Cristina Chan, F45 Recovery Athlete, CES, CPT | November 2023
Recovery is unique to the individual’s experience, although there are a few top ways to allow your body to rest and regain strength.
Using tools like the fitness wearable WHOOP can be a key factor in helping you fine tune your mind-body connection as well as a reminder to the days that you really need that extra rest. Whether you are someone who is training for a marathon and has a training program planned or just getting into your fitness journey, recovery days will be necessary.
The fastest way to a good recovery is always going to be substantial sleep. But how we achieve good sleep is dependent on the choices we make during the day. Calming the nervous system through different mental and physical methods throughout your day and before your time to rest is key. The WHOOP Journal, the F45 Training App daily tracking or even a good old fashioned paper journal allows you to log these types of activities daily so you can track consistent patterns that highlight the rituals that factor into your quality of rest. For example, noting how much caffeine you are consuming and at what times, or measuring levels of stress to tangibly see where stress is coming from and better understand how to manage it. Another great way to gain better sleep is consistency in the time you go to bed and wake up. Creating a routine around your sleep schedule can help your body connect to your circadian rhythm and trigger sleepiness or rest when it’s needed.
Active recovery days are also vital when it comes to putting the body under physical stress. Track workout studies have shown that active rest, i.e., slow jogging or walking during the rest interval between repeats, helps clear lactate faster than passive rest (where you simply stop). This allows athletes to continue exercising at greater intensity and for longer periods than if they stopped. The same concept applies to your days off from regular training. Active recovery helps promote muscle recovery, prevents soreness and injury. The goal is to increase blood flow to the muscles without exerting energy that creates more fatigue. Increased blood flow helps reduce inflammation and release lactic acid. Popular methods of active recovery include dynamic mobility exercises, hydrotherapy, massage therapy and general light physical activity like walking or swimming. These activities are also less intense and in many ways can have a positive impact on your mental health. Choosing an active recovery method that brings you joy or peace is an underrated way to recover the mind and the body at the same time.
For example, if you feel crushed from a training day and have sore legs, doing dynamic stretches through the areas that feel stiff and going for a 30 min walk listening to your favorite song or podcast can help increase your recovery faster. Ultimately listening to your body and finding the routine that works best for you is the one that is most effective.
What recovery activity will you try this week? Show us and tag @f45_training on Instagram.
If you haven’t yet picked up a WHOOP band, there’s still time! Visit f45training.com/f45-challenge/whoop/ to learn more and order your band to finish out the 45 Day Challenge strong.