You have probably heard that sleep is important for your health, but do you really know why? It may surprise you to know that lack of sleep can have long term effects on both your physical and mental health.
Australian adults get an average of 7 hours and 18 minutes of sleep per night, bordering on the low end of the recommended 7-9 hours by the National Sleep Foundation.
Sleep Time = Recovery Time
While you sleep, your body is using this time to recover and heal itself. Exercise can be a stressful process for the body, taxing your muscles, heart, and blood vessels. Without enough sleep, the body does not have enough time to repair these structures, which can lead to chronic health issues. Small amounts of muscle damage can continue to build, and something that may have started as a minor niggle can turn into a serious injury.
Ongoing sleep deprivation can also be linked to increased risks of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Lack of sleep can also negatively impact your immune system, meaning chronic insomnia may cause you to have trouble fighting common infections.
Less Sleep = Increased Hunger
Your hunger is regulated by two hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Leptin makes you feel full, while ghrelin makes you feel hungry. Sleep allows the body to balance these two hormones.
A lack of sleep can increase the levels of ghrelin in your body and decrease leptin, making you feel more hungry than if you were well rested. A study performed on 10 healthy men found that even a single night of sleep deprivation can increase feelings of hunger and ghrelin levels in blood plasma.
If you find yourself getting hungry throughout the day, even after you’ve already had a meal, maybe you need to look at the amount of sleep you are getting.
Sleep is Good for Your Brain!
Quality sleep allows your mind to reset for the next day. Being sleep deficient can negatively impact your decision making, problem-solving abilities, and emotional wellbeing. You may find it difficult to pay attention, and it can increase your risk of depression.
Sleep Improves Performance
A study performed on eight young men found that sleep deprivation significantly reduced performance on both sub-maximal and maximal lifts for both the upper body and lower body. The reduction in performance became more pronounced with successive days of sleep loss. What this means is that without adequate sleep, physical performance can be reduced. If you are consistently sleep deprived, you are more likely to have reduced performance.
If you’re consistently running on empty and not getting enough sleep, chances are you not only won’t be performing at your peak, but you could also be doing damage to your body. To be both physically and mentally ready for exercise, it is important to get a solid, restful night’s sleep.
To ensure you get the best out of your next workout, aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of good quality sleep to allow your body to recover from the stresses of the previous day.
I’ve often joked with members in the gym, how easy it for them to squat because of their Asian squat mobility. It can’t be denied that athletes of Asian descent more often have a comfortable, well-balanced squat and often require less coaching to achieve an optimal squat position.
What is the ‘Asian squat’?
You may not have heard of the term ‘Asian squat’ before. It is essentially a squat where the individual is able to sit in an extremely deep squat position while keeping their heels firmly planted on the ground. Often the individual feels this position is quite comfortable, and some people can stay there for prolonged periods of time while performing activities such as eating, taking photos, playing with children or yes, even going to the bathroom.
Why is the ‘Asian squat’ so predominant in Asians?
As you may or may not know, squat toilets are fairly predominant in Asian countries. They are often deemed to be more sanitary (although this may be debatable depending on the condition one finds these toilets in) as there is no bare skin and seat contact. In addition, lots of people see the squat as a great way to sit and prefer it to using chairs as it can be performed anywhere. In comparison, Westernised countries have adopted the upright seat-style toilet that we are more familiar with in Australia, and use chairs far more frequently. In this case, the saying is true, practice has made perfect with the Asian squat.
However, it is not exclusive to people of Asian descent. I have seen people who do not have Asian heritage and are able to sit into identically deep and comfortable Asian squats. I have seen people with Asian heritage who have never used a squat toilet and can still sit into a perfect squat. I’ve seen people of Asian descent who cannot squat deeply. Also, I’ve seen toddlers able to sit into squats more easily than most adults, regardless of race. So, if the Asian squat isn’t exclusive to race, what makes it so easy for some and so difficult for others?
What allows for a deep squat?
