7 Recovery Habits to Become a Better Athlete
So you want to be a better athlete?
I can not stress how important recovery is for athletes, whether you are a runner or a triathlete if you want to be better you need to take your recovery seriously. Professional athletes don't play around with their recovery and we should not either. Besides, most of us have full time jobs that in addition to our training add to the stresses of family and work life. Recovery is as important as any key workout on your training plan. Don’t be overwhelmed by the list. Work on one at a time until it becomes routine. Then move on to the next one. Being a better athlete means working not only on what you like and already do but it means working or adapting to something new and maybe even something you don’t like to do.
Nutrition- Recovery protein after workouts. - 20-30 grams of protein and add some carbs to replenish glycogen (stored energy in your muscles). This has been proven and researched. Making sure that your protein and your nutrition needs are covered each day is a key for your success when recovering. Got to fuel your machine, no gas is a not go for training and health. Later on I will address the best types of protein. But for now just get into the habit of having protein.
Sleep. This is a huge one. 6 hours of sleep will not cut it. You may be used to 6 hours of sleep but it will eventually catch up and lead to injuries, fatigue, not to mention hormonal disturbances. No lights and a cool room are a must. New habit; aim to go to bed 10-15 min earlier for two weeks and gradually add 10-15 min to this routine until you get at least 8 hours of sleep per day.
Foam roll/ massage/ theragun or compression - So we can’t get a massage every day, but we can foam roll 5-10 minutes every day. Work on those tight or problem areas. Not only will you get relief for your muscles; more blood flow and mobility for better ranges of motion. Compression works wonders to improve circulation may it be normatec or any pneumatic boots or compression gear. If you can, splurge the time and the money on a massage...by all means go for it. .
Hydrate. Keep hydrated and especially after workouts. This is not just water but you need electrolytes as well. This will vary from each individual. Don’t know how much you sweat? I didn't either until I got this test done. You will be surprised. https://www.precisionhydration.com/pages/why-personalise-your-hydration-strategy
Manage life stress - and who is not stressed? Right? Some days will be worse than others but if you feel too much stress a short yoga class or meditation will help. Take a few minutes to yourself to decompress and do something for you that you enjoy. Read, watch a movie or call a friend to get your mind off all that bother you.
Supplements - here are some supplements that have studies backing their success for recovery and aid in sleeping. Tart cherry concentrate, melatonin, magnesium, holy basil
Follow a training plan that allows for recovery days. Not all your workouts should be high intensity. A good training plan will add recovery workouts and will progressively build your strength and endurance.