Pointers on workout recovery

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Those of you who took on Murph with us yesterday might just be in the market for some pointers on how to get back to 100% from the challenge. Well, you’re in luck! 

Here are some notes on what I prioritize when getting moving again after a tough workout, and a few details I keep in mind as I look to prep for the next one:

First, move! The more intense the event you’ve taken on, the more lax the recovery movement should initially be. Walking, stretching, yoga, etc., all help to get blood flowing to the muscles that need it and work to prevent them from getting overly tight as you build back up.

While movement is vital, it’s also important that we hold off on challenging ourselves again until we feel like we’ve turned the corner. There are apps (Whoop is the one that’s gained the most traction as of late, if you're interested) that tell us with more granular detail the level of recovery we still need, but there’s also a lot we can learn from the signs we get from our bodies. If you’re still fatigued and tired, sore and tight, or just not inspired to get after it, heed what you’re feeling and continue with some light movement until you’re more fully recharged. If you’re stuck on what to do, come to class and we will set you up with a chance to move without adding more work to recover from.

Most of us will agree that a generously-portioned cheeseburger (or something comparable) is just the freakin’ best after a long event. But, at the same time, it’s so important that we eat well and pay attention to helping our bodies build back up properly in the days that follow! 

Workouts, in general, are a stressor on our bodies (the extreme ones like “Murph” even more so). It’s a favorable stressor, in that when we take them on regularly and with enough recovery in between, we adapt to the challenge and become more prepared to face them next time (we get stronger); but keep in mind that they are stress that needs to be tended to properly. 

To get stronger, we need to give our bodies the nutrients that build us back up as quickly as we can. Sure, we can certainly go way down the rabbit hole of intricately weighing, measuring, and preparing every morsel of food that enters our mouths after taking on a challenge, but going heavy on fruits and veggies, responsibly raised meats, and plenty of good ole water will go a long way. Keep it simple, be good to you, and stay away from the junk!

If you’re working out to be healthy and in shape (as opposed to training for a specific event), workouts that require a recovery regimen should be the vast minority of your efforts. This can be a fine line to walk, but if you’re constantly drained after your normal workouts, you might feel a lot better if you stepped back the day-to-day challenge just a bit! Workouts like Murph serve as a good baseline for progress and maintenance (and are just a good time to take on with the community!) but also can quickly become excessive if that's what we think of as just a normal day’s workout. Keep the tough grinds as the minority of your gym efforts!

Last, sleep. It’s during our resting hours that our bodies truly repair and get stronger, so make sure not to neglect some quality z’s after a tough go! Check this post for specifics on how to improve your shut-eye.

Working hard is an admirable trait, but beating our bodies up unnecessarily isn’t. Your efforts in the gym should make you feel good, not burned out. If you ever need more help with striking the balance between work and recovery that’s right for you (which can be a moving target), please get in touch! I’d be happy to chat, and I know any of the other coaches here would feel the same way.