One of the most important factors for a deep squat is ankle flexibility, and unsurprisingly this isn’t exclusive to people of Asian descent. Having flexible calves allows you to sit into a deep squat while pushing your knees forward. If you’d like to get technical, Bryan Ausinheiler measured the ankle flexion angle of his one day old daughter, which was 70 degrees. The majority of people in the West have approximately 30 degrees. If you do not regularly mobilise this area of your body, as some people do when they are using the bathroom daily etc., this area will tighten up and make it difficult for you to a deep squat. This problem is even more pronounced in individuals who wear high-heels on a regular basis, as regularly having your heel higher than the ball of your foot can cause the calf to tighten up. As for Asians who have never used a squat toilet and have been born and raised in Westernised countries, they may have adopted the position by copying their parents and other relatives throughout their life.
Essentially, we are all born with the flexibility for an Asian squat, but it’s a case of use it or lose it!
Are there any benefits to a deep squat?
Being able to perform a deep squat is a great display of flexibility. Being flexible, to a point, is beneficial to your overall health and movement. There is a small tradeoff between strength and flexibility, however. Having too much flexibility can create instability in your joints, increasing your risk of injury. Also, there is an optimal amount of stretch in muscles which facilitates the greatest amount of strength and power output. Sitting in too deep a squat can be a great way to limit your 1RM or maximal squatting strength.
Additionally, squatting while defecating has been theorised as a much healthier way to go to the bathroom, due to a more optimal positioning of the muscles within the pelvis although this is still somewhat debated. Most Western toilets do not allow for squatting, but you can purchase products online which imitate a squatting position without the use of an actual squat toilet. Whether these are a bit of a gimmick or not is somewhat unclear, but whatever helps!
Hip osteoarthritis (a condition regularly associated with advanced age) is very rare in Eastern countries such as India and Asia, although knee arthritis rates are similar to Western countries. While there may be genetic or other factors (diet etc.) that play into this, the regular performance of deep squats may also play a part. Additionally, maintaining strength and a larger range of motion can allow individuals to stay more independent for longer at an advanced age.
11 Ways to Curb Your Bad Eating Habits
1. Hide Your Vices
This step seems fairly simple and obvious, but having tempting foods sitting in front of you on a regular basis does not make it easy to avoid them. Try to avoid buying these foods altogether, but if you must have them in the house-place them somewhere you will not see them very often. Out of sight, out of mind!
2. Make Small, Manageable Changes
It can be a little overwhelming to completely revamp your diet all at once. This method works for some people who are ‘all or nothing’, but if you’ve tried this method and failed you may want to rethink your methods. Try making small changes, such as drinking more water one week, cutting out soft drinks the next, and including a vegetable in each meal the week afterwards. These smaller changes are easier to adapt to, meaning you can use this method to gradually cut out each bad habit and replace them with new ones.
3. Write a Shopping List
Look through your cupboard and fridge before you leave home, and work off a meal plan if possible, so that you can buy the exact foods you’ll need for the upcoming week. You will not waste money on buying excess food that you do not need, and you’ll have all the ingredients on hand for your meals. This means no last minute dinner plans (which are usually unhealthy choices) because you don’t have ingredients. An added bonus is that you won’t find yourself strolling down the tempting food aisles as you try to remember what you needed because these usually spell disaster for sticking with healthy eating!
4. Don’t Shop Hungry
This is a simple and effective tip. When you shop hungry, you’re more likely to buy items you are craving such as simple snacks and junk foods. Eating before you shop will make it easier to stick to your shopping list and make healthier choices.
5. Practice Mindful Eating
Eating while distracted can cause you to mindlessly overeat as you do not allow yourself enough time to feel full. This same principle applies when you eat food on the run such as in the car. Instead, try eating at the table without distractions such as TV. This can lead to some great bonding time with family and friends, and also allows you to eat more slowly and mindfully.
6. Change Your Plate Size
It’s amazing how we can trick our mind with plate sizes! Placing your food on a smaller plate or bowl can make the same portion size appear a lot bigger, leaving you more satisfied with your meal.
