Recovery: The Best Performance Enhancing Substance
By Carlos Leon-Carlyle
How do you spend your week? If you’re like most people, you go to work, you sit in the car or on the bus, you get stressed out, and maybe, just maybe, you do a little bit of training or physical activity. What if I told you that you are most likely throwing away the results you think you are working so hard to achieve in the active parts of your lifestyle? Stop wasting your time and effort. We all recover more than we train, most of us just do it poorly. Focus on recovery and your results and performance will increase exponentially.
So we’ve decided that we’re all really busy, there’s no debating that. So how do we fix this problem? Focus on your recovery. Focus on things which you are already doing and do them better. Focus on eating, sleeping, and moving better every day. Do these things better and you will have a leg up on your recovery tomorrow.
How do you start to eat better? First, stay away from processed foods as they just increase inflammation in the body which is generally not good for you. Eat a variety of different vegetables and lean complete proteins and adjust starches according to the demands of your training and your goal. Also, remember that a serving of protein is 20 grams. That means a deck of cards sized portion or 4 large eggs! That’s right, the breakfast you just had with 2 eggs contained just over half a serving of protein. You need to eat properly in order to recover properly and supply your body with the nutrients it needs to build, repair, and maintain.
How do you start to sleep better? First, get electronics out of the bedroom. The bedroom is for sleeping, mostly, and that’s about it. Don’t work on your laptop, go on your phone, or watch TV. Do you have a TV in your bedroom? Either move your bedroom to another room or move the TV, you’ll figure out which is easier. The Canadian Olympic team had an electronics curfew each night, you should too. What will you do without your iPad Sudoku before bed? Read a book, the paper kind, meditate or practice some mindfulness, perform some deep breathing, in short, relax and let your brain wind down. Can’t keep thoughts or worries about tomorrow out of your head? Write down the first 2 steps you will take with each item on a piece of paper and place it on the nightstand. Get it out of your head. Let it go.
How do you start to move better? First, stretch and mobilize on a regular basis. Take every opportunity to move, whether it’s after training, when you wake-up, when you take a break at work, or while binge watching your newest Netflix addiction. Go have a professional stretch you such as a fascial stretch specialist or a personal trainer. If you find yourself sitting at work a lot, get up often to stop you from tightening up too much. Do whatever it takes; your recovery depends on it. Spend more time on the floor. As you age, you lose the ability to maneuver down to, around on, and up from the floor. Make some of your movement novel. Move like you wouldn’t normally. This will help lubricate your joints in ranges of motion you haven’t hit since you were a kid. Most importantly, remember that walking does not mobilize you but instead tightens you up. Most people come back from vacation tighter than when they left for a reason. If you walk a lot, mobilize and stretch more.
At the end of the day, your recovery is mostly up to you. Awareness will be your first step. Figure out what you’re doing which hurts your recovery and then do the opposite. Remember to eat, sleep and move better at every opportunity and get help if you’re not sure what to do next. You only have one body so you better take care of it less you find yourself saying, “I guess this is just the way it’s going to be.” It doesn’t have to be that way. Start recovering better right now so you can feel better tomorrow.