Be Active In Recovery

By: Coach Nick Lape

What do your “rest days” look like? Do your they make you look like you have zero fitness goals? Now I know some of you read that question and tilted your head like a lost puppy. How could I possibly be comparing rest days with fitness goals? Because, we all know fitness doesn’t happen on rest days, right? If you answered, “right.” Then please keep reading. I have some words that you may need to hear. You may have heard us trainers talk about ‘active recovery’ days, and we do so for a reason. We use these days to keep our bodies and even our minds active and in tune with our fitness goals. Let’s be honest, there is no way our bodies can keep up with all out training for an extended period of time. That’s like someone asking an NFL team to be prepared to play in the Super Bowl every week. It’s just not doable. Eventually your body needs a little love.

When I discuss active recovery days with people, I bring up one of my favorite fitness personalities, Mike Boyle. He talks about creating active habits. Those include doing SOMETHING everyday. It doesn’t have to be deadlifts, it doesn’t have to be kettlebell swings or push ups. It could be, working on breathing techniques. It could be doing some of your warm up or mobility work. It could simply be getting on a foam roller and giving your muscles a little love, but DO SOMETHING. When we sit and do nothing, we regress, being sedentary is the world we live in today. We just have to make doing something active a habit, just like the workouts we are trying to recover from. Staying active and reminding your body that it needs to be prepared is the best way to do that.

It is so important to create these active recovery habits if for nothing else, for this one reason. Here I’ll quote Dr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” This could very well be where you find your active recovery days. So you made a plan to go to the gym but hey guess what, now your child is sick. There’s a chance to get some recovery movements in. Especially with a sick child! Why? Exercise helps increase your immunes systems ability to fight infection. Then your boss calls while your child is sick and needs you to leave town for a couple meetings. Boom, 2 more days we didn’t plan. Or, maybe you had a race, event, or an especially hard training session and you are pretty sore. A day off and being sedentary is not going to help in any scenario. All of these time are perfect to hop on a foam roller, use bands, go for a walk, work on breathing, or do a RAMP just to try and stay active. It just so happens that we have any entire system built just for this and all you would need is a band.

All I’m saying here, is that recovery days don’t and really shouldn’t have to be planned. If you know you aren’t going to lift anything heavy on Wednesday because you lifted heavy stuff on Monday and Tuesday, then take Wednesday to get in some active recovery. Don’t let your body just lay dormant. At the beginning of any program, one where you are trying to create positive lifestyle changes, a rest day of doing nothing can be a huge killer of momentum. Try to prioritize and set as the same time every day for some form of movement whether it’s a work out or active recovery in. It’s the easiest way to build a habit.

There are a million different ways to make your off days or what we like to call active recovery days beneficial for yourself. I only mentioned a few above with foam rollers and bands. But each person is going to be different based on the goals they set for themselves. With all this in mind, what will your next rest day look like? Don’t just lay your goals aside. Be active! I’d love to hear what your favorite active recovery includes!

The Best Results Come from Great Recovery

By: Coach Mike Klaus

You work hard in your workouts. You push yourself. You level up. You are putting in a lot of effort so why not make sure you are getting the most bang for you buck from them? The magic happens while you are recovering. The workout is the stimulus. During a workout you are actually damaging your muscle, creating micro tares. With proper recovery, your body repairs these tares and you are ready for your next workout a little stronger. Below are our favorite recovery activities to help you thrive in and outside of the gym and get the best results!

Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling offers many of the same benefits as a massage, including reduced inflammation, scar tissue and joint stress, as well as improved circulation and improved flexibility. Our favorite places to roll, especially for those who are at a desk all day include you calves, quads (tops of your legs). By rolling during pre and post workout, you will help prepare your muscles for the workout ahead and also help with post muscle recovery.

Check out Mike’s video on foam rolling! Need a foam roller? We have them at the studio!

Sleep

Achieving adequate and good quality sleep help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. Getting enough uninterrupted sleep, which is between 7-9 hours for most people, is crucial for optimal health. No matter what your goal, performance, fat loss, feeling better, or having more energy, without enough sleep, you will not reap all the benefits of the work you are putting in during the day.