7. Avoid Sugary Drinks
Calories from sugary drinks such as soft drinks and juices can add up even though we are not aware of it. Instead of consuming these excess calories in the form of a drink, try to limit yourself to primarily water. By doing so, you can eat those calories rather than drinking them which will make you feel more satisfied and help you stick to your weight loss goals.
8. Drink More Water
It is important to keep hydrated throughout your day, otherwise, your body can struggle to function. However, drinking water also has another benefit. The water will fill your stomach without the same calorie burden as a snack and can help hold you over until your next meal.
9. Don’t Eat Out of the Bag, Look at Portion Sizes
Have you ever actually measured out the portion size on the packet? You would probably be surprised how small the serving size may actually be. You may think that you are being very virtuous by choosing a snack with a small amount of fat and carbohydrates, but instead of having 1 serving you eat 4. All those servings add up! Instead of eating straight from the box or container, try measuring out a serving size and placing it in a separate bowl. This will help you understand how much a serving size actually is, and stop you from mindlessly eating more servings than you intended.
10. Meal Plans and Prepped Food
Meal prepping is a great way to stick to your diet. When you come home at the end of the day, you might be too tired to bother cooking a healthy meal. Instead of ordering a pizza, why not pull out your already prepped healthy meal and microwave it? Try cooking multiple servings of a dish, and place them in storage containers either in the fridge or freezer. Some foods keep better than others, so keep this in mind when you are prepping.
Another tip is to try and have things already cut up. Really want a snack but can’t be bothered to cut up carrot sticks? Try and cut up several carrots at a time, and then store away what you don’t need for your snack. This can help you make better choices.
11. What’s Your Trigger?
Lastly, look at WHY you are eating what you’re eating. Is it because you had a bad day and you feel like rubbish, so you feel like you deserve that chocolate? Using food as a coping mechanism does not benefit you in the long run, and can cause more problems than it solves. Start to be mindful of what triggers your bad eating habits, and try to use alternative coping methods. For example, sometimes when I have a rough day I would really like a chocolate, but I know that I will feel worse after eating it. Instead, I try to get out in the fresh air for a walk or head to the gym and exercise. Both of these activities help to release endorphins, which makes me feel much better afterwards.
Finally, it’s good to remember that if you slip up on your diet and make a bad choice, it isn’t the end of the world. The day isn’t a write-off, and you haven’t failed. If you do end up cheating on your diet, accept it and move on. Don’t throw out your eating for the rest of the day. Each meal is an opportunity for you to make good choices. Nobody is perfect and eats clean 100% of the time, we’re all human!
What you are feeling is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). The general consensus is that DOMS occurs as a result of microscopic damage to the muscle fibres as a result of strenuous exercise. The discomfort is the side effect of the repairing process, which means you are getting stronger!
DOMS can typically last anywhere from 24-72 hours, however, it can last longer in some cases. We are all in this together! The humble beginner all the way through to the seasoned veteran will experience DOMS at varying levels, as a result of their training.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel your body adjusts to the discomfort and severity of DOMS. Chances are it won’t be as intense or painful as this first week. It is likely that you will still experience DOMS again in your fitness journey, and who knows you may even grow to like it!
The million dollar questions is “how do we recover from DOMS”? The severity of DOMS varies from individual to individual here are some methods to reduce its severity.
We suggest that you complete active recovery sessions such as walking, bike riding, rowing, yoga, stretching or something similar at a low intensity to also reduce the effects of DOMS. This helps to flush out the lactic acid build up in the muscles which is the source of the DOMS. You will find that once your muscles have warmed up the discomfort will dissipate.
If you did experience DOMS be sure to let your trainer know exactly how sore you were as this will enable them to cater and plan your future sessions accordingly.
Thought of the day
“Pain is temporary quitting lasts forever. We can’t become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”
– Unknown –
Hookgrip is a method used to grip onto a barbell, which is generally utilised by Olympic weightlifters in order to improve their grip strength. This grip requires you to wrap your thumb around the bar, and then wrap your index and middle fingers over your thumb in order to secure the grip. This is opposed to a normal grip, where the index and middle fingers wrap beside, not on top of, the thumb.
Advantages to Hookgrip
Should I Try It?
Learning to hookgrip is definitely worth it in the long run, particularly if you are somewhat serious about your weightlifting. While it can be difficult to learn and uncomfortable at first, it offers greats benefits for your future workouts and max lifts.
In today’s workaholic society we are getting less and less sleep. Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, yet most people get closer to 6-7 hours or less. Quality, restful sleep is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise, but sometimes it’s much harder to achieve. You might be getting yourself to bed earlier, but when your head hits the pillow your mind is still buzzing from the day. Read our tips below to help you drift off.
1. Guided Meditation (Yoga) and Relaxation Exercises
A guided meditation session is a great way to learn to unwind and relax after a long and stressful day. Apps like HeadSpace offer guided meditation programs, which are great for beginners who do not know where to start. Some Fitbit watches provide a guided breathing relaxation setting, which can help you to slow your heart rate and relax. Does your gym run a yoga class? Try it. Even the tougher variations of Yoga re meditative and always remember, just because you can do a yoga pose or are not flexible, doesn't mean you shouldn't attend and improve and learn!
If you do not have access to guided breathing or meditation sessions, try inhaling for a count of 5, holding your breath for a count of 5, and exhaling for a count of 5. While doing this, aim to breathe deeply and focus on trying to breathe in your belly rather than shallow breaths in your chest.
Another method you can use is to contract and relax your muscles while you lie in bed. Starting from your toes, contract single groups of muscles and hold the contraction for about 5 seconds. Repeat this 3 or 4 times on each muscle group, slowly working your way up to your shoulders and neck. As you relax your muscles, you should feel heavier in each muscle group, and as a result, you feel more tired.
2. Avoiding Stimulants After Midday
This tip is fairly obvious, but something we often tend to forget about. If you find that you are unable to sleep at night and you don’t really know why you may be consuming too much caffeine late in the day. Your body can continue to feel the effects of caffeine for 4-6 hours after you consume it. Caffeine can be hidden in things like your pre-workout supplements, which means if you take it before your workout at 6pm you will still have caffeine in your system until late into the night.
Try and limit your caffeine consumption to before midday and see whether this helps you sleep better.
3. Avoid Bright Lights and Electronics
Your circadian rhythm is a biological clock which tells your body when to be awake and when to sleep. Bright lights, especially the blue light emitted from electronics, can impact your melatonin levels which will disturb your natural circadian rhythm. The lights will trick your body into thinking it needs to be awake late at night and suppress the release of melatonin, causing you to struggle to sleep even after you’ve turned out the lights.
Aim to stay off electronic devices such as your phone, iPad, computer, or TV for at least an hour before bed time, and if possible dim your lights. Some devices have a blue light filter which can be beneficial if you need to use your devices late at night.
Setting a strong night time routine can help you relax and settle in at night. Your routine should start at a similar time each night, and may involve a warm shower or bath, reading a book with dimmed lights, and then sleeping after half an hour. Find whatever routine works for you, and try to stick to it each night in order to have an easier time falling asleep. Your circadian rhythm (yes, that biological clock!) will begin to adapt to this schedule, meaning you will eventually find yourself getting tired at a regular time each night.
5. Distraction and White Noise
Sometimes you just simply can’t follow the tips above. Maybe you had to stay back at work, or met with a friend for coffee in the afternoon. Or maybe your mind is just buzzing from the day and you can’t switch off and relax.
I personally find rain noises (particularly storm noises) relax me and help drown out any thoughts that are keeping me awake. White noise or classical music may also work to relax you and allow you to stop stressing. There are many apps you can download, and some even come with timers which will turn off the sounds after a certain time period.
Sometimes it can be stressful when you’re trying to sleep but you can’t, and you know you have to wake up in 7 hours, now 6 hours and 59 minutes, 6 hours and 58 minutes… Distraction methods such as recalling some of your favourite memories or holidays, your favourite movie, or even counting sheep (as corny as it sounds, it can work), may help to take your mind off the fact that you need to be sleeping and help you drift off.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still can’t sleep, it might be time to see a health professional. A doctor will be able to work out whether there is a medical condition underlying your insomnia and go through treatment options or referrals which will work for you.
Completing workouts each week is hard enough without having a huge rip or blister that screams every time you touch a bar. It affects your performance, your results and does not allow for an accurate representation of your fitness to be shown. We will start with some simple hand care protocols and finish up with a detailed, tried and tested method for taping your hands to avoid rips, tears and blisters!
Important hand care basics:
Below is a step by step method we recommend using this open to protect those hands! With some luck and proper hand care, hygiene lets make this open a rip-free one!
STEP 1: You will need a pair of scissors and a roll of athletic tape. The best option for tape is a rigid sports tape. Preferably not rock tape of kinetic tape as they are too thin (and cost way to much to use for this application)
STEP 2: Cut six (6) even long strips of the tape that stretch from the tip of your middle finger to your wrist.
STEP 3: Stick four(4) of the strips together so that the adhesive sides are touching. Once completed NO part of the four strips should have an adhesive or sticky side showing. Try to line the strips up as evenly as possible and press them together firmly so no bubbles are present.
STEP 4: Stick the remaining two(2) strips either side of the existing two non-adhesive lengths made in step 3. These strips are used to stick the two pieces together on either side. After this step you should be left with one thick hand grip
STEP 4: Stick the remaining two(2) strips either side of the existing two non-adhesive lengths made in step 3. These strips are used to stick the two pieces together on either side. After this step you should be left with one thick hand grip.
STEP 5: Using the scissors cut two holes at one end of the fabricated strip. These holes should be spaced so that no bunching will occur between the index and middle finger when placed on the hand. Ensure enough space is left at the end of the tape so the finger holes do not rip all the way through when working out. The holes should fit your index and middle fingers loosely.
STEP 6: Slide your index and middle fingers through the slots and pull the handgrip down towards your wrist. At this stage, you can either use your wrist wrap (as pictured) to fasten the hand grip to your wrist or you can simply use another length of the athletic tape to anchor the grip around your wrist.
The grips can be reused. To do so, ensure they are pressed out flat to dry after a workout. The grips may be chalked as you would normally chalk your hands, remember, less is more!
Ensure the grips aren’t secured too tightly so full range of motion can be achieved at the wrist.
It can be difficult to find the motivation to train during winter. Not only is it often dark and cold, but you’ll often be wearing thick, concealing clothing. No one will see if you put on a few kilos right?
Stopping your training during winter means you have to fight so much harder to get back to your desired body shape and fitness in preparation for summer. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy routine than to try and break bad habits. Additionally, training helps to keep you both physically and mentally healthy, which is a year-long priority!
So how can you keep yourself motivated and maintain your training throughout winter? Read on to find out!
Find a Motivating Friend Group
We’re heavily influenced by the people we associate with in everyday life. That’s why it’s important to find the right group of people to train with. A friend group will help motivate you on days when you’re struggling to find the motivation to train and you can hold each other accountable to a regular training schedule. It also means you can look forward to having some fun and a good laugh when you get to train together! If you prefer a more personalised approach, a personal trainer can help you keep motivated and working towards your goals during the colder months.
Finding the right motivation for you to keep you accountable to your training during winter will help you stay consistent in working towards your goals.
Prep Your Gear the Night Before
Try organising your clothes and gym bag the night before your workout. If you train in the morning you could try sleeping in your gym clothes, meaning you don’t need to motivate yourself to change in the cold. If you train at night, having your gear prepared and with you at work or university means you can head straight to the gym after you’re done. If you have to go searching around for your gym gear or have to head home before you go to the gym, you’re less likely to get out the door and get a training session in.
By having all your gear prepared and ready to go, you have one less excuse holding you back from your training.
Brighten Up Your Morning
Waking up on a dark early morning can be demotivating, and it becomes very easy to decide you’re too tired to train. There are alarm clocks which are designed to mimic a sunrise by gradually increasing their brightness as it gets closer to your pre-set wake up time. This way you don’t need to shock your body by flicking on your bright lights, and you are able to wake up gradually as if the sun is rising. Some smart lightbulbs can be programmed to perform a similar feature. These can usually be installed in your existing light fixtures and lamps, and controlled via your smartphone.
By waking up in a brighter environment, you can make it less of a struggle to get yourself out of bed and into the gym.
Reshape Your Warm Up
Wearing multiple, thin layers to the gym is also a handy tip. By doing this, you can arrive at the gym in comfort, but gradually remove the layers as you warm up. This way you can arrive at the gym nice and warm, but not have to sweat it out in thicker winter clothing during your actual workout.
It doesn’t need to be stated that it gets cold in winter. Because of this, you may find that you feel stiffer than usual. Your muscles become stiffer, and blood flow is reduced in the extremities to help preserve your core body temperature. Try warming up for a bit longer, and increasing your mobility time in winter. This will help increase your blood flow to your muscles and increase the elasticity in your muscles. Not only will this prepare you physically and mentally for the workout, but also helps prevent any unnecessary injuries you may get from an incomplete warm up.
Just Do It!
Training during winter can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Equip yourself with the right tools and mindset to ensure you get the most out of your training during the colder months. Keep consistent with your training and continue to work towards your goals!
One of the biggest challenges people deal with when following a training program is staying motivated in its entirety.
Maybe you’ve experienced this before…
The first couple of weeks you’re excited about a new program, but then you hit a rut.
It’s not as “fun” as it was at first.
Going to the gym several days a week grows monotonous.
The novelty wears off and you miss a day, then you miss two days, and then you’re off the rails.
Worst-case scenario, you drop out of the program entirely and you’re back at square one, wondering what you need to do to stay motivated, to keep that fire in your belly, so you can stay consistent and reach your goals the next time you start a training program.
While we can deliver you the absolute best training, nutrition plans and support we can’t fill you with the motivation required to be dedicated to the journey every single day.
There are times when, for whatever reason, the road ahead seems treacherous.
So, let’s tackle the issue of motivation head-on, with real-world tools and strategies you can use to maintain your focus and stay on track.
Here are my top six tips for staying motivated, no matter what has you down:
Join a Group
The Internet offers a convenient way for like-minded people to come together for discussion and support in pursuit of a common goal. Social media communities are great ways to talk with other people around the world about training and nutrition. And not just talk, but celebrate accomplishments, share in the struggles, and support one another through it all.
No matter what program you’re following, you’ll achieve far better results when you frequently discuss your fitness goals and progress (or even lack thereof!) with others, in person or online.
Motivation Tip: Don’t just join a community, stay active on it. The most active users get the best results.
Being part of an online community, following a challenge, and engaging frequently (daily, weekly) with others doing the challenge, is about as active as you can get. Those who are deeply engaged will see better before-and-after results. Coincidence? I think not!
The more you know, the better your results. Understanding how you’re getting the results you’re seeing makes for great gym motivation.
Motivation Tip: Never stop learning. Thanks to the digital age, it’s now easier than ever to find information on training and nutrition.
If you know it, share it. That’s what I call paying it forward.
Few things are as gratifying as knowing that some tip or piece of advice—whether it pertains to stance, grip, food choices, or something as simple as encouragement—helped someone advance toward their goal. That sense of pride and satisfaction from helping a fellow friend can be a big motivator to get you to the gym and crush it.
Motivation Tip: There’s a fine line between being helpful and being annoying. Don’t be that person who feels the need to correct every other gym member’s form. Share the knowledge you’ve gained with people you think will be receptive. Start with friends, family, and online acquaintances. Don’t approach strangers, in person or online, until you’ve gained some respect and recognition in a particular setting that warrants you offering your two cents.
No matter how fit, lean, fast and muscular any of us are, we’re always trying to improve upon it. Some call that OCD. We call it dedication.
Knowing the sacrifice that others made to get into great shape helps us realise we can make the same necessary sacrifices to reach our own lofty goals.
Motivation Tip: Don’t let the admiration of others people’s physiques backfire and make you feel worse about yourself. We all travel different paths, and we all have different genetics and body types.
Also, take age into consideration.
Let other people’s physiques provide inspiration, not discouragement. “Success leaves clues,” as they say. If you admire someone who’s extremely fit, find out what he or she did to get so fit, and then incorporate that into your own program and lifestyle.
Having good music that you look forward to can help you stay motivated and get to the gym. Once at the gym, that music can help you have a better workout.
Research confirms this! A study presented at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, using recreational exercisers as subjects, highlighted that those who were able to listen to their preferred playlist completed better.
Motivation Tip: Workout to loud high tempo music - sometimes tell the coach what you like to listen to.
Often in life, the things that disappoint us, upset us, and depress us are silly things that add up and make us want to give in and give up. The stresses of life can derail the fitness plan that was supposed to help derail the stress to begin with.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Sometimes we just need to get over ourselves. There are plenty of people struggling with much bigger problems, so try to put yours into perspective.
Motivation Tip: Check yourself frequently. Are your worries and anxieties getting the best of you? Are you losing perspective and not being grateful for what you have?
Surround yourself with others who will also help to keep you in check and hold you accountable. Real friends will tell you what you need to hear when you need to hear it. Have an open mind and hear them out.
We all know that feeling, where you wake up the day after a big workout and your muscles feel so sore. But did you know there are some methods you can use to help prevent that ‘exercise hangover’?
🏋🏻♀️ Compression Garments (e.g. skins)
You can wear these in the evening and even to bed, just make sure they’re not too tight! Research has shown that compression garments may improve joint awareness, local blood flow, waste product removal, improve running economy, reduce swelling, reduce muscle oscillation, and decrease post-exercise muscle performance whilst appear to have no negative impact on performance.
🛁 Contrast Therapy (e.g. hot and cold baths)
This can be done immediately post workout by turning the shower from hot to cold every minute or so. The change in temperature creates a contraction and relaxation of your muscles which results in a pump-like action in your blood vessels. Because of this pumping action, metabolic waste products produced during exercise and can cause DOMS can be flushed out of your muscles and back into the bloodstream to be broken down.
Now this can either be the same as point 2 or can be just cold or just hot. This doesn’t mean sub zero temperatures. Cold therapy should be between the range of 12-15 degrees for 6 minutes and hot between 35-40 degrees. The cold water constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps waste removal much like contrast therapy. The hot therapy increase blood flow to the muscles with micro-tears which occur when we train, this allows for nutrients and recovery cells to act.
Holding stretches post workout for 1-2 minutes can reduce DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) for the days to come. Rather than just leaving right after class, stay back and stretch for 5 mins. This will save you much muscular pain in the days to come and allow you to continue to turn up and perform.
🏊🏻♂️ Active recovery
Jump on the Air-dyne, rower, swimming, go for a slow jog or walk to reduce your high heart rate slowly rather than a rapid decline. This allows your body to flush out waste and lactic acid which create muscle soreness.
Now the cheapest massage is foam rolling but if you happen to have spare time and $ a sport massage allows the muscle fibres and tissue to flush waste out and also increases blood flow for muscles to recover.
A diet which has a wide variety of foods with optimal macro and micronutrients allows for a more productive body. Everyone is different and each persons body reacts differently so “optimal protocol” should be individualised through trial and error.
😴 My favourite is sleep
The better your sleep quality the better you will recover. Poor sleep doesn’t allow the body to do its job. Power naps from 20mins-1hr during the day between 12pm-3pm are also beneficial for mind and body to recover from strenuous activity. If you work in an office ask the boss for a power nap break! If they give out smoko’s every hour for 5 mins then a short 20 min break should not be frowned upon.
If you have any methods I haven’t covered which you have tried and tested please share with the group in the comments below. I am happy for healthy discussion but will give you feedback if I believe it isn’t a great method for the long term.
PS. Things to avoid to improve recovery is Alcohol and a bad diet
Anurag Gill is the Head Coach at HYDRA Movement in Moonee Ponds.