You trained hard. You have that ‘day after’ feeling. You know the one, where your body aches, you have trouble walking, and you’re cursing your trainer.  This is the feeling that lets you know that what you’re doing is working.  It’s also your body telling you it’s been broken down and needs time to recover.  You trained tough, now let’s see if you can recover like a pro.

Recovery doesn’t mean chilling on the couch watching TV (although that does feel good sometimes). Recovery means turning your downtime into post-workout therapy for body, muscles, and mind. Here’s how:

Chill out.  

There is no secret behind ice baths, they just plain work. But who has time to fill a tub with ice and sit in it (and who wants to do that anyway)?  Try standing under a cold shower for one minute, then turning up the heat for three minutes. Repeat four times. The hot then cold temperatures will flush out the lactic acid that’s to blame for the next-day soreness.

Get your zzzs.

In addition to a good night’s rest, get in a mini nap if you can.  15-20 minutes of sleep during the day can help your heart, blood pressure, stress levels, and weight management. While we sleep our bodies repair. Quick repair means getting back to your workout faster.

Feed your recuperation.  

Eating holistically is the only way your body gets the nutrients it needs to recover. Keep carbs, proteins, and fats all balanced. But a quick recovery trick that will stop the onset of post-exercise soreness: cherries, with their anthocyanins to increase oxygen to those sore muscles, and banana’s, with their high levels of potassium, can stop those muscle cramps.

Mind over matter.

Getting your mind in shape can be equally as hard as getting your body in shape.  To keep your mind feeling fresh you need to take a moment to pause and reflect on which needs are and aren’t being met. Make this a part of your regular routine – I like the morning pages described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way.  Jot down 3 pages of your subconscious thoughts each morning and you’ll be able to focus on your next session, instead of your to-do list.

Do it again.

If you can’t figure out how you’re going to get out of your seat because your muscles are just that sore, the truth is you need to train again (and by train, we mean a more moderate workout such as yoga for those deep stretches).  Studies at the University of Glasgow showed that active recovery (lower intensity training) promoted blood flow and promoted a speedy recover.


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