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How to make sure you're on the right road to recovery


Karl Henry

Karl Henry

Karl Henry

I was wondering what the best ways to recover after a session were? I love going to the gym but am finding it hard to recover from my training.

KARL: Recovery is probably the most important but underrated aspect of training. While most people may put in a great session in the gym, they fall down with the recovery aspect of things. This means that they will take longer to fully recover, will experience more delayed onset muscle soreness and will find it harder to put in a good session when they eventually go back to training for their next session.

There are several ways to help you recover better - some of them easy and some not so easy.

The first is using cold or ice water in your shower or bath. We know that a cold water shower can help you recover quicker, an ice bath even more so. They aren't the nicest feelings in the world but will certainly improve your recuperation.

The crucial component is certainly nutritional, though, no question about it. When you exercise, you cause your muscle fibres to tear minutely.

These minute tears then grow back together and become stronger, leaner and tighter.

Your most important nutrient for growth and repair is protein. So your post-training meals must contain a protein source. You can get you protein from the following sources:

Shakes (look for the shake with the lowest sugar content, without aspartame)

Meats (go for lean meats - turkey is ideal for this)

Eggs (a complete protein but, ideally, you should not have them fried)

Pulses and beans (a great source, quinoa and lentils especially)

Nuts and seeds (a handy way to get some protein in your body instantly)

Fish (an amazing protein source and a great source of healthy fats, too)

These are just a few sources of protein. Ideally, you should combine them with plenty of coloured vegetables because there are lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in these.

If you have a long commute after your workout, you need to ensure that you plan your nutrition in advance. Nuts and seeds are handy here, but you can use a shake if needs be.

The other crucial aspect to recovery is sleep and the quality of the sleep you are getting. Sleep is the body's best way of recovering, so you should do all you can to ensure you are getting the deepest sleep possible.

Try reading for at least 20 minutes before you go to sleep, as opposed to watching TV. I would highly recommend getting a blackout blind installed in your room, as this will totally block out any light you may have coming in.

On top of that, you can get some apps on your smartphone that will actually monitor your sleep via movement detection.

One final tool to monitor your recovery is your resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate should return to normal when fully recovered, so check it regularly and see how many days it takes to return to normal. The quicker it returns, the fitter you are. It's a simple guide to recovery that wont cost you anything.

Try these tips and see how your recovery improves.

Health & Living