This week I want to dive deeper into our recovery routine. First, we have the essentials: proper nutrition, sleep and stretching.
Proper nutrition depends on the individual. We want to make sure we are eating enough protein to allow our bodies to recover. I like to eat chicken and lean beef during my training. Make sure you include carbohydrates like pasta or brown rice. Finally, make sure you are eating enough vegetables. Nutrition varies from person to person but everyone should be eating a clean, balanced diet that provides you with the nutrients you need to succeed.
Sleep is so important in recovery. During sleep is when your body is best able to recover so make sure you are getting enough of it. I like to set a bedtime every night and make sure I am diligent about sticking to it. It is a good rule of thumb to assume you need 7-8 hours of sleep. Again all of our bodies respond differently so some people might need more or less.
Stretching helps keep the muscles flexible, strong and healthy. I like to stretch before and after practice with a big focus on my lower body. Stretching before practice helps my body get limber. I incorporate dynamic (moving) stretching into my warmup. After practice, I utilize static (stationary) stretching. Stretching afterwards ensures I will recover faster. I work with my athletic trainer to develop a stretching routine for my needs. If you don’t have access to an athletic trainer, it is a good idea to focus on your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
As a supplementary recovery method, I sometimes like to take ice baths. Ice bathing involves submerging your body, or parts of your body, in very cold water (50-59° F) for 10 minutes. Ice bathing aims to ease muscle soreness after a hard workout or competition. The cold water provides relief to tired muscles. It can also help limit the inflammatory response and allow quicker recovery.
In the end, you need to do what makes YOU feel best. I highly recommend that everyone should stick with the essentials (proper nutrition, sleep, and stretching). If you don’t respond well to freezing cold ice baths, that is okay! Try another supplementary method until you find one that makes your body feel its best. Sometimes I like to take warm epsom salt baths instead.
If you want me to cover any other of the supplementary recovery methods from MN Newsletter #11, let me know in the comments.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Your body is your temple. You do your body good, your body will do you good.“