As well all know, recovery days are important for rehydration, nutrient replenishment, sleep, muscle repair and muscle growth. It’s no secret that proper recovery actually helps make you a better athlete, and healthier overall. The ability to improve muscle development, improve mental health and stress, and reduce the risk of overuse injuries all aid in this.
So here’s what you should make sure you do on recovery days to show up your best for your next workout.
How to spend your recovery days
Before and after a workout, take the time to stretch. My trainer constantly stresses how important it is to get your muscles warmed up and down to prevent injury. Do slow stretches that target the muscles you’re working. A good universal stretch is downward dog. Take time to pedal your feet so you can work hamstrings and legs. If you’re working arms and abs, do jumping jacks for thirty seconds. This is also a great one to get your heart rate up for cardio.
Hydration should never be forgotten. How much and what fluids you need post-workout depends on the exercise you did, and how much you drank during. If you’re not a competitive athlete, water should suit you just fine. On the contrary, look for something with electrolytes and sodium if you go extra hard.
At least once per week
No matter what, give yourself at least one recovery day a week. After that, make sure you listen to your body instead of pushing yourself for numerous days in a row. If you have to take extra, do it. This’ll help you and your goals in the long run.
Yes, you can move around on a recovery day! In the days between workouts, you might stretch, go on walks, or do a low-intensity yoga practice. If you’re just starting out a routine, try some different methods to see what really works for you. Again, your body will let you know if what you’re doing is beneficial.
Just as diet is important on workout days, it’s equally as important on recovery days. Food aids in muscle recovery (trust me on this—you can feel the difference, and it’s actually kind of wild). What you’ll want to focus on is protein. Make sure you get at least 20 grams. This’ll repair muscle tissue and help you build firm, strong muscles.
Also, if you’re doing high intensity workouts, don’t skimp on carbs. They’ll help you with your energy levels. Again, if you don’t believe me, take note of how you feel after you start incorporating protein and carbs into your recovery days. Could be like a brand new person, instead of 100% exhausted.
Discipline is important as you start your workout journey. But don’t worry, there’s always time to relax if your muscles need it. Try a foam roller if you need extra relief.