5 Active Recovery Workout Ideas

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Active workouts and recovery seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum; either you are active and exercising or you are in recovery and not exercising (at least that was the advice from many experts in the past). But that has now changed.

However, what you do as a recovery workout should be directly tied to your fitness level. For example, for someone who struggles to walk two miles, their recovery workout will be different than for a person training for a marathon. The key is to work different muscle groups during your recovery workout, thus giving the worked muscles a well needed break so they can repair, rebuild and come back even stronger and bigger.

Recovery Workout Ideas

Regardless of your fitness level and active workout plan, here are 5 recovery workouts that should fit into your fitness schedule:

1) Foam rolling

Also known as Self-Myofascial Release (SMR), massaging your muscles by rolling them over a foam cylinder can increase joint range of motion by breaking down fascia scar tissue that forms from muscle repair.

2) Light weight lifting

Regardless if you strength train regularly or not, lifting light weights as a recovery workout can take the soreness out of worked muscles.

3) Swimming

Not only is swimming a good cardio exercise itself , but it makes a great recovery workout, because of the absence of impact on your joints. It is especially a good workout if you normally walk or run, which puts a tremendous stress on lower body joints.

4) Yoga

Yoga increases flexibility and range of motion of a joint by taking each joint through a static stretching process. But that is not all yoga does, it also provides two subliminal benefits by providing mind relaxation through controlled and focused breathing and meditation.

5) Cycling

If you don’t cycle as an active workout, cycling provides a different way of moving your muscles instead of always moving up and down; instead they can go more in a circle.

Recovery Options

When talking about recovery, the question of when and how long it should happen usually comes up. In that regard, there are basically three options: day off per week, one week off per set number of weeks of training, or a combination of both.

Day off per week. Most personal trainers recommend taking at least one day off per week of training to give muscles time to repair themselves. This is good advice as muscles need this time out.

One week off per set number. Every 6 to 8 weeks of training, you should take at least one week off. During this week “off” incorporate one or more of the recovery workouts into your daily schedule. Because the body gets efficient at what is asked of it, many people switch to a different workout routine when they start up again.

Combination of both. With this option, you are both taking one day per week off and a full week off every 6 to 8 weeks of training. This is the best of both worlds as it gives your body the mot opportunity to rest and repair itself.

By selecting the proper active recovery method and option, you can give your body the periodic time it needs to repair and rebuild. Don’t make the mistake of not doing recovery as it will eventually catch up to you.

Is It Possible to Eat Too Much Protein After a Workout?

Are you one that thinks if a little protein is good, a lot must be better? In a recent report that studied myofibillar muscle protein response after resistance exercise, it found 20 grams after a workout seemed to be the correct amount that provided the most benefit for the average individual. In amounts higher, it not only did not provide any additional benefits, but actually could be harmful.

Too much protein increases ammonia production which must be filtered out by the kidneys thus putting them under additional stress. Because the kidneys are working harder, you’ll get rid of more water as urine. This can lead to dehydration – one of the warning signs of eating too much protein. If you are eating a high protein diet, drink more water than you usually do to account for the extra amount needed to stay hydrated and keep your kidneys functioning properly.

So what does 20 grams of protein look like? A couple of large eggs, 8 ounces of beef, chicken or fish, a couple scoops of whey protein, or a handful of nuts in a bowl of quinoa or other amino acid rich whole grain.

What if you are not average? Bodybuilding experts generally agree that 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is about the right amount of protein for average athletes. Some professionals go as high as 1.7 to even 2 grams per pound. They generally are lifting more weight and tearing down more muscle than most of us working out and need the extra protein. Percentage-wise, protein should make up about 10% of your diet, but can go as high as 35% depending on your workout duration and intensity.

Another issue concerning protein, besides how much to eat, is the optimal time to eat it. There has been a long-standing “window of opportunity” that was the mantra of many bodybuilders in the past. Up to forty-five minutes post-workout was the stated optimal time.  But the results of a new study show that a couple of hours before working out is optimal for energy during your workout in addition to your post-workout window and here is why. It takes a while for the body to process protein. Taking it in a couple of hours before heading out to the gym gives the body time to break it down so it is ready for your body to use during the workout. Post-workout protein replenishes what you used during your workout.

Protein is a good example of something where more is not always better; as a matter-of-fact, it can be harmful. Start with the guidelines stated in this article and then adjust as necessary keeping watch for signs that you may be getting too much.

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