Everyone knows that a new year means an entirely new workout. And whether you’re hitting the cardio machine, or getting your circuit training on, it’s important to be mindful of your body. Intense workouts may often cause a little (or a lot) of stiffness and soreness, and therefore, recovery is key to not only feel better, but to ultimately lead to the best long-term results, too. Here are a few easy ways to recover.
- Myofascial release/massage: Fascia is connective tissue that has been known to mobilise us as much as muscles. When we workout intensely, we stress our tissues (muscles, fascia, etc…) and they get into a “bunch” – sometimes referred to as “knots.” Whether you roll out on a foam roller on your own, or get regular massages, it’s crucial to stretch and smooth these “knots” out regularly to rehydrate the tissue to get them back to normal. This type of release also prepares the body for ideal mobilisation.
- Perform exercises that relax/de-stress: stretch the stressed out tissues and perform flowing, rhythmic movements that can be found in Pilates and yoga. Techniques like these focus on mind-body connections and breathing to regulate neuromuscular activity to compliment intense anaerobic-focused workouts.
You might be interested in checking out our post on 5 stress-reducing yoga moves.
- Take an Epsom salt bath: This mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate is readily absorbed into the skin and reduces inflammation, regulates nerve function, and eases muscle/tissue strain.
- Eat carbs: carbohydrates are crucial for optimal performance. When performing high-intensity, anaerobic activity, the body depends on muscle glycogen, which is created by the energy from carbohydrates. Even if the goal is to reduce fat, the right amount of glycogen is important to reach those goals.
Check out our Clean Eating Challenge for a healthy meal plan.
A well-rounded fitness regime includes both active and passive recovery. I myself aim for two intense workouts a week; one is a type of HIIT, and the other is kickboxing. The rest of the week is anchored by two sessions of Pilates and one session of yoga.
If you prioritise your recovery as much as you do your intensity (while you regularly drink water and sleep well, of course!), you will not only achieve your fitness goals, but you’ll also feel and look great!