Our rest and recovery is just as important, if not more important, than what we do in the gym. If we don’t take the adequate rest our body needs we face the risks of getting injured and missing time in the gym. Unfortunately this is a phase I know all too well, so now that I have taken up a new sport and am training to become the best Muay Thai fighter I possibly can be, I have started taking notes and making sure I am getting adequate rest, as this training is no walk in the park. Here are my five top tips that everyone can apply to their training routine;
- Sleep: This is number one by far. We all know that it is recommended that we get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, and although this is a recommendation I understand that each and every one of us responds differently to sleep, so I think it is important that we figure out what works best for us. When training, our body breaks down, and sleep is so important because this is when our body rebuilds and recovers which makes us stronger. A few tips for getting a really good nights sleep is to wind down before bed; don’t stay up and watch TV, instead curl up with a good book, or sit down and do some colouring before getting some shut eye. Also turn off all devices so there are no lights that could interfere with your sleep.
- Relaxation: This point can tie in with sleep, however I thought I would make it a separate point so we could explore different ways to relax. Most of us take at least one rest day from our training, but what do we actually do on this day? Do we rest, or are we rushing around trying to complete all those errands we didn’t get done days earlier? Now this is not so much of a big deal for someone training for fitness as it is for an elite athlete but the concept still remains similar. Rest days are designed for you to let your body heal and recover. As well as letting the body recover it is also a chance to let our mind recover and have a rest too. There are many different ways to relax, and you need to find the ones that work best for you, I personally have a ton of things I do. I also like to ensure I am taking a little bit of time out each and every day for relaxation, but one day a week I solely dedicate myself to this. Here are some ways I relax; Reading, meditation, adult colouring books, listening to music, Epsom salt bath, watching a movie or TV series, cooking, and spending time with friends doing not a hell of a lot.
- Massage: This is one of the luxury ways to relax, you can never beat a good massage. Massage is important, especially if you are training a lot, as it can help to work out any knots or soreness you may have. The key is to finding someone who knows a bit about the type of training you are doing and who can help you recover better.
- Foam Rolling: Here is a form of self-massage you can do if you don’t want to be spending money on massages every week, it is also a great thing to incorporate into your training warm up, but more on that another time. Foam rolling is great for massaging your larger muscles, I generally use a tennis ball to get into the smaller, deeper muscles. You can pick these up from most sports stores, physiotherapy clinics, and online.
- Nutrition: You are what you eat, so it stands to reason that if you are fueling your body with good nutritious foods, your recovery will be better. Nutrition really isn’t some complex topic although the media and internet make it seem this way. Focus on eating more wholesome foods; think fruit, vegetables, water, proteins and good healthy fats.