What is one thing that differentiates a good athlete from a great one? The way they recover. Recovery is one of the most important habits a high-performing athlete can instill to reduce their fatigue and enhance performance.
Here at Recovery for Athletes, our number one goal is to provide the best tools, resources and techniques for athletes to use in order to obtain peak performance. To support our overall goal, we have decided to outline our
8 best recovery techniques for athletes to turn into habits:
1. The RICE Method - Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
Have you heard of the R.I.C.E method? It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It is the go-to, doctor suggested recovery technique to help treat injuries and promote healing. The benefits of the R.I.C.E. method include the following:
- Rest: Immobilization prevents further injury and gives the body time to recover.
- Ice: Cold reduces pain by numbing the affected area.
- Compression: Pressure keeps swelling under control.
- Elevation: Keeping the injured body part above the heart reduces swelling and the associated pain and discomfort.
Certain recovery products have been created to aid the R.I.C.E method and get you feeling better and back on the field. Professional athlete tested, here are the 3 best devices to use for the R.I.C.E method:
- Choose from multiple wraps and attachments to heal specific injuries.
2. Active recovery
One of the best ways to heal quickly is through active recovery. It is the body’s way of recovering post-workout by continuing your workout movements for a few additional minutes, at a much lower intensity. For example, you just ran a mile. Instead of completely stopping running after your mile is complete and heading to the locker room or your car, you choose to jog a few minutes longer, at a much slower pace. Active recovery has the following benefits:
- It allows your body to slowly release the built-up lactic acid and minimize post-exercise stiffness.
- It promotes blood flow to your joints and muscles, reducing inflammation.
- By continuing to keep your heart rate at a steadier rate, it helps your body improve endurance.
Proper stretching is the key to maintain a happy and healthy body. We're not going to tell you to stretch for 30 minutes after every workout, but you have to make an effort to stretch for at least 10-15 minutes. Your body with thank you later. Stretching is an important recovery technique to implement both pre and post-workout. Through stretching, your body naturally lengthens it's muscles, improving circulation and blood flow and eliminating soreness and lessening chance of injury. Plus, who doesn't like to show off their flexibility to their friends?
4. Self-Myofascial Release & Foam Rolling
Let’s face it, you've tried it, discovered it hurts, then stopped implementing this recovery technique. The real reason why self-myofascial release and foam rolling hurts is because your body needs it. Surrounding all of your muscles is a band of connective tissue called “fascia”. Loosening your fascia allows your muscles to glide smoothly and correctly. When your fascia is tight and tough then your muscles have difficulty moving in the correct form and this results in injuries. By using foam rollers and percussion massagers, you can beat up that tough sticky fascia and get your body moving in the correct way. For foam rollers we suggest the Brazyn there are two different levels of firmness so you can find the perfect fit for your body. It is also 100% portable and can fold up into a thin layer, making it perfect to bring to the gym (talk about a win)!
If you're looking for an easy alternative to foam rolling, we suggest using either a Theragun or RecoveryVolt percussion massager. There are numerous benefits of using percussion massagers, but we love them most because they are easy to use and perfectly portable.
Promoting a healthy diet allows you to give your body the proper nutrition to keep on going. I like to keep it simple. Every meal needs to have:
- 1 source of carbs (Rice, Oatmeal, Potatoes, Pasta)
- 1 Protein (Eggs, Meat, Tofu),
- 1 source of Vegetables/Fruit.
If you are looking to bulk up, then add some dairy to your diet, if you are looking to cut down, then reduce dairy intake. Meal prepping can be a quick, cost-efficient way to make sure you're refueling properly with less time wasted.
6. Meditation / Yoga
Minimizing stress through meditation and yoga is a phenomenal way to improve brain health and well-being. Get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life and calm your mind for just 5-10 minutes a day. Some of our favorite techniques are mindful walks and yoga. A mindful walk is an easy way to help bring back your focus and retain energy. Its very easy too! All you need to do is walk and be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the smells, the wind on your face, the noises in the background. Just stay present and you will feel a lot better.
7. Implementing Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Maintaining healthy lifestyle habits will not only make you a better athlete but they will make you a better person. We like to live life thinking, “be the best that YOU can be”. This applies to all aspects of life - work hard to be the best husband/wife, brother/sister, the best cook you can be, the hardest worker YOU can be. Stop comparing yourself to others and consistently hold yourself to the highest standards possible.
The worst feeling as an athlete is the feeling of being burnt out. Preventing burnout can be achieved fairly easily - it's called taking days off. Yes, we are athletes, but we are also humans that sometimes just need a break. Everybody reacts differently to physical and mental stresses. You need to listen to your body in what it needs. If you need to take a couple days off from training because you are physically or mentally fried, then do it. You'll be thankful.
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