FINALLY! The gyms have reopened and you’ve been crushing your fitness goals the last few weeks. Suddenly, your body hits a wall. You decide to take a few days off to relieve your sore muscles and, before you know it, you’ve missed three whole weeks. What if I told you there are ways to heal your body before “hitting the wall” and quitting? Many people quit the first few weeks when starting their fitness journey. In my own experience, there were times my body felt DRAINED. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to my amazing coaches, I have learned how to properly rest and recover my body and I want to pass that along to you.
To know how to rest properly, I want to give a basic understanding on how muscles grow. First of all, the body can endure a lot of stress and muscles essentially grow by being broken down during strenuous workouts. The body repairs the broken-down muscles by fusing them back together. This is how your muscles build and tone. Not having the appropriate amount of rest in between workouts leaves us without any recovery and leads to very fatigued muscles. We want to avoid this, because fatigued muscles prevent us from achieving our goals and, will most likely, result in injury.
Active rest days help our bodies recover after a series of intense training. This allows muscles the time they need to heal and grow. However, these rest days do not mean sitting on your bum not doing anything. There are several low impact activities you can do to keep moving while giving your body a break. A few examples include, but are not limited to, walking, swimming, rowing and yoga.
I prefer doing yoga when my body is feeling depleted. Yoga helps stretch my fatigued muscles. Stretching also relieves built-up lactic acid while remaining gentle on tired, worn-out joints. Yoga also helps the blood flow through your tired muscles which is an added benefit for recovery and cardiovascular health. By remaining active with a low impact activity, you will be able to give your muscles time to rebuild torn muscle fibers. Yoga stretching also increases energy levels, which is great for a tired and/or burnt out body.
A second part of allowing your body to recover is by properly fueling it. I prefer a smoothie that’s rich in fruits and whole foods as my go-to-body-fuel on a daily basis.
I make my smoothies with fruits, yogurt, milk and even veggies. It is a sweet treat that does so much good for your body. Fruits like berries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants that aid in fighting inflammation. Berries are also high in glycogen which helps replenish what your muscles used during your long hours of exercise. Fruits such as avocados and bananas are high in potassium and are great in smoothies. They help the body recover by aiding in the regulation of fluid balance and muscle contractions. Rehydrating will rid the aches and pains after a hard week of working out.
I personally like to add yogurt to my smoothies for added protein because, you guessed it, it helps with muscle recovery. Yogurt naturally carries probiotics that are great for your overall gut health. It’s a win, win.
Here’s to resting adequately to prevent injury or quitting towards our fitness goals when we’re getting tired. Find what rest works best for you whether this is a full day off or an active rest day. When you need a pick-me-up, or even a sweet treat, fuel your body properly with natural and delicious whole foods that help you recover. When you love your body, it will love you back, and good things will follow.
1 frozen Banana
½ of a Dragon fruit
½ cup black berries
½ cup strawberries
¼ cup coconut water
½ cup milk of choice
½ cup Greek Yogurt
½ cup to 1 cup of ice (personal preference)
Add all ingredients to a blender. Top with whip cream, nuts, semi-sweet chocolate chips, or
shredded coconut to garnish.
By Micah Boswell