At Beyond Movement PT, we work with a lot of people who like to push their bodies to their limits, whether that be through CrossFit, marathon running, or other activities. We also work with athletes and active people after surgery.
The tips I am going to discuss in this blog can be generalized to recovery from training, recovery from injury, or post-operative recovery.
Three of the most important factors in your recovery are going to be sleep, nutrition, and stress management.
A good night of sleep is the number one thing for recovery and performance enhancement. There is a mental/psychological effect of sleep that helps you feel prepared for the next day. It allows you to down-regulate and actually let your body repair and heal itself.
Most studies suggest somewhere between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Depending on your activity levels and stress levels, this time may need to change slightly. It sounds simple, right? Most people are getting around 4-6 hours of sleep per night, whether that is from a very busy lifestyle, taking care of children, or just poor time management.
There are significant correlations between pain and poor sleep hygiene. Consistency is key when it comes to a sleep routine. Try to eliminate phone/TV usage and lights when in the bedroom. Try to keep the bedroom at a cooler temperature. Go to sleep at the same time each night.
I’m not going to dive too deep into nutrition, but we do need to be mindful of our nutritional habits if we want to improve our recovery. If we are trying to push our bodies to their limits, grow muscle size/strength, and recover adequately, then we need the appropriate building blocks in place.
The majority of individuals in the United States are eating too many processed sugars, and not enough lean protein or leafy green vegetables.
If it is too much to ask to eliminate processed sugars, then maybe try to limit your intake. Instead of a sugary snack each day, limit these treats to just 1-2 days per week.
One way to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet is to blend some spinach up in a fruit/veggie smoothie. You won’t even taste the spinach! If you like eggs/omelets, then try to add some spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms to your eggs. It’s easier to add vegetables to your diet than limiting other foods. It will also help you feel more full and reduce your desire to snack on unhealthy foods.
The recommended daily amount of protein to consume is 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Most Americans are significantly undereating protein. It may be worth counting the amount of protein (in grams) that you consume on average per day over a 3-day or 7-day period. If that average falls below the 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, then you should add in more sources of lean protein. Tracking it over a few days will help you determine which meals are lacking in protein. Proteins contain amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle strength and recovery.
We get it, life can be stressful. There are a lot of stressors out there: work, family life, driving in a city, politics, etc. There are a ton of resources out there to help with stress management. Some tried and true methods are meditation, reading a book in a quiet room, and really anything else that lets you step out of your daily routine and focus on yourself.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
Corey Hall, PT, DPT