Hack Your Exercise Recovery
Exercise Recovery. You’ve heard about it. You know you should probably be doing it. But what does "recovery” even really mean?
We're all about the recovery here at Future Fit. We like to train hard and recover even harder.
When you exercise, you’re putting your body under stress. After it’s experienced this significant stressor, whether it be from weight lifting, biking, boxing, swimming, etc. it needs time to repair and replenish. This “recovery” time actually allows your body to function at higher level because it was allowed the time and resources to build itself back up properly. This is why we strongly advocate that “more is not better” when it comes to exercise. You can actually achieve most of the benefits of exercise in shorter, concentrated efforts (like with our Adaptive Resistance Training) and then have time to focus the rest of your health and fitness efforts on recovery. Below you’ll find a few simple steps you can take to boost recovery (things you can do right now!) and a couple biohacks we offer than can take your recovery to an even higher level.
Simple Steps to Optimize Exercise Recovery
1. Eat well
Eat nutrient dense, REAL food (local and/or organic is best!) Make sure to include plenty of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates from vegetables or whole, gluten-free grains and as many fresh herbs as you can manage. Herbs like, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, oregano and thyme are loaded with phytonutrients and pack a powerful antioxidant punch to help repair and replenish your cells.
If eating “real food” (by real food we mean no processed foods!) is new for you, trying researching "Paleo", "Ancestral" or "Bulletproof" diets as these are great starting places! People often ask about pre and post workout fuel. A simple rule of thumb, is to have some combination of protein and fat PRE-WORKOUT and some combination of protein and carbohydrate POST-WORKOUT.
2. Go to bed!
According to the Paleo Mom
‘When we routinely get enough quality sleep, we’re much more likely to make healthy food choices, we naturally eat more vegetables, we experience far fewer cravings, our appetites are better regulated, our metabolisms are higher, our insulin is better regulated, our immune system works better, we reduce inflammation, our stress responses are more proportional to the stressors in our lives, our memory and cognition are better, our decision-making skills are improved, our muscle recovery is faster and we perform better at the gym.” - Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD , Article “10 Tips to Improving Sleep Quality”
If those aren’t enough good reasons to go to bed I don’t know what is! The important thing to remember when it comes to sleep is that it’s not just about the quantity of sleep you get, it’s the quality. You can begin to improve the quality of your sleep by making sure your bedroom is cool and dark. Cover up and smalls lights from alarm clocks, air filters or AC units and invest in some good black out curtains or shades if street lights from outside are finding their way into your bedroom. The second best thing you can do (in our opinion) is too monitor your light exposure in the evening. At least 2-3 hours before bed, you should ideally only be exposed to dim, red or yellow wavelength lights and electronics like your phone, tablet, computer and TV should be turned OFF. That will be a tough one for people. If 2-3 hours seems to difficult to ditch the electronics, start with at least an hour before bed.
3. Keep Moving
Low intensity movement can speed up recovery and decrease muscle soreness.
From Robb Wolf “Low intensity exercise can speed up recovery and decrease the effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). High intensity bouts of exercise increases blood lactate concentrations. Performing low intensity cardio turns on our type I muscle fibers that actually utilize lactate as fuel. This allows the lactate to be removed from our blood more quickly.”
In the days following your workout, go for a longer walk, gentle hikes, a yoga class, swimming or any other low intensity activity you prefer to help your muscles recover optimally.
Next Level Recovery Biohacks
Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
Being in Vermont where it’s dark and cold a majority of the year we LOVE everything about the infrared sauna. Not only does it give us all the warm, happy feelings but it’s one of the most powerful detox and recovery biohacks available.
“Perhaps even more nifty is that repeated exposure to whole-body, intermittent hyperthermia through sauna use boosts growth hormone immediately afterward, and two one-hour sauna sessions for 7 days has been shown to increase growth hormone by 16-fold. Yeah, that’s right: you don’t need to go buy fancy supplements or creams to increase growth hormone. You can just make your body hot instead and get a growth hormone increase
It is also important to note that when hyperthermia and exercise are combined, they induce a synergistic increase in growth hormone, which is why I do yoga, push-ups and squats in my infrared sauna. For an additional recovery benefit, sauna also increases blood flow to the skeletal muscles, which helps to keep them fueled with glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and oxygen, while removing by-products of metabolic processes such as lactic acid and calcium ions.”
So cool!! We love it so much that we’re currently installing our own Clearlight Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna at the studio here at Future Fit! Our “Y Sanctuary” is large enough to do yoga, gentle stretching or exercises, as Ben Greenfield talks about above, but will also have a full bench to just relaxing and absorb all the benefits of infrared light therapy! You can read more about our sauna here which should be available in October 2018!
Exercise with Oxygen Therapy (EWOT)
Supplemental oxygen to help with muscle recovery? Yup! Many people have heard of hyperbaric oxygen therapy before as a method for supporting health conditions, detoxifying the body, reducing inflammation and improving cellular health. But not many people have heard of or understand “exercise with oxygen therapy.” Very simply put, it’s similar to hyperbaric treatment but for people who are able to exercise, it’s a much more efficient and effective method to achieve the same results (and a lot cheaper).
From Ben Greenfield…
“In people with lung disease, supplemental oxygen clearly has many beneficial effects that have been proven in clinical studies. Even in the absence of disease, supplemental oxygen, such as is found in a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber or some of the other oxygen delivery tools you’ll learn about later in this article, can also help regular non-diseased people (and athletes) with wound healing, tissue repair, recovery, fighting inflammation, mental acuity, increased exercise capacity, and much more.”
At Future Fit, we use the LiveO2 Adaptive Contrast system to switch between an oxygen rich and oxygen reduced air environment. This encourages maximum blood flow and oxygenation and therefore maximum results. Our clients love pairing their ARX workouts with the Oxygen Trainer either together on the same day or a couple days following their workout to help with muscle soreness.
Ready to give the Oxygen Trainer a try? Book now and save $10 on your first session!