Working professionals spend much of their day sitting, which takes a toll on the body. A robust fitness routine is key to minimizing, or reversing, the effects of sedentary activities on your body. Pushing yourself to the maximum during each workout is a natural response for anyone looking to get the most out of their time at the gym.
Maximizing recovery time and allowing your body time to heal and strengthen after every workout is just as important as the workout itself. Proper recovery will enable you to start your next fitness activity recharged and ready to build on your previous efforts.
“It’s essential to build recovery time into any training program,” Gretchen Collins, Director of Fitness at East Bank Club, explains. “Recovery allows the body to repair from the stress of exercise, and it helps you recharge mentally as well, so you can train harder and more often.”
Working out stresses muscles. On the other hand, rest and recovery heals and strengthens muscles. Recovery isn’t a luxury or a “nice to have,” it’s an indispensable element in any results-based training program. Rest and recovery are as important as that last rep or extra mile.
If muscles and tissue aren’t able to heal, repair and strengthen, the effects will ultimately deter your progress. The body actually breaks down without recovery, and the end results are injury, fatigue and mental anguish.
Recovery isn’t hard, but it must be as consistently planned and practiced as your workouts. Just as you wouldn’t leave your fitness routine to chance, it’s important to make time and space to enable your whole body to absorb the positive benefits of your workout.
The following are important components of recovery that can be scheduled into your day. Also included are Club offerings that support each of these important factors.
Everyday proper nutrition is vital to maintaining overall health, and nutrition plays an essential role in your recovery as well. Pre-workout nutrition is fuel that enables your body to draw energy and power. A pre-workout meal should happen within 90 minutes of activity and consist of complex carbohydrates and protein. Some examples include: oatmeal and walnuts, banana with almond butter or multi-grain crackers with hummus.
Post-workout nutrition is essential to your body’s recovery. Eating within 30 to 60 minutes of your workout boosts your metabolism, feeds your muscles, and aids in their repair. Some examples are: chicken breast; quinoa and vegetables; shake with fruit, whey protein powder and almond butter; and whole-wheat toast with avocado and hard-boiled egg.
EBC Solution: There are food options at the Club to satisfy every taste and need. To-go “Fit Meals” and snacks are available in the Food Shop; the Juice Bar makes delicious smoothies and drinks, and the Grill offers tasