How much thought do you give to the white space? That is the space between your workouts? Like great art, the space between paintings in the gallery is no accident. It gives you the chance to appreciate the art. Ditto with your time between exercise. I posted a quote from Joe Friel on Tuesday oh, so appropriate as he is an expert contributor to You Still Got It, Girl! and this is the time of year sleeveless shirts and shorts weather can get us overzealous (unnecessarily!) How many of these 9 tips are you already doing?
Wait 60 minutes for that high protein meal.
Your body’s ability to synthesize protein is blunted for about 60 minutes after intense exercise. So the ideal time to have that high protein smoothie is between 60 and 120 minutes when the muscles are ripe for repair and able to actually use the fuel you’re giving it. For older adults the amount optimal protein for rebuilding muscles that breakdown during exercise is closer to 40 grams, compared to younger adults who do well with 20-25 grams.
Keep fructose out of your system.
It increases fat storage. Yes, that means lighten up on the fruit in favor of veggies and blood sugar stabilizing contents like avocado, greens, and stick to berries if you must use fruit. The smoothie bowl you buy at the health food store can be loaded with fructose and so might your protein shake mix. Check the label on your protein shake. Is it time to upgrade?
Take an Epsom Salt Bath.
Reduce muscle soreness with an Epsom salt soak that will allow your body to absorb magnesium. In addition to reducing muscle soreness you improve your sleep, the ultimate recovery. Your best bath time is 90 minutes before bed. You raise your core temp causing it to fall about the time you want lights out. That’s a signal that prepares the body for sleep.
Foam roll regularly.
Using a foam roller or a similar tool (in a pinch a rolling pin will work) both before a workout and before stretching can help iron out the fascia that covers your muscles. Tending to fascia regularly can help you move more fluidly and enhance the value of stretching muscles after exercise.
Overcompensation happens between workouts as a result of an appropriate level of exercise and adequate rest period. It’s responsible for increasing your fitness level. Over-coach-compensation, however, is a need to reduce activity the rest of the day after a workout. Studies show energy expenditure and fitness are higher in those subjects who exercise in a Goldilocks spot so they have more energy and more desire to be active all day than those who have 30 minutes of activity followed by 23 of inactivity.
Find your personal strength and exercise program that supports an active life and your fitness level will improve. Exercise is about life outside the gym rather than inside it.
Increase your consumption of Omega 3 fats.
Foods rich in Omega 3s include avocado, salmon as well as fish oil supplements. Krill oil is available for those who prefer it. Omega 3 fats help reduce inflammation caused by exercise. Many foods like nuts and oils contain both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, which turns inflammation on. So beware of eating too many nuts, for instance, which are higher in Omega 6.
Put your feet up.
Easier said than done if you’re running off to be superwoman at work. If you can elevate your legs under the desk after a run, though, do it. Performance increases for athletes who can spend time adequately recovering even if it is the only difference in training program. That said reduce the intensity or quantity of your exercise during times of high stress. Your body can only handle so much stress. A good balance between your work day or emotional stressors and your physical activity stressors provides the best fitness opportunity.
Plan your rest and read your signs.
Caution, reduce speed, and children-at-play signs on the side of the road help you and others stay safe. Navigating your own fitness can be a bigger challenge. Pay attention to signs of overdoing it. If your appetite for sweets is increased or your sleep is disrupted, you may need a little less exercise or a little more recovery between your harder workouts or both. If you’re starting the next workout still sore from the last, you’re setting up more breakdown than increase of fitness.
Plan your exercise and stick to it.
So many clients have reported doing a couple more miles or lifting another set that wasn’t part of the plan, because “it felt good.” Often that report comes just before an injury or illness. That kind of “how I feel” workout without a plan or deviating from the plan usually leads to breakdown.
Plan your week and ideally, plan a month or three of exercise so you can easily see a pattern of hard, easy, and rest days in each week. Plot the months so you have weeks of building based on duration, intensity or frequency as well as an entire recovery week. When you do this, using what coaches and athletes refer to as periodization, you will be far less likely to become injured and enjoy a new level of fitness. You’ll be training instead of simply exercising.
Want a little help to DIY?
You can watch a 5-part video series about how exactly as a Strength & Conditioning Coach and Medical Exercise Specialist I program for clients around the world (and for myself!) on the Flipping50TV Facebook page. Here’s day 1.
Now it’s your turn.
Which ones are you already doing? What can you easily add? I love to hear from you. Leave your comments or questions below!