Maximizing Your Post-Workout Recovery
After crushing a HIIT class or a GPT session, the last thing you may want to do is take a few more minutes to stretch or foam roll but it is crucial include post-workout mobility as a key aspect of your recovery. At TS Fitness, our goal is to build you up–not break you! We want to make sure you’re recovering properly from a great session.
The Importance of Recovery
Recovery is often overlooked by gym goers. “When you exercise, you’re causing a bit of trauma to the body. You create micro-tears in your muscles. Then, when your muscles repair, they grow stronger,” said Coach Noam. The more you train, the more stress you’re putting on the body. If you’re not allowing the body to recover, you’re causing yourself more harm than good.
If you are working out regularly, you shouldn’t be feeling constantly sore. We recommend that you give your body 24-48 hours to recover between intense sessions. If you are still sore, you may be overtraining–consider taking it easy for a few days. In addition to avoiding overtraining, you should be working on your mobility.
Mobility Is A Key Part of Recovery
Mobility is not just part of our active warm-up but also important to your recovery.
“Doing mobility exercises to cool down—instead of just stopping—keeps the blood circulating and prevents it from pooling, which may cause dizziness or fainting,” said Noam. The extra blood flow in your body keeps your muscles warm and in a prime position to be stretched or foam rolled, leaving you less sore the next day. “A few easy movements also give your heart rate a chance to come down slowly, avoiding a drastic drop in your blood pressure,” Noam said.
“If your body doesn’t have the proper mobility, you’re going to create dysfunction in your movement pattern,” Noam said. Exercises are called routines for a reason and if you are doing the same movements over and over such as running, cycling, lifting, etc, without a proper focus on mobility, you could cause an injury.
We recommend stretching and foam rolling on your recovery days to keep your body limber and prevent injury.
Here are a few of our favorite stretches:
Why: We really love the 90-90 Stretch and often include it as part of warm-ups or cool downs. This stretch opens your hips and releases tension from your lower back and also stretches your hamstrings.
All-Fours Rock Back
Why: The All-Fours Rock Back Stretch re-aligns your spine and allows your lower back to decompress. This stretch also engages your pelvic floor and core. It’s great for your hips, too!
Child’s Pose With Reach
Why: We often include Child’s Pose with Reach after our HIIT classes. This movement releases your lower back, stretches your hips, quads, and ankles. It is also a great way to include some diaphragmatic breathing as part of your cooldown.
Roll it Out
Foam rolling is also an excellent way to improve your recovery. Fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, can begin to stiffen and form painful knots after working out. By foam rolling, you breakup these adhesions, reducing soreness and also improving your range of motion. We recommend either using our foam rollers or buy one for home use if you find yourself with not enough time to roll out after a session. Amazon sells foam rollers for under $10 so it’s not a big financial investment!
Here are two of our favorite ways to roll out:
T-Spine Roll Out
Why: Use the roller to work on your back muscles. This movements increases T-spine mobility and stretches your chest and abdominal muscles.
Hip Flexor Foam Roll
Why: This movement is great for your hip flexors if they are tight!
Refueling Your Body
Don’t forget that nutrition is also an important aspect of your recovery. You need to you eat after you exercise to replace the calories that you burned and replenish your body’s glycogen stores. It is best to eat within 30 minutes of completing your workout. If you finished a GPT session which is based on metabolic resistance training (MRT), Noam suggests consuming at least 30 grams of lean protein. If you skip a meal after working out, your body will miss out on the necessary repair process, which may leave you fatigued in the short term, and delay you from meeting your fitness goals .
Depending on the time of your workout, Noam recommends the following combinations of protein and carbs to replenish your system:
Egg white omelette with vegetables
Lean meat or fish
Rice and beans, if you avoid animal products