Need some ideas on how to get more sleep? Check out Coach Suzanne blog post.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage can help with small or large muscle injuries or aid in the healing of chronic problems. Deep tissue massage targets deep muscles, tendons, as well as protective and connective tissue known as fascia. Those with chronic muscle tension or injury are more prone to adhesions, or thick “knots” that form in muscle fibers. These adhesions may not only be painful, but can disrupt blood flow and circulation, diminish natural movements, and result in inflammation. Undergoing deep tissue massages helps break down the adhesions and restore proper body functions.

Looking for a great massage therapist? Contact Johanna Mertensmeyer at 314-409-3724. Her studio is located in the Tower Grove area.

Nutrition

During recovery nutrition we remember the three R’s: refuel, rebuild, rehydrate.

Each of these critical recovery concepts calls for a different combination of fluids, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein—each playing a specific role in the recovery process. After training the body is left dehydrated, drained of fuel, and broken down.  The body is in a stressed state, and the proper blend of nutrients can jump-start the body’s recovery process to help you come back stronger and healthier.

If you are looking to optimize your nutrition for fat loss, performance, or just feeling better, email our Registered Dietitian, Suzanne at suzanne@forwardfitnessstl.com.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy triggers the release of endorphins, helps activate circulation, decreases inflammation by clearing toxins, and ultimately stimulates cellular regeneration, resulting in overall faster healing. Cryotherapy is used by elite athletes to improve muscle and injury recovery. Celebrities use it to slow down the aging process. And, clients can benefit from pain management, weight management, and relief of stress-related conditions to improve mental wellbeing.

Looking for a knowledgable and friendly place, check out Radiance Float + Wellness.

Eat – Sleep – Live Better: Recharging Your Batteries

Recovery is an extremely important part of the health puzzle. From workouts to high stress jobs and family stress to sleep deprivation, our bodies don’t seem to catch a break. Without intentionally making time and creating habits to recharge your batteries, you may be left with an empty tank  and trying to push through. When you get to this point it’s impossible to function optimally and progress in your health goals. Learn about different habits you can create to help you recover and be the best you possible!

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Recovery: Fitness that Doesn’t Come from a Gym

By: Nick Lape

Time to Recover - ClockJust about every person that I meet asks me what I do for a living. After I tell them I am a trainer, they all respond with what they are currently doing at the gym. More often than not I hear something similar to, “Nick, I just started a weight training program. I work out like 5 or 6 times a week and I hit ALL my muscles every day. I love how sore I’m getting BUT, I can’t seem to lose any more weight or get any stronger. How can I change things up?” When I ask them how much water they are drinking or how many hours of sleep they are getting on average, a huge look of surprise overtakes their face. Many people fail to realize that recovery outside of the gym is just as important, if not more important than their training inside the gym.

The number one thing that seems to be over looked in a training program is the rest or recovery phases. Without these, you will hit plateaus. Fat loss will begin to slow and strength gains will stop happening. You will be stuck because your brain and body are on overload. They don’t want you to do any more. You might tell it to push harder, but at some point your body will say “No.” It will worry more about surviving in this state of overload than losing weight or building muscle. It won’t matter how much harder you push yourself at this point, your body won’t progress until it has a chance to recover. Then you will be back at square one asking someone what to change.

In all honesty, if you are looking to change something there is a good chance that it has nothing to do with the gym. It is something that I personally tell people all the time. Most of your strength and physique changes happen in your kitchen and while lying in your bed, when your internal processes are hard at work. An example of just one of these processes is the release of Human Growth Hormone that helps repair our body as we sleep. All you did with your workout is shock these systems into working more efficiently. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or your diet isn’t feeding your metabolism the way it should, you may as well just concede to your plateau. It won’t be going anywhere for a while.

Recovery, though you may not want to, could mean taking a day off or the gym and just foam rolling or breathing silently. It could also mean adding more veggies, water, and protein and taking out sugar and processed foods. Maybe it means turning off the TV an hour earlier and getting an extra hour of sleep in.  Everyone is different. Everyone will react differently to changes that they make. Plateauing is a common sign of overtraining. That means TOO MUCH training. Change things outside of the gym first and then worry about the next phase of your training.