Recovery - The Most Underrated Part of Any Workout

Recovery - The Most Underrated Part of Any Workout

Recovery is one of the most overlooked parts of an exercise routine, even though its so crucial for our body. One of the major things keeping people away from working out consistently is muscle soreness and fatigue. However, when you ask these same people what they do after their workout to help them recover, one thing becomes clear. Many people don’t do very much- if anything, for recovery. It’s that period of a few hours post-workout that is essential for us to get stronger. Every workout has the goal of disrupting our bodies’ resting state, that’s how it adapts with bigger muscles or a stronger heart. However, this does put stress on our body, so we feel tired and sore until our muscles recover. It’s best to think about a post-workout recovery routine as a way to ease our bodies’ stress levels back down to resting levels so that you’re ready for your next workout. In this blog, we’re going to dive into the two main types of recovery: Passive Recovery and Active Recovery, while explaining the importance of them.

The idea of Active Recovery is to use light-intensity activities light walking or yoga to accelerate and improve the recovery process. The primary reason Active Recovery works is by promoting blood flow through the muscles. The movement provided from Active Recovery helps stop any muscle damage from tightening you up by limiting scar tissue buildup. Active Recovery can be as simple as going for a walk post-workout, but there is some added benefit to trying a variety of options.  

Massage can be a good, low-stress option. However, some areas can be hard to reach and not everyone can be so lucky as to get a massage done for them whenever they want. For that reason, Evoke’s line-up of massage sticks, massage balls and foam rollers all fill a similar role. Applying pressure to the worked muscle and rolling it over the products allows it to mimic the hands of a massage therapist, improving blood flow and providing movement to the area. 

Many of the massage products have spiked or bumpy surfaces to provide more localized pressure. Massage sticks and balls are great for someone on the move, as their compact size allows them to easily fit into a gym bag. Their smaller size also allows for a more targeted massage and a bit more flexibility of use when compared to foam rollers. With that being said, foam rollers are still one of the most common pieces of post-workout recovery equipment. 

While not provided as targeted a massage as balls or sticks, the dense foam can feel different the first time it’s used. The added benefit of foam rollers in the context of Active Recovery is that the movements used in a foam rolling routine can often act as mobility and stability exercises in themselves.  

Passive Recovery is easy to understand. As the name implies, you don’t have to do anything. There is no real routine to Passive Recovery, just trying to relax, eating good meals, and letting your body do it’s thing. You may be able to see some reasons as to why Passive Recovery has mostly fallen out of favour. Passive Recovery is a much longer process than Active Recovery, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be active at all. 

When organizing your workout plan, you can choose to focus on one muscle group during one workout, then do another for a different muscle group while the first is recovering (i.e. doing a chest workout on one day followed by a lower body workout). Passive Recovery does have some preferred use in cases of severe amounts of stress, but Active Recovery is almost always the more common choice for most people’s fitness goals.

The last components of recovery, but the ones most often forgotten by beginner and intermediate lifters are sleep and nutrition. Understandably, people have lives to live. It would be unrealistic to expect everyone to have a perfect sleep schedule, all the time. But just understand; even after puberty, the body does the majority of it’s growing overnight. We don’t realize it, but while we sleep our body increases and decreases heart rate in cycles to continuously provide our tired muscles fresh blood. Try to aim for 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and especially on nights you’ve worked out. In terms of nutrition, things can get a little complicated depending on your goals. In any case, try to aim to eat a high protein (at least 20g-30g) meal with a diversity of fats, carbohydrates, and fibre within 2-3 hours after your workout. This is to signal to our body to refill our muscle energy stores while building and repairing muscle tissue with protein. Alcohol has also been shown to limit muscle protein growth, so it may be beneficial to stay dry on days you’ve worked out.  

Hopefully you have a better understanding of Passive and Active Recovery, and why it as an essential part of your fitness journey. Afterall, it’s the goal to have your fitness journey last a lifetime! Resting is a necessary step to maintaining consistency and avoiding injury. Not to mention, good recovery from exercise leads into feeling happier and healthier, while getting to reap the rewards afterwards of muscle growth and progression.  

Author: Innovative Fitness 

Consult a physician prior to commencing an exercise program. If, at any time during exercise, you feel faint, dizzy, or experience pain, stop and consult your physician