20 Oct Are you stiff and sore; Here’s help!
Are you stiff and sore? Feels good, don’t it! The sign of a good workout; A.K.A DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Here’s Jacinta’s top tips for recovery.
- Magnesium. Holy smokes its essential for everyone, not just athletes. Magnesium helps your muscles rehydrate which will reduce stiffness and promote repair. Perth soil isn’t very good in terms of minerals, so our bodies struggle to extract magnesium from vegetables, which means supplements are essential. You can get a variety of different types of magnesium supplements at health food store and chemists. I personally take Bioceuticals (which is not cheap, but works best for me). Endura is another great brand, good to drink during your workout. If you’re looking for a cheap fix, coconut water will give you a decent dose. If you think the extra magnesium in your diet is not helping, try a different brand, type (power, tablet) or even composition – some compositions contain different types of magnesium or other minerals like phosphate which aid in the breakdown and absorption of magnesium.
- Protein. Obviously foods such as meat, legumes, lentils and nuts are a good source of protein but protein powder/shakes are more readily available (easier) to break down by your body. There are millions of different types and brands so best to decide what results you’re looking for and then seek advice from experts in the health food or supplement stores. Personally, I use protein shakes specifically for muscle recovery, so I usually have a shake before bed to boost my protein levels because your body does most of your muscle repair while you sleep so the extra protein is used specifically for repairs. I love food, so I never replace meals with shakes, although I will have a shake on the go as a snack if I’m hungry.
- Foam roller. You don’t have to spend $$$ on a fancy pants foam roller, you can use a piece of plastic pipe or rolling pin to start with (or Kmart and Big W have rollers for $15)…BUT the super expensive rumble rollers are totally worth the $$$. How often should you roll? Well, after every workout! I like to do it before I go to bed, because it helps my muscles relax. As a general rule, I start at the bottom on my calves and work up the back and front (hamstrings and quads) of my legs, then I get my ITB (side of the leg) and then my back. I also use a variety of other torture devices such as back balls, lacrosse balls and spikey balls (sooo good!) for smaller, more specific areas. Why roll? Like I said, it will help your muscles to relax (after, not during), similar to massage, it will increase the blood flow to an area which helps to clear out lactic acid and oxygenate your muscles for the recovery process. I recommend starting with a smooth roller and as you get used to it, try a soft ‘lumpy’ one, usually the black ones are the hardest/most painful.
- Sleep. We all know I don’t get a lot of that, but it is essential for your recovery, you might have noticed reading through – a lot of ‘stuff’ is happening while you sleep! Aim for 7 or more hours per night.
- Sugar, Caffeine and Alcohol. Yeah…sadly they are all something to ‘enjoy in moderation’. Sugar is the most addictive substance on earth (totally more than heroin) so cut down slowly and make “lifestyle” changes rather than dieting. Lifestyle = FOR LIFE its commitment yo! Hating me? Well, try not having refined sugar for 5 days; that’s just the working week, simples and then tell me how you feel? Body not as stiff? Fructose I believe is a totally different type of sugar so I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether to cut that out too. Sugar, caffeine and alcohol will dehydrate you, leaving your muscles dry and stiff. Alcohol is also really hard for you liver to breakdown so even when you just have a little bit, your poor liver spends most of its time sorting out the alcohol component in your system, leaving the other waste products such as lactic acid in your system and that makes you feel average.
- Water: a clear, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquid that you should be drinking a lot of. Personally, I find water really hard to drink, not because I dislike it, I just struggle to get it down the hatch. If you’re like me, try herbal tea (with no sugar!) or sparkling water. Hydrated muscles are much happier, relaxed and lubricated.
You only get one place to live. Look after your body and it will surprise you with the amazing things it is capable of!
Here’s a couple of videos to help demonstrate how to foam roller your body.
~ Jacinta Diamonds