If you’ve been training for a while, then you might already know that what you do outside of the gym has critical bearing on your workout results and your improvement as a whole.
You can train as hard as you want in the gym, but if you don’t take your time away from the weights seriously, you’re cutting yourself short and you will never reach your optimum levels of health and fitness. There are a few key principles to incorporate into your routine that should be every bit as essential to your regimen as working out itself. Let’s start with some basics and get into some more advanced techniques. For some, the basics are old news, but the problem is that some of these principles are ignored by athletes who should know better. Even if you’re doing a
You can train as hard as you want in the gym, but if you don’t take your time away from the weights seriously, you’re cutting yourself short and you will never reach your optimum levels of health and fitness. There are a few key principles to incorporate into your routine that should be every bit as essential to your regimen as working out itself. Let’s start with some basics and get into some more advanced techniques. For some, the basics are old news, but the problem is that some of these principles are ignored by athletes who should know better. Even if you’re doing a beginners workout you can still use these tactics.
How to Recover from Workout
All over the Gym Junkies blog you will hear us pushing this. The reason is that so many athletes who are serious about training, and work very hard in the gym, don’t get enough sleep. Unfortunately, that’s the first thing to go when it comes to our busy lives taking up more time than we leave for ourselves. Your body recovers while you sleep, simple as that. If you want your muscles to grow, 8 hours is the bare minimum you should be sleeping EVERY night. It’s not enough to get a few extra hours just the night after a workout, recovery is ongoing and if you are training regularly, your body is essentially always recovering while you work different muscle groups. Try sleeping for 9 hours a night for 2 weeks and see how you feel. You will be amazed by not only the improvements in reducing soreness and speeding up recovery, but the mental sharpness and ability to calmly approach your day with confidence and a relaxed demeanor is part of the deal.
It almost shouldn’t need to be said that stretching should be a major part of your routine, but how many people REALLY stretch enough? The myofascial system is not to be ignored. Like sleep, far too many people get focused on the lifts or the circuit they’re planning and entirely underplay the importance of elongating your muscles and building strength in flexibility. If you’re a guy and you think you’re too manly for yoga, get over it. Hot yoga is an increasingly popular flow format that keeps things moving and keeps the class engaged and active. We’ve all seen those guys at the gym who are huge but look like they’d topple over at any second. Don’t be one of them. Again, if you think you’re too tough for yoga, it’s time to change the way you think. Not only has yoga been practiced for more than 5,000 years, it is no secret that it extends your life, literally.
The word itself means “to join or yoke together,” referring to the unification of your body and mind. For some of you, the meditation portion of yoga may be very beneficial, for others who would rather focus on the physical aspect, Vinyasa or flow yoga provide an athletic experience that will leave your body feeling like butter. Try hot yoga on one of your off days and you might be shocked by how much better your body feels in the coming days.
Positive side effects of yoga are almost innumerable and it will do wonders for easing muscle tension and soreness from. From digestion and organ health to mental acuity and longer life, there is literally no excuse for not adopting yoga into your life. Hit a class or a quick youtube search will provide thousands of videos to try yoga at home.
Fish Oil Dosage
If you’re not already taking fish oil, then it’s time to rethink your approach to nutrition. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are a potent front against inflammation throughout your body but have other benefits as well. These essential fats are those that your body cannot produce on its own and must be eaten for optimal health. When these essential omega 3 fatty acids are available to your body, your cells will function optimally, as the fish oil will make up their lipid layer, improving insulin sensitivity. Fish oil also decreases cortisol levels, creating an anabolic effect in the body. One recent study showed that 4 grams of fish oil per day increased protein synthesis producing significant muscular gains.
Working out tears up your muscles, causing inflammation. This is natural, but your body’s response time can be greatly improved by adding this completely natural supplement to your diet. This anti-inflammatory effect is also known to improve body composition.
It turns out fish oil is known to come with some very positive side effects too, including improved brain function, reduction in mood swings and cardiovascular support. There have also been indications that fish oil help with some of the symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD. If you add these up, you are really missing out on maximizing your gains from each workout by if you’re not optimizing your cell function and fighting inflammation. Fish oil; eat it. One more tip: don’t skimp and buy cheap fish oil unless you enjoy fish flavored burps—go for the top shelf and also take your fish oil before eating as the food will sit on top of the capsules and prevent fish breathe.
Sore Muscles From Working Out Try The Foam Roller
Foam rollers of all different levels of firmness have been showing up more and more in gyms these days and are a favorite among many athletes. These can be used before workouts to knead out latent soreness and lactic acid from your muscles, and are especially useful in this respect after your workout. Many people also find them much more relaxing than traditional stretching, but we recommend combining the two. Though many gyms are beginning to have these around, it’s best to buy your own to use at home before bed in addition to post-workout.
Begin by rolling out your back, put the roller on the ground and lay on your back so that the roller is against the top of your neck. Cross your arms for spinal stability and slowly push from your feet and roll up and down your back—take it slow and lean your body weight into the roller. You should try this all over your body, calves arms—just position your body so that your weight is pressing against the roller and working that lactic acid out of your muscles. If you’re ready to take this to the next level, try rolling out the outside of your quads by laying on your side against the roller—this one will alleviate some types of knee pain and loosen up part of your legs that can be difficult to access through other means of stretching.
One mistake many people make is going for the soft rollers because they’re a bit more comfortable to use. Don’t do it. The hard foam rollers are preferable, but PVC rollers with a foam coating are the best if you really want to work your muscles. Be warned, you’ll have to earn it with hard rollers. However, the good news is that the more often you use them, the easier it gets.
Adding some or all of these techniques to your routine can vastly cut down on your recovery time and off days. As always, drink plenty of water and get 8 hours or more of sleep. Get the most out of your workouts and take your recovery time seriously—if you don’t, you’re just wasting your time.
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