The pillar to all growth and prosperity is recovery. We will cover 3 areas that are lifestyle-related and 3 areas that are physical protocols. If you stick with 2 or 3 of the below and focus on them, your recovery needs will be met. Sleep is the number 1 focus and most potent recovery element, followed by hydration and nutrition. If you have extra time and available resources add in foam rolling first, then heat, then ice.
Number 1 – Sleep
No debate and simply nothing better than the number 1 protocol of good recovery. Good sleep. Better yet, great sleep. The best recovery all takes place when your eyes are closed and you enter the wonderful world of sleep. If you like reading and want to explore one of the best books on sleep, the impact it has on us and some incredible takeaways, please get yourself a copy of Why We Sleep.
Number 2 – Hydration
Keeping your body adequately hydrated helps maintain better body function. It helps with blood flow, muscle function and in essence, keeps everything running smoothly. Nutrition is important but hydration is first on the list in terms of things you put into your body.
Number 3 – Balanced wholefood diet
We are not going to delve deep into the world of nutrition in this article. We just wanted to highlight the importance of whole foods and natural foods. It is irrelevant if you are vegan, vegetarian, meat-eater or falls somewhere in between. You gotta do you. The most important is the quality of food and where it comes from. Real food, real ingredients as much as possible. Your body, your brain and your performance as a human will thank you. Plus, your recovery will drastically improve when you do the simple things well.
Now, let’s explore 3 physical protocols you can add in.
Number 1 – FOAM ROLLING
Foam rolling is a fun (sometimes painful) way to self-massage your muscles. Target trigger points and stay on top of any areas that may be giving you a little trouble.
Number 2 – HEAT
A large study on heat, in particular sauna use in Finland (study). Essentially what was found was that a reduction in all-cause mortality events was reduced by 18%. Now, this study was not directly looking at recovery, however, when all of your systems improve their function and decrease their risk factors/malfunction, one assumes it aids the overall physiological system. This in turn will help the body process, function and recover.
Number 3 – ICE/COLD
Surprisingly cold therapy has only 1 known benefit. We’re not saying science won’t find any future benefits but for now, the consensus is surprisingly only one element. Cold therapy appears to be the current in vogue recovery technique. The protocol is now embedded in our elite teams. The how and when is the important thing to note here. Best practice now suggests the only benefits for ice are 24-72hrs post-exercise for a reduction in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The inflammatory response post-exercise is actually very beneficial for your adaptation physiologically. Supporting research here.