Lunch time is a perfect chance to take a step back from the work bench and let your thoughts carry you wherever they may. To give your brain a bit of a prompt during a sluggish work day, “Food for Thought” is here to offer the mind an adequate serving of information. Bon appetite!
Today's Special: Post-Workout Recovery
Ironically titled "post-workout," recovery time begins when training is complete for the day, and is when the real work begins for the human body.
Throughout a workout, the body begins to experience catabolism, which is a process where small tears occur in the muscles that have been in use during training. The body gets to work repairing those tears as soon as physical activity has stopped exceeding the threshold where catabolism occurs.
The post-workout recovery process is not always a fun time; muscle soreness and joint stiffness can make the morning after a nightmare. Many is the time after a heavy leg day when dropping car keys on the ground brings to mind the thought of just taking the bus to prevent having to squat down to pick the keys up.
To prevent prolonged muscle aches and to help the body recover so it can get back to training sooner rather than later, here are a few tips to get you back in action.
As tempting as it is to knock back a sports drink during or after a training session and call it day, pure water is essential in promoting a healthy recovery. Drinking enough water keeps joints from locking up and flushes out toxins in the body that can prolong painful recover periods. Water also restores body hydration lost from sweat during training.
If you've ever wondered why road work tends to occur late at night into early morning, the reason is not unlike the one used by the body while you sleep. Imagine this: the roads late at night are far less traveled than during the day, which allows workers to get more done without interruption. In an almost parallel scenario, the body gets the majority of its recovery work done as you sleep since the body requires only essential energy.
If you work a full time job and are still finding time to cram in solid training, and any other responsibilities, congratulations are certainly in order. Just be sure that you are not sacrificing critical sleeping hours to do so. Too little sleep will prolong recovery time and leave you feeling sluggish for days on end.
Eat to Grow:
Right off the bat, anything exceptionally high in carbs, sodium, sugar, or bad fats can be crossed off. That means a number 2, extra large with cheese is a no go, even after setting a new personal bicep curl record.
Lean proteins should comprise the heart of the meal. These include lean, low fat chicken, beef, and pork. Turkey and fish are also good sources of protein, the latter of which contains Omega 3 fatty acids that your body will thank you for.
Beneficial carbohydrates can be found in whole grain rice, couscous, and sweet potatoes. It may be best to avoid eating too much of these foods closer to bed time to prevent them from sitting too long, but during the day, the body needs carbs to fuel itself.
Fruits and veggies round out the nutritional trinity. Green vegetables like spinach and kale pack magnesium and iron into every bite. For veggies, bananas carry potassium that muscles rely on for energy.
If having a fruit or veggie at every meal or in between meals is not always easy, Moringa oleifera capsules can act as a great substitute. One of the most powerful superfoods in the world, Moringa contains all eight essential amino acids, as well as high amount of magnesium, iron, Vitamins A & C, and calcium. Taking two capsules twice a day is a good choice during recovery periods if carrying around a piece of fruit is not possible.
Although resting up is a key part of the recovery process, keeping the body active can actually aid in the process. Assuming you are not completely cooked from training, getting up and doing simple activities such as taking the dog for a walk can get the blood flowing, which in turn can reduce muscle soreness. Stretching is also a great way to get blood flowing and prevent joints and muscles from locking up and becoming painful.
While staying active during the recovery process, just be sure not to overwork your body with more heavy lifting or hard training. Leave that for your next training day!