6 Rules of Re­cov­ery

Im­prove your re­sults and re­duce your aches and pains with these gym-tested, re­search-backed tips

Mens Health (Australia) - - Advertising Feature - BY AN­DREW HEF­FER­NAN

Get­ting stronger is a two-step process: 1. Lift; 2. Re­cover. We of­ten fo­cus on the first step and pay lip ser­vice to the sec­ond. Bad idea. “Ev­ery time you work out, you’re dig­ging your­self a hole,” says John Rusin, a phys­io­ther­a­pist who spe­cialises in ath­letic per­for­mance and re­cov­ery. Re­cov­ery is re­fill­ing that hole be­fore you chal­lenge your body again. Here are six ways to re­cover right.

FIND WAYS TO CALM YOUR BODY

Tar­get sleep and stress. If you can’t sleep eight hours a night, then learn to nap. Take naps no later than mid-af­ter­noon or you risk ru­in­ing that night’s sleep. Aim for about 20 min­utes; any longer and you’ll sleep too deeply and wake up groggy. For stress, end work­outs with five min­utes of deep breath­ing while ly­ing on your back, feet slightly el­e­vated, Rusin ad­vises. It’s not a cure-all, but it helps.

CON­SUME PLENTY OF PRO­TEIN AND WA­TER

Aim for 1-1.5 grams of pro­tein per kilo of body weight daily, says Dr Stu­art Phillips, of Mcmaster Univer­sity. As for hy­dra­tion, there’s an easy way to as­sess that, says nu­tri­tion­ist Dr Mike Rous­sell. Clear urine means you’re drink­ing enough. Fewer than two clear or semi-clear uri­na­tions a day means you’re not. And no, ph-bal­anced wa­ters don’t help.

3 AL­LOW ENOUGH TIME BE­TWEEN WORK­OUTS

Ac­cord­ing to the 48-hour rule, you should wait at least two days be­fore hit­ting the same mus­cle again. That’s fine for sin­gle-joint moves such as bi­ceps curls, but you may need up to four days to re­cover from heavy multi-joint lifts like bench presses, sug­gests re­search in the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal of Ex­er­cise Sci­ence. If you go heavy on your chest on Mon­day, go for higher reps and lower weight later that week.

4 AL­LOW ENOUGH TIME BE­TWEEN SETS

Most train­ers pre­scribe 3-5 min­utes of rest be­tween sets if your goal is strength and 60 sec­onds if your goal is size. But a re­cent study in the Jour­nal of Strength and Con­di­tion­ing com­pared rest in­ter­vals of one minute and three min­utes and found that the longer breaks were sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter for both strength and size of most mus­cle groups over an eight-week pro­gram.

5 DON’T BE AFRAID TO STRETCH

It was once be­lieved that do­ing ex­tended static stretches be­fore ex­er­cis­ing could make you slower and weaker. Now? We all need to stretch pre-work­out, says strength coach Mike Boyle. Hit ar­eas that shorten when you sit: quads, ham­strings, hip flex­ors, chest and bi­ceps. Hold each stretch for five deep breaths, which should take about 20-30 sec­onds. Foam-roll be­fore your work­outs too, says Rusin.

6 SPEND YOUR REST DAYS BE­ING AC­TIVE

Stud­ies show that ac­tive rest on non-work­out days – a 45-minute walk, for ex­am­ple – re­duces sore­ness. But that’s not why you should make it a habit. Easy move­ment clears meta­bolic waste from your ex­trem­i­ties. It’s na­ture’s detox, aid­ing with sore­ness and more. “Re­cov­ery isn’t just not feel­ing sore,” Rusin ex­plains. “There are men­tal, phys­i­cal and emo­tional as­pects to it as well.”

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