19 Jun 5 Things To Do On Your Rest Day
I’m finally wrapping up my travels in the Pacific Northwest. And no, I didn’t spontaneously pop over to China to see the Buddhist temples. This photo was actually taken at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver. You’ve been Punk’d.
Sure, I would love to channel my inner Zen, sit still for 20 hours, and plop myself under a tree, but I have a flight back to Baltimore to catch. Woop. Dee. Doo. I already feel my heart rate increasing and blood pressure spiking from the hurried life of the East coast.
Today’s guest post comes from my friend and strength coach/massage therapist/personal trainer/fascial stretch therapist/WIZARD, Johnny Tea. Whether you’re an athlete or non-athlete, rest days are more than just posting up on a couch and eating Oreos. Enjoy.
There are so many reasons why I enjoy working with hardcore fitness enthusiasts and athletes–their work ethic, determination, commitment, and drive to excel are second to none. Although it’s always a pleasure to work with people who fit this description, one of the biggest challenges that often faces them is learning how to balance training and recovery.
Time and time again, I see people going balls-to-the-wall and swinging for the fences, day in and day out, in hopes of gaining an edge over their competition. While I admire their intentions of dominating in their respective sport and dropping body fat, daily high volume workouts are not sustainable long term. A recovery day gives your body time to rest and will allow you to perform better while avoiding burnout, frustration, and reducing the risk of injury. Recovery promotes longevity.
The good news is you don’t have to just hide from the world the entire day watching reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (although watching the Carlton dance does sound like an eventful Saturday).
Here are 5 things you can do to enhance your recovery:
- Focus on your nutrition and getting your nutrient needs
Eating the right combination of unprocessed carbs, fats, and protein will help rebuild muscle tissue and refuel your body’s glycogen stores.
A general recommendation would be to get at least 1 gram of protein per bodyweight. So if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal should be to get in 200 grams of protein daily.
Note from Erica: Protein is critical for a recovery day in order to promote muscle building as you sit still for a bit. However, don’t fear the big bad carb. Rather, see it as fuel for going hard again the next day.
- Increasing your water intake
It’s been well documented that the benefits of drinking plenty of water include better health, energy, recovery, and performance. An easy way to check your hydration status is by checking your urine: if it’s dark yellow then that means you’re dehydrated.
Your goal should be to drink enough water until your urine is crystal clear and let water be your main choice of beverage.
Note from Erica: You will go to the bathroom. A lot. But see it as a competition with yourself to see how clear your pee can get. It works. ;-0
Our muscles grow while we’re sleeping, so it should come as no surprise that getting adequate sleep is on the list. Hormonal balance, mental health, and muscle recovery are just a few benefits of getting plenty of rest, so try shooting for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Note from Erica: Lack of sleep will also increase cravings for sugar and processed foods. If you struggle to get in at least 7 hours, set aside just 10 minutes a day for meditation and deep breathing. Studies show this is equivalent to a full night’s sleep.
- Self-Myofascial Release and Joint Mobility Work
The usage of a lacrosse ball, PVC pipe, foam roller, roller stick or whatever tool you may have at your disposal can help improve your tissue quality and recovery. Performing joint mobility work (shoulder, thoracic spine, hips, and ankles) can help counteract the beating you take from the gym or the field. This has been a tremendously helpful addition to my daily routine and you should incorporate it into yours too. Trust me when I say this: YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU!
- Low Intensity Workout
Going for a brisk walk or using the stationary bike may speed up your recovery and make you feel better. Just be sure you’re NOT killing yourself with this workout. The goal should be to get a light sweat in and leave the gym feeling great.
Note from Erica: This workout can also involve glute pumps, light accessory work, or mobility flows:
So there you have it. Sometimes to go hard, you must recover harder. Good luck and let me know how you do.
Until next time,
Johnny Tea MS, NMT, FST, CSCS, PES
Strength Coach/ Manual Therapist
Website — www.jtmusculartherapy.com
Facebook — Johnny Tea
Instagram — @johnny_tea_