TIP#1.5- 5 Activities Needed For Optimal Recovery
The last post on Recovery was on 5 things that can ruin your recovery process - poor recovery being arguably the biggest deal breaker for most people and their goals. As for a lot of people, working out hard enough is not the problem, but what they do inbetween. Here are 5 EASY activities you can do for optimal recovery and faster results!
1. Go To Bed Early
Just as one healthy meal won't make you healthy, one good night sleep won't make you rested. Optimal sleep is a 7 night a week deal. I always say the best window of sleep that's the most realistic in modern society is around 10pm - 6am. You want to minimise the amount of hours you spend awake when the sun is down, and maximise waking hours when it's up. In conjunction with a good diet, this will help regulate all the hormones associated with your desired body composition of more muscle mass and less body fat, like Growth Hormone. Read more about hormones and fitness here.
2. Do More Moderate Intensity Cardio Activity
Fasted cardio is best for burning fat. However, the benefit also comes with a prolonged elevated heart rate, which can deliver nutrients to places in need of it quicker then if you were snoozing on the sofa watching TV. The faster your body recieves nutrients, the faster it can recover. 2-3 times per week of 30-40mins moderate intensity cardio activity will help keep body fat down (fasted, preferably in the morning) and will get the furnace of your metabolism fired up - A fast pace walk in the park is ideal for this.
3. Schedule Your Meal Times
Schedule all your meals at consistent times everyday. Set an alarm if you forget. Regulated meal times means that your body never goes without the much needed nutrients for repair, and it also regulates insulin and growth hormone, 2 factors you wish to keep in line if you want to make the most from your recovery. 3-4 hours maximum between meals. Read more about nutrition here.
4. Drink Lots Of Water
2-3 litres per day is the target here (for moderate climate habitants). Water is the main medium used for the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. You want to remain well hydrated to keep this delivery system running smoothly. Fill a jug with 3 litres of water in the morning, and make sure it's gone by the time you go to bed. Water is also used to flush out toxins from the body via urine, we must aim for a clean body to make recovery work in our favour. The difference is quite measurable.
5. Stretch Potential Problem Areas
The muscles in need mostly are those in the lower body, namely the lower back and legs. Stretch your lower back by bending over and reaching towards the floor with slightly bent knees. Straighten the knees to get a stretch on the hamstrings. Then, squat down onto your toes with your thighs parallel to the ground, pushing them forward to increase the stretch on your quads if necessary, hold them all for 15-30secs. These 3 stretches are the most important and the best to avoid injury during intense resistence training. Make it a habit to perform them 2-3 times per day to keep your body supple and strong for your next workout.
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Matt The Trainer
Personal Trainer London
NOTE: When pursuing fitness goals you must address your diet if you wish to gain the best results. Please see this article here to find out more info on proper nutrition.