The truth is, most of us already know that we need to eat well after a training session, or that we need to make sure we are getting sufficient sleep in order to recover properly.
And yet, we don’t always do it.
It is easy to get distracted by other priorities, to get lazy in our recovery routines, or just be inconsistent depending on our mood.
This is a reminder to prioritize your recovery routine just as much as you do your training sessions.
Here are some tips I have found that will make a consistent recovery routine more likely to happen:
What does this mean?
After training, you are exhausted. If you do not have a go-to product or already made drink, the chances that you are going to stop at a store or make a smoothie as soon as you make it home are pretty unlikely. And if you are a student that likes to chat after class, the 30 minute window to recover has probably already closed.
My advice would be to purchase a recovery drink in bulk for the week, and bring one to every class so that it is ready to drink on the way home. If you prefer a powder recovery, then bring the powder to class and make the drink before you leave so that you can drink it on the way home.
The key here is to come up with a routine that will help you be more consistent in how you refuel your body after training.
Again, we all know we need more sleep. Sometimes that’s just not possible with families, work, and other responsibilities. I’m not here to tell you that you need to start getting 10 hours of sleep a night. For most people, that’s just not going to happen and frankly, not helpful, you already know you need more sleep.
What I will say is that training jiu jitsu is taxing on the nervous system. Your muscles are being activated, your cardio is being pushed, and your brain is under the impression that this is a fight or flight situation.
This can result in the release of the hormones norepinephrine, adrenaline and cortisol. These are helpful in the moment because they work to increase your heart rate and enhance focus.
However, if you do not properly relax your nervous system before you leave and especially before you sleep, you will carry these hormones into your nightly routine. This will disrupt the quality of your sleep.
The next time you end a training session, take a minimum of 2 minutes to close your eyes and take deep breaths. This will help ‘reset’ the body temperature, calm the central nervous system and bring your breathing rhythm back to normal. You can also think of this as a time to soak in all that you learned on the mats. You can do this in the gym just sitting against the wall, or while you are stretching. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this in the gym, you can do it in your car before you leave for home. At the very least, do it right before you go to sleep at night. This will help to prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep.
If you are looking for more of a guided meditation or breathing exercise, there are many online and hundreds of free ones to choose from on an app called Insight Timer.
If your recovery drink does not have Magnesium or Zinc, I highly suggest taking these supplements before you go to sleep. Magnesium supports the body’s metabolism, muscle recovery, and improves sleep by naturally helping to calm and regulate the nervous system. Zinc supports the muscles in recovery and protein synthesis. It also improves your body’s immune system response.
These supplements will be what help you to make it to the end of the week without feeling run down, congested, or sick. They will help you to show up better the next day for training.
EVL’s Sleep and Recovery Complex is a great place to start if looking to add these supplements to your nightly routine.
You can find more information about this supplement for men here.
These are just some of the tips that I would suggest to students who are struggling to commit to a consistent recovery routine. By making recovery as convenient as possible, we are more likely to remember and commit to doing it, even on the days we are exhausted, burnt out, or unmotivated. Consistency is key, so come up with a routine that best compliments your lifestyle and personality, and stick to it. Notice how your body feels when you implement a consistent and healthy recovery routine.
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