Many people tell me that they feel lethargic or tired the whole day after coming from gym. They feel its over training. I believe its because of under recovery. Recovery is when the gain begins. You should ensure that you recover well and recovery is not just sipping a shake and cooling down post workout but it happens even when you are at the gym.
Things to do
- Warm up – Warm up well before starting your workout. The old school warm up of getting on to the treadmill is not a very good idea. You should do dynamic stretching to warm up the body parts you are going to work on. When you prepare the body for the movements you are going to do you will see optimum results and less chance of injury. Your warm up should be a process to joints to move more weight. When you are properly warmed up with right movements you will have less stress on your body when doing the actual exercises. There will be less stress on your joints and muscles and hence recovery will be faster. You can start with a 5 min cycle/ elliptical/treadmill to warm up overall body temperature. This will help prevent injuries when you do the dynamic stretching. Your dynamic stretching should be some 10 reps or so of movements of important joints like hip, spine and shoulders . Take couple of exercises which are muscle stabilisers to start your workout. eg. Leg day – start with glute bridge. On your upper body day start with Facepulls. This will improve your movement quality and strength to do the rest of the exercises.
- Sleep – You already know how much better you feel after a good night’s sleep. Avoid alcohol – your liver has to work harder when it should be resting leading to stressed sleep and waking up exhausted. Avoid screen – TV, phone, E readers etc etc. Try reading paper books and stop looking at any screen at least one hour before your sleep time. Have a more or less same pattern of sleep and wake up time. Drink a glass of haldi milk with almonds. Take a hot water shower. All this will help you get a good nights sleep which will help recovery process faster. There are apps like ‘Sleep well’ which will help you tremendously to monitor your sleep cycle.
- Plan your workout according to your energy. If you wake up tired or with a bad sleep cycle , avoid strenuous workout that day. Go for a lighter routine. On days when you feel like superman and charged go full blast. Lift heavy, run faster.
- Use Foam roller/ tennis ball to release knots in your muscles. Make this a every day habit. Also dedicate 10 mins to mobility movements everyday. There are various good mobility workouts available on YouTube and make them part of your everyday cycle. Mobility and foam rolling massage will reduce tension in muscles and improve tissue quality.
- Active rest day – We all have a rest day. Instead of lying passive and not doing anything do a low intensity exercise to recover faster. Like cycling for 25-30 mins at a steady rate. Which means keep max heart rate at 60-70% of max heart rate or a swimming session. This will result in increased blood flow, oxygenation of tissues and removal of toxic products that can build up after intense workouts.
Use these tips and your body will recover faster. gains will be more and you will feel energetic through out the day. Train smart. Lets get fitter together.