Best Post Training Recovery Methods

If you train multiple times a week then your post-training recovery should be a priority. Being able to optimise your session to session recovery will not only allow you to train better during each session but also get better results from those sessions. If you find that you feel a million dollars for your first session of the week but then feel 10 pence for your last session then our PT team are here to give you their best recovery methods.

Before we get into the methods themselves, let’s first understand some of the underpinnings of how your body responds to different training methods. When you put your body under physical stress (strength training or cardio) there is an inflammatory response in your muscles. Various hormones and other chemicals get released into your muscles and bloodstream which causes inflammation, soreness, tightness and reduced force output from the muscle. Strength training will cause a spike in hormones promoting protein synthesis and muscle gain whereas cardio training causes a spike in hormones promoting reducing muscle mass and increasing metabolic cell production. Whilst you need your body to experience some of these hormones and effects from training because that causes the adaptions you are looking for. However, implementing a few of our best recovery methods will ensure you don’t experience too much of these factors and will be able to train at your best whilst adapting at an optimal level.

Nutrition

Nutrition must be the first priority in your arsenal of methods for recovery. If you aren’t eating right then you can’t recover correctly let alone adapt to your training. Personalising your nutritional strategy is an easy thing to do. Firstly, protein intake must be a priority whether you focus on cardio or strength training. Maintaining adequate muscle mass and force output helps in any form of exercise. Your protein intake should be 20% of your total daily intake for cardio focus and up to 25% for strength focus. Carbohydrate will be your next priority, carbohydrate is the macronutrient that gives you the energy you NEED and REQUIRE to train. Do not think carbohydrates are the enemy they are as essential as everything else. If you mainly train for cardio then you can up your carbohydrate intake to 60% of daily intake, if you mainly train for strength then 50% will be adequate. Fat intake comes next, fats help build cells and play a big part in many chemical processes in the body. It should make up the rest of your energy intake i.e 20% for cardio focus and 25% for strength focus. Post training protein shake? Absolutely, go for it! What would be better is a homemade protein shake with greens, you can get some recipe inspirations here: https://sandownsports.co.uk/2020/02/12/protein-shakes-recipes-myths-and-what-to-avoid/

Sleep

Focussing on maximising your sleep is the most underutilised recovery method you can implement post training. There are 3 key steps you can take to instantly improve your sleep quality. Firstly you must turn your phone and any electronic devices off at least an hour before going to bed. This will allow your brain to relax and unwind so you’re not lying there with your head spinning thinking about 1000 different things. You also avoid the dreaded blue light before bed. Set yourself a consistent bedtime routine of a bedtime, wake up time, pre-bed routine and post wake up routine. Your bodies circadian rhythms LOVE routine and your bodies processes depend on routine. If you mess up these routines then your general wellbeing will suffer from it. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night should be what you get every single night. Even if that means going to bed at 9:30. At weekends, try to maintain a sleep pattern as best as you can. This blog isn’t here to tell you not to enjoy yourself, obviously there will be a big night and weekend shenanigans every now and then but if you ruin your sleep schedule on a regular basis over a weekend then you are setting yourself up to fail from the start. Utilising these three tips will instantly improve your sleep quality, quantity and ability to recover session to session.

Muscle Massage

Muscle massage can be a bit misunderstood. Whether you are using a foam roller, massage gun or a therapist, it all achieves the same thing. Firstly, muscle massage is a short term recovery method for your problems. Muscle massage isn’t going to change your muscle architecture, it’s not going to change the elasticity of your ligaments or break up any scar tissue. What it does is reduce the sensation of pain or stiffness you are experiencing. This reduction in the perception of pain allows you to stretch and mobilise your body better and therefore move better in the session. Reducing your perception of pain allows your body to move normally and naturally and when you can do that you can recover from session to session and train better from session to session.

Use of Hot and Cold Therapy

For any joint niggles and aches you may get from session to session hot and cold therapy is a great recovery method to get you back up and running for your next one. You can think of using hot and cold therapy like cycling your body through inflammation and recovery. Utilising hot and cold therapy can help reduce joint pain and joint swelling and get you moving normally again. To utilise this approach, ice a joint or muscle for 2 minutes and then heat the joint or muscle with a hot towel for 2 minutes, cycle 5-8 times once to twice a day.

If you have any questions about post training recovery methods please come up to one of our PT’s and they can answer any question you have.