Right now the days are short, the nights are long, and many of us are pushing hard in workouts and in life to start the year off right.
I’ve put together a few insights on rest and recovery. Some of them might be familiar to you, but I’m hoping you get something new.
*Note: I don’t do all of these myself, or I do them on and off. It’s important to take what works for you and leave the rest. The main goal here is to provide some actionable tips you might not have come across before…
We’ve all tried supplements that didn’t seem to do much. The supplement industry is full of low quality brands, ineffective doses, and placebo effects.
However, magnesium is different in that many can experience immediate positive effects.
The reason why magnesium supplementation is often effective is because deficiency is quite common. It also plays a role in hundreds of bodily processes.
You can experiment with multiple forms and methods of absorption. You might find some absorption methods work better for you, or combining multiple forms at the same time maximizes effectiveness. Generally I find it improves sleep quality, stress relief, anxiety, muscle soreness, and overall optimum functioning.
- Magnesium Bisglycinate
- This is typically in capsule form, and absorbs quite well. Brands: Thorne, CanPrev, AOR
- Epsom Salts (for baths, foot soaks)
- Magnesium Chloride Flakes
- You can find Food Grade MgCl and add to your drinking water
- Any kind of Topical Spray or Liquid (Ancient Minerals is a good brand for this)
- You can also add magnesium chloride to distilled water to create your own topical spray. Try applying to the back of the neck, forearms, and/or any sore spots before bed.
2. Sleep Considerations
Consider the use of a sleep mask and/or blackout curtains to minimize light, earplugs, no eating 2-3 hours before bed, no screen usage 2-3 hours before bed, and reducing room temperature (lower heat or open a window for better oxygen flow).
Research has suggested that sleeping in a cooler room can help to improve the quality of sleep and speed up muscle recovery.
As we age, we need more time to recover. Strategies to accomodate this include:
- always warmup and hydrate (ok I doubt this one is news to you, buuut its true)
- training a muscle group 1x per week (this ensures that muscle always has enough time to recover)
- avoiding any exercises that aggravate joints (one of the reasons why we love rowing!). Remember, no exercise movement is mandatory.
- increasing protein intake (also quite boring I know, but it’s also true)
4. Active Recovery
Rest days don’t need to be totally sedentary. We actually want to stay moving to get blood flowing to the muscles we just trained—this helps with recovery and even growth.
Some rest day activity ideas to implement:
- stretching and mobility work
- 30 minute walk in zone 2 heart rate for active recovery
- Theragun and foam rolling
- Sauna for 20 minutes
- Cold Plunge for 5-10 Minutes
- Occasionally, I may also get deep tissue massages (2x a month)
5. Extra Rabbit Holes…
Some recovery-related rabbit holes I’ve travelled down over the years:
- Cold Plunges and Ocean Swims
- Dry Sauna (especially right after training)
- Red Light Therapy
- Intense debate over whey vs. pea vs. hemp protein powders (this is a story for another day…)
- Pineapple…? Yup, research suggests pineapple can help with muscle recovery post workout
That’s it for now. Have an incredible week.