In this article, I will go over a couple of the tools from my recovery toolbox.
There is a wide range of resources available for use and I will only touch upon the surface of what is out there. I will be sharing what has worked for me over the years and why I recover like a champ even when training volume/demands increase.
Learning and fine tuning never stops in this department as I always welcome any tactics that can benefit my lifting. Recovery is a huge part of performance and is key to making sure that every training is performed as efficient and productive as possible. The process of recovering from a days’ demands is just as important on an off day, as it is on a training day! Let’s not forget that.
There is a great amount of carry over to other health aspects when you place emphasis on recovering. Things like energy, restfulness, alertness, muscular function, inflammation, mental clarity, as well as overall mood and positivity are only a select few of the benefits. Therefore, try to incorporate proper regeneration tactics into your daily routine.
When you feel better, you perform better!
PowerDot is probably one of my favourite recovery tools and the easiest to use! From experience, I’ve found that the most efficient use is right after a training session or the night prior to a big lift. It allows me to relax and facilitates muscle recovery, keeping my body loose for the next days’ training.
To simplify it, PowerDot is an electrical muscle stimulator.
“Electric muscle stimulation uses different Hertz ranges to activate specific muscle fibers, forcing them to contract. These contractions increase blood flow and nutrient distribution to recruit more muscle fibers, which helps the body recover faster, perform better, and reduces the risk of muscular injuries.”
Muscle stimulation can also be used prior to a workout to help stimulate dormant muscles fibers, facilitating the efficiency of muscle recruitment. It can be used during a workout as well, to help activate the right muscle groups to function. It does not get much simpler than this – to be able to recover in the evening while you watch your favorite TV show or read that book you love. This tool leaves you with no excuse.
For more information check out: www.powerdot.com
Looking for the perfect method of down time with a huge benefit on your overall health and lymphatic system? Try the spa! Hot and cold contrast does wonders for recovery.
The lymphatic system is our second most important circulatory system. As stated in Lymphatic System: Facts, Functions & Diseases by Kim Ann Zimmermann, the lymph vessels in our bodies form a network of branches that outreach to most of our body’s tissues. The lymphatic system helps to get rid of any toxins in our body or unwanted materials. When our bodies are consumed of unwanted agents and/or under recovered, you may see signs of inflammation such as, bloating, thickness of skin texture, trouble absorbing proper nutrients from foods, etc.
Seems to me that taking care of this circulatory system is quite important and will have great benefit on overall health function.
During my competitive season, I go regularly to the spa and make sure to follow the recommended bath guidelines. So no, you will not see me simply lounging in the hot tub section. I am the one sitting in the sauna for the full 15 min or counting to 30 under the arctic waterfall.
To get the full effect, your body needs to reach the extreme temperatures. Your heart will beat fast but just remember it is pumping blood flow and oxygen throughout your system! Therefore, spend those 15 min in the heat, count to 30 in the freezing water, and take the full 20 minutes of rest time to let your body decompress from the spikes in temperature. This soothing method of relaxation gives your body and mental state the recovery it needs!
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
I am sure you have heard this one before; close all your electronics an hour prior to sleep. I am guilty of such as I tend to browse the web or watch TV right before bed. I didn’t realize that I was keeping my eyes and brain constantly in focus. I have no problem falling asleep, but I found myself waking up not fully rested or on the contrary, I would be wired at 11:00 p.m.
To simplify, as stated in an article by the National Sleep Foundation, “in the evening, you start to produce a hormone called melatonin that gradually makes you feel sleepy. It continues to increase over the course of the night, helping you to fall asleep and stay asleep until morning.” The artificial light from our cell phone and/or television can prevent our body’s natural process to produce melatonin, thus can alter our quality of sleep.
As mentioned by the Biohacker Summit professionals, sleep is the fundamental driver for fluent brain function, happy mood and optimal performance.
What happens to our bodies during sleep:
– The immune system is upregulated
– Muscle build and repair occurs
– Brain is cleaned from toxins
– Memories are formed
– Mental and physical recovery happens
This day in age, I am aware that we have a constant need to remain stimulated on our cell phones and I understand that removing all electronics a few hours prior to sleep may be difficult. So, why not take the precaution simply by wearing blue light blocking glasses throughout your evening routine?
Has it ever happened to you that you slept 8 hours but still woke up feeling tired and groggy, as if it wasn’t enough? Sleep is when the body rebuilds from both the physical and mental demands of that day. The length of your sleep does not necessarily ensure that is was quality sleep.
In-season, my coach instructs me to sleep 9 hours a night to maximize on a full recovery. One thing I must say, that alone made the world of difference to my training! I never got sore and every day I woke up fresh and ready to go. I know many of you probably said to yourself “Wow, 9 hours! I haven’t had time to do that in years!” What if I told you there was a way to reap the benefits of a 9-hour sleep cycle in a shorter amount of time?
It was over the course of my off-season, in talking with my coach who had the Oura ring; I mentioned how I haven’t had a dream in years. After purchasing the Oura ring to optimize my sleep cycle, I found out that in those 9 hours, I was getting at most 14 min of REM sleep. REM sleep is where your creative juices flow and memory/mental focus is rejuvenated. On average we are supposed to get 1.5-2 hours of REM sleep. I was slightly under that requirement and my coach’s first reaction was “so that’s why you don’t remember anything I say!” Very funny…
The Oura ring tracks your heart rate variability, body temperature, activity, deep sleep, REM sleep, restfulness, readiness, recovery index, latency, efficiency of your sleep patterns and much more. If you are struggling to improve in one area, the app educates you on how to address it. In tracking sleep patterns over the course of weeks and/or months, the Oura ring will tell you your readiness to tackle the day ahead. This is a very cool tool to add to your toolbox!
Don’t take recovery for granted and give your body the rest it needs. It is important for any and everyone one, no matter what efforts you perform throughout the day. The same way you have time to schedule in that meeting, your dinner plans, a phone call or your favorite TV show… schedule in RECOVERY!