest days is important when training hard, but a rest day isn’t an excuse to lay around. By doing light to moderate activities on your off days, you increase the amount of blood flow to your recovering muscles and decrease muscle soreness. Yoga and gentle mobility work will help you improve your performance while reducing inflammation.
Just to recap, training hard will get you nowhere without proper recovery. Prioritize sleep and nutrition and make sure to take rest days that include light activity. Do these things and we’re sure you’ll see the results you’re looking for.