OK team, a few words about recovery…
It sounds so nice to think of recovery as a retreat from all you’ve done over the last several days. I used to think that recovery days were days when I could abandon my training and nutrition routine so that I could just give myself a rest. I’ve learned a lot over the past several years however and now I understand that rest and recovery (when we talk about it in terms of training and athletic performance) actually means something very different.
We want you to come in and work! We also want you to understand that work on recovery has a different look and feel than work on our high intensity days. We’ll keep you focused on good movement, mobility and working at or below 60% of your energy output. It will feel good and will help you manage the fatigue and stress that will start to accumulate as we work our way through this 2-week process. When I was training with the National Team we spent 10 minutes after every morning session in an ice bath. We had access to chiropractic professionals, dry needling, acupuncture, sports medicine doctors all to help us understand and manage our training. Our strength and conditioning training also included mobility work and skill development in certain movements and movement patterns.
Now, I understand that we don’t all have access to a temperature-controlled cold immersion tub nor do we all have the resources to invest in daily acupuncture or massage, but there are several, very cost-effective ways we can reap similar benefits using tools we can keep at home. Here are my favorite (and most effective) tips for at-home recovery:
Wrap it Up
By far the best solution for acute recovery is to restrict blood flow. It’s simple. Grab a compression wrap and here you go. Locate the tissue that feels tight or sore and wrap on 80% tension right over the sore area. Do a 50% layover with each wrap on the band. Tuck the loose end of the band in and then move your body. It will be tight! Go through a full range of motion for 2-4 minutes. If the legs are sore and you are wrapping the quads then squat up and down, do lunge steps and move. Remember, if something feels sketchy then it’s sketchy - hot or tingly is not ok. Take the band off right away!
When we restrict, or cut off blood flow with compression we do 2 things. First, we compress the tissue, and we should always move while it’s compressed. Moving while compressed will help get any kinks or knots out. Second, when we are restricting blood flow we are setting ourselves up for a rapid return of blood to the area once we take the compression away. With this surge of blood flow back to the area we bring healing properties that will clear out the junk and bring in the good stuff.
Take a Dip
Ice baths can serve as a wonderful tool for recovery. That, or you could just go outside and spend 10 minutes sitting in the snow right after your training session… seriously! The cold constricts your blood flow to help your body clear out junk and brings fresh fuel for your body in. The other thing that we really like about ice baths is that the cold provides a quick and very potent hormonal response, similar to the release of endorphins you get when experiencing a “runner’s high”. Your goal should be to make it 3 minutes in water that is 35 to 55 degrees. It needs to be cold enough to make you shiver. Also, when I do this I wear clothes - especially long sleeves. For some reason, it makes me feel like I can manage it better!
Assess Your Readiness to Train
Recovery can be a tricky thing. So often we find ourselves craving the feeling of being hands on knees and chest pounding after 20 minutes of Tread & Shred and that can make it harder to realize when we really do need a day to recover. It takes some practice and some patience with yourself but asking yourself just a few questions will help you understand where you’re at physically and mentally when you decide to come into the studio. There are 3 simple questions that you should ask yourself to help you determine your state of readiness to train. These can be incredibly helpful, especially when you don’t have access to external measurements and gadgets that we see pro athletes use. Tomorrow when you wake up, ask yourself these 3 things:
- Did I get at least 7 hours of sleep?
Am I in a good mood?
Do I have a desire to train?
If your answer is no to 2 or 3 of those, then you probably need a recovery day. Don’t worry, you can still come to class, but put a big “R” with a circle around it next to your name so your coaches can help you create a workout that helps you make steps towards feeling better.
Ask your coaches for more tips on recovery and remember that in order to make it through these 14 days successfully we have to recovery harder than we train. It really is the key to your success!
All Hail the TreadMighty,