By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
It can be quite common that the words “rest and recovery” can actually be looked at as a negative to an athlete. Athletes like to train, no doubt, I get that; I am one of those athletes. I absolutely love to train; it is that time during the day that I truly look forward to, as I am sure you do as well. With that being said, this zest that athletes have for training can often times make the rest and recovery an afterthought. As I have said to the thousands of athletes I have coached over the years, “I know an athlete has ‘arrived’ when he/she embraces rest and recovery as much as they embrace their hard workouts.” Let’s take a look at some steps we can take in order to maximize our recovery. What you will read below is not necessarily going to be revolutionary or breakthrough information; rather, I am sure these are things you know. But, I am a firm believer that reinforcement is some of the best education. You will read some of the points below and say, “oh yeah, I need to do more of that.”
Get More sleep
I get it; we are all very busy. We need 30 hours in a day it seems like to get everything done. But, if you are looking to improve performance, improve your body composition and get the biggest return possible on your investment of time in your workouts, sleep has to be your top priority. If you are not getting enough sleep, take baby steps in order to improve your sleep quantity and quality. Try something as simple as going to bed 30 min. earlier tonight than you did last night. You will be amazed at how getting more sleep will make you feel so much more energetic, alive and more productive all throughout your day.
Stop, Drop and Roll
Focused athletes are very good at getting their workouts completed. But, what can be missing many times from an athlete’s daily routine are a good warm-up and a good warm down. Let me ask you this question, “When do you start to focus on stretching and rolling out your muscles?” The most common answer to this question is, “when I get injured.” So, let’s start to implement stretching and rolling out those muscles before and after each workout. I realize you want to get your entire workout in as prescribed. But, if you are running short on time, these few minutes will be the most valuable minutes you spend. So, if necessary, stop your workout a few minutes early, drop everything you are doing and get on that ground and start stretching and rolling out that body. Let’s prevent those injuries from occurring as opposed to trying to recover from injuries once they have already occurred.
Fuel That Body
Be sure that you are going into each workout properly fueled and properly hydrated. This will allow you to get the most out of each workout. Also, be sure that you are fueling your body properly following each workout (carbohydrates and Branch Chain Amino Acids) in order to reload those muscle glycogen stores and facilitate muscle recovery. Maintaining a properly fueled body will maximize recovery, thereby, maximizing performance.
Listening to your body will get you virtually all of the answers you need in terms of recovery. If you feel extremely fatigued, run down, continual muscle soreness, etc., your body is telling you something. Most likely, it is telling you that you need some rest. We never want to try to put a square through a circle. And again, I realize the importance of your workouts in terms of achieving your goals. But, it is much better to take 2 or 3 days off now as opposed to having to take 2 or 3 weeks off later on down the road because you do not listen to your body.
Okay athletes, take some time to focus on these tips above so that you can maximize recovery and optimize performance. And then, ask yourself this one question, “Have I ‘arrived’?”
2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert Dr. Rick Kattouf has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite™ Trainers of the Year. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc., CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf Nutrition LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of best selling book The Secret To Winning Big, author of the best selling book Ready, Aim, Influence!, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury Fitness™ workout app, Sports Nutrition Specialist, ITCA Triathlon Coach, MMA Conditioning Coach, Food Psychology Coach, Wellness and Nutrition Consultant, Sports Nutrition Consultant, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Rick can reached at www.teamkattouf.com or www.5roundfury.com or www.kattoufstore.com or [email protected]