I’m so glad we all have been so motivated throughout the year and staying the course toward our goals.
That said, this holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Years, can be some of the toughest times to stick to your eating goals. As the holidays approach, I many times eat a little, well a lot, off my normal course, so I try to pick it up in the gym to compensate.
Adding in extra training to burn off those extra glasses of eggnog is great, but can sometimes leave you sore, mentally fatigued and not up to hitting the gym again. This is where having the right recovery plan can make or break your consistent successful workouts. Incorporate these post workout recovery steps into your regimen and you’ll find yourself injury free and ready to take on challenging workout after workout, no problem.
Hydrate — Drink water, drink water, drink water. We all know this, but many of us still don’t drink enough, especially post exercise. Water helps our body recover by assisting in the movement of nutrients into muscles and removing toxins from muscles.
In other words, if you don’t hydrate properly the bad stuff is going to stay in and the good stuff is going to stay out. National recommendations are for 20-24 ounces of water for every hour that you work out, but consider this is for a well-hydrated person. If you started your workout slightly dehydrated, like most of us do, then you need to drink even more.
Remember once you are thirsty you are already dehydrated so take a proactive approach and constantly drink throughout the day. My solution is keep water in your sight all the time. Just like you can’t resist grabbing that candy from the bowl in the office when you see it, you’ll find yourself reaching for your water bottle more if it’s always with you.
Get fishy — Fish oil supplements are all the craze in helping heart health and a host of other health conditions, but now we are seeing it have a positive effect on muscle recovery post exercise. Recent studies from Harvard Medical School found that people taking fish oil daily felt better and experienced less soreness 24 hours and 48 hours post exercise. Fish oil contains omega threes which are naturally occurring anti-inflammatories.
When we exercise, muscle fibers are torn and broken down which starts a mini-inflammation whirlwind in our muscles slowing down recovery. By eat fatty fish and popping fish oil pills, we can help limit how much inflammation occurs. When looking for a quality fish oil, remember it’s the omega threes we are interested in, so look on the back label for the pills with the highest milligrams of those. The FDA says its safe to take up to 3000 mg of omega threes, so plan accordingly.
Roll out — If you’re hitting the gym hard, then you better hit your foam roller even harder. A recent study showed that rolling out for 20 minutes post exercise can greatly reduce your recovery time.
After a workout I know you’re ready to go home immediately, but take the extra time to roll and stretch. I suggest you focus on the area of the body that you know gets the most sore or the area that you hit the hardest. When you find a spot that’s tender or hurts, just sit on that spot for 20-30 seconds. Make it part of your routine and write it into your workout plan so you don’t forget.
Training hard this winter holiday season is a great way of staying healthy, in shape and avoiding packing on extra holiday pounds, but remember to couple your training with consistent recovery techniques. Commitment to hydration, fish oil and foam rolling can go a long way to keeping you in the gym and out of bed.