Next time you're streaming, get a quick sweat session in.
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A killer sweat session is good for the mind, body, and soul, but not without a recovery plan. From taking a fitness class on the MINDBODY app to finishing your daily run, it's so important to not only care for your muscles, but your well-being as a whole.
Whether it's snacking right or making time for that *oh-so-good* stretch, we've got five easy tips to help you successfully recover and get your body back to the workout grind.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but whether you just completed a strenuous bootcamp or rejuvenating yoga class, it’s important to replace the fluids lost during exercise. Make it a goal to consume at least two liters of water per day. Tack on a bottle refill (or two) if your workout had you really sweating.
Pro Tip: Grab a few organic mint leaves, slice up some citrus and add them to your water for a thirst-quenching treat.
Light stretching before and after your workout can help facilitate quick muscle recovery by reducing lactic acid build-up and improving circulation. Stretching is proven to help your range of motion and flexibility in addition to improving your performance in the long run. Try these simple movements, holding each for one minute:
Pro Tip: Take stretching seriously! Commit to making it a part of your workout routine every time.
Foam rolling is a great way to speed up recovery and can ease soreness by breaking up tight knots of tissue and enhancing blood flow. Experiencing discomfort is part of the process, and does your body good—however, if you’re experiencing sharp, unexpected pain, pause and speak with your doctor before continuing.
Pro Tip: Looking to release tension in a targeted spot? Try a roller ball. Rubber, lacrosse-style balls can get into those tight areas where you need centralized, deep tissue relief.
Juices, smoothies and nutritional supplements are all post-workout ways to assist in your body’s recovery. It’s crucial to get a mix of protein and carbs into your system fast, ideally within 20 minutes of completing your workout. Determine what your body needs—maybe it’s watermelon juice’s soothing effect that helps get more oxygen to muscles, or pomegranate juice’s antioxidant-packed ingredients that decrease muscle soreness (specifically in your arms).
Pro Tip: Looking to pick a protein powder that benefits your specific workout plan? True Nutrition offers the ability to customize your powder and flavor through easy-to-use tools and a helpful support staff.
Reach for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as hemp, flax seeds and chia. Nuts and blueberries are also great sources to help these fatty acids speed up recovery and reduce inflammation. Check out this article for more snack ideas.
Pro Tip: Plan ahead and buy from the bulk section at your local health food store. Create portioned bags with an omega-3 “trail mix” so you can snack healthy on the go.
Athletes are more likely to be exposed to heat, friction, oils and sweat. Used gym mats are a key offender of holding onto oils, which can lead to acne issues. Take good care of your skin by cleansing heat rash and turf burn, washing areas prone to breakouts after every session and moisturizing.
Pro Tip: Keep facial wipes in your gym bag so you can do a quick cleanse before (and after) your workout.
Prevent inflammation in worn-out muscles by booking a 30-minute to 1-hour massage after an intense workout. If you can't swing an afternoon at the spa, circle back to your foam roller and incorporate a foot massager into the mix. Regular foot massages can decrease the risk of injury.
Pro Tip: Rub marjoram essential oil on sensitive spots for added relief and relaxation.
For the final piece to your post-workout puzzle, mix Epsom salt into your hot bath. The salt’s minerals will be quickly absorbed through the skin, alleviating muscle pain and inflammation when combined with hot water. Though it’s not long-lasting relief, this remedy is almost instant.
Pro Tip: Post-bath, rub coconut oil onto damp skin for a soothing, smoothing and moisturizing effect.
I’m celebrating week 21 of pregnancy. Baby is the size of a banana or bell pepper. I don’t know why it’s so fun to compare a growing fetus to a fruit or veggie, but it gives me a much-needed laugh while I make note to avoid consuming bananas for the week. This is also ultrasound week. I’m no longer able to bring my husband and daughter to the appointment, but we understand that these restrictions are put in place to protect us. Like so many pregnant women and mothers across the world, I’m doing my best to adapt to the new norm and changes that COVID-19 has introduced to my already stressful life.
Pregnant women across various metro cities are beginning to face fears of delivering their baby without a birthing partner by their side for the duration of the hospital stay. Family members and friends may not be able to meet baby in-person for quite some time, so those special first meetings happen over FaceTime. New mommy groups switch to virtual meetups. I’m feeling the weight of it all (and I’m not referring to the extra weight I’ve gained from WFH snacking), the heaviness of the unknown that we all carry as we navigate through all of this change.
Tuning into nightly news or googling the latest COVID-19 death tolls is a surefire way to lose sleep, but we do it anyway because we want to stay informed as we wrap our heads around how much this pandemic will change our world. Maybe your anxiety and personal despair grow as you hear from a friend who recently lost their job or read about your favorite restaurant unable to keep its doors open. Canceled events, long-anticipated vacations, and temporarily closed fitness studios are not only inconvenient, but force us to reframe our attitudes.
I can hear my mother’s voice telling me to relax. She tells me that the baby can feel my stress, and that isn’t good for anyone. I begin to feel guilty about my inability to quiet the negative feelings and decide that something needs to change. We can’t change what the media reports, the pressure at work, or predict how long it will take for the economy to recover. But what if we reminded ourselves to do the best with what we have and keep moving forward—one day at a time. Amidst the chaos, we’re becoming a stronger, kinder community, and that is truly a beautiful thing to see.
The journey to my second trimester wasn’t an easy one. I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I made time for my body and mind to heal after the loss. Float tank sessions, meditation, vinyasa power flow, and frequent facials helped me connect with my body. I can’t say self-care alone healed my depression, but it certainly helped me discover the importance of self-love and repaired my self-confidence.
After many pregnancy tests and negative results, I was at peace with accepting that having another child may not be in the cards for me. Fast forward to age 37. I was shocked to see a + symbol on three pregnancy stick tests. Although I’m medically referred to as a geriatric pregnancy, my OB/Gyn said there was no reason for me to go into this pregnancy with a negative mindset. Eat healthy, stay active, and focus on being POSITIVE. Maybe the pursuit of happiness and path to personal wellness was really that simple.
On my 38th birthday, I celebrated my 20th week of pregnancy—I’ll refer to it as the “Pregnant in a Pandemic Party.” I blew out a candle on a warm chocolate chip cookie that my husband and daughter baked together. They were my only party guests, but I didn’t need a room full of people at a fancy restaurant to feel pure gratitude. People across the world continue to test positive for COVID-19. I was safe in my home with my family. I was right where I needed to be.
Although the past few weeks have brought a wide range of emotions for all of us, I’m choosing to use this extra time to self-reflect and bond with family. I’m mentally recording my five-year-old daughter as she whispers to my stomach and tells her baby sister that August couldn’t come soon enough. This is life. So perfectly imperfect at times, but beautiful in more ways than we know. We may be housebound, down to the last few rolls of toilet paper, and our hair hasn’t seen a salon in over a month. The loss of control and routine over our daily lives can make us feel like failures. Trust me; we’re not. We were never meant to get through this alone. Together, we will get through this—one day at a time.