8 Ways to Improve Muscle Recovery for Athletes
Guest blogger, professional triathlete Angela Naeth shares with us her pro tips for managing recovery to improve your training and your races. Whether you are an experienced endurance athlete or just beginning your adventure with running, walking, biking, swimming, or even fencing, planning and managing your recovery is just as important as building strength, correct posture, and logging miles.
We reached out to Angela to talk about the power of recovery, because we so often focus on the training, but not the recovery part, which ultimately improves our overall performance.
8 Ways to Improve Muscle Recovery for Athletes, by Angela Naeth
Here are 8 ways to improve muscle recovery:
- Spacing out workouts and REST
- Active Recovery and improving blood flow
- Protein and proper nutrition
Self-Myofascial Release & Foam Rolling
1. SLEEP - Get Enough Rest
When the body is asleep it restores balance to the body and is an important process of repairing muscle tissue damage. Lack of sleep can actually contribute to loss of muscle mass due to hormonal changes that occur when asleep. Sleep is critical. The standard amount of sleep is 7-9 hours for the average adult.
2. Spacing out Workouts and Rest
The best way to recover from hard workouts is to ensure you complimenting them with active recovery, rest, and spacing out the hard efforts. Taking days offs can not only improve your recovery process but also catapult you in your fitness - as they allow your body to adequately repair itself, and prevents burnout.
To help improve recovery, look for at least 1 day off every 10-14 days as a start, and create a rhythm to your training. Within a week, a good way to set your days is 2 days “hard”, 1 day “easy”, 3 days “hard, 1 day “easy”. Try to have a “no-leg” day as well - where you give the majority of the muscles in your body time off. For example, set up a swim-only day or a rest day.
3. Active Recovery and Increasing Blood Flow
To help the healing process of any muscle damage due to training, look to get added support through active recovery - easier workouts that allow for movement at a much lower intensity, i.e., jogging very easy, walking, cross-training, etc. This easier movement allows the body to release any lactic acid build-up and minimizes stiffness, helps promote blood flow, and reduces long-term inflammation when at rest.
4. Protein and Proper Nutrition
Proper fueling after exercise is one of the key components in the recovery process. Reaching for a recovery shake (of a 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio) can help restore the lost calories and ensure you’re providing your body enough nutrients to repair itself. This needs to be taking within 30-minutes after the workout.
Protein is a very valuable macro-nutrient for muscle repair and recovery. Protein is made up of essential amino acids that are exactly that: essential for maintaining and increasing muscle mass. Roughly 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight is needed daily by athletes.
Drinking enough water is important for all bodily functions and one of the best recovery techniques - and, it’s so simple! Being properly hydrated allows the body to digest nutrients more easily, repair muscle damage and restore balance in all systems. The average water consumption is roughly 64 ounces daily. As athletes, a good rule of thumb is to at minima, drink your weight in ounces.
Massage is a great way to alleviate stress and help the body recover. It helps to lower cytokine levels (inflammation) and reduce muscle soreness. Massage can be done by a professional, and also by self-massage. Using massage oils with added benefits (essential oils, CBD oil) can help improve the process.
Stretching improves blood flow to muscles and helps improve range of motion, keeping muscles supple and flexible. This can not only prevent injury but can help improve overall performance. Stretching post-workout is the best time to do so. Holding a stretch for 30-60 seconds and repeating it twice is a good rule of thumb.
8. Self-Myofascial Release & Foam Rolling
Another great recovery process is rolling and myofascial release. Surrounding all of your muscles is a band of connective tissue called “fascia”. Loosening your fascia allows your muscles to glide smoothly and correctly. When your fascia is tight and tough then your muscles have difficulty moving in the correct form and this results in injuries. Foam rollers, balls, and other tools can help you release knots and tension. You can use oils and massage creams to help as you use these tools.
Recovery Products you Can Trust
When creating the bluerub product line, we thought about both the training activities and recovery requirements athletes need for peak performance and results.
You'll find a collection of RECOVERY body care products on our website, both with and without CBD. Ingredients are carefully selected and are all cruelty free.
The handy guide below will help you find the right products for your body, your training, and your recovery.
bluerub RECOVERY GUIDE
MASSAGE+ is a skin-loving blend of Organic Jojoba Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil and Grape Seed Oil infused with Arnica and 300 mg of CBD Isolate (no THC.) It is an unscented, hydrating massage oil. It absorbs beautifully and aids in loosening and relieving sore muscles and joints. Great for easing soreness from cupping, too. VEGAN
MUSCLE, without CBD, is carefully formulated by infusing Organic Aloe Vera with warming and cooling Essential Oils (camphor, menthol, mint, clove and eucalyptus. It has a more cream-like texture rather than a balm or gel. VEGAN (Tip: you can use it as an embrocation cream, too!)
CHILL and CHILL+ Are both aloe-based cooling gels infused with Arnica, and Essential Oils designed to cool and restore tired, overworked muscles. We infused the Aloe with Mint, Menthol, Holy Basil, Turmeric, and Lemongrass. They are gorgeous a (but non-staining) ice blue color from the herbs. CHILL is without CBD and CHILL+ is also infused with CBD Isolate (no THC) and It's unscented and great for self-massage and myfascial release. we have created products to help you with recovery. VEGAN
RECOVERY+ is an Organic Aloe-based cream infused with Arnica, 300 mg of CBD Isolate (no THC), and Essential Oils: Sweet Basil, Black Pepper, Chamomile, Mint, Lavender, Citrus, Helichrysum, to name a few. It has a light, non-medicinal smell and a little goes a long way. It leaves skin feeling hydrated, and muscles feeling soothed, restored, and comforted. VEGAN
Checkout the bluerub Recovery Collection.
ABOUT ANGELA NAETH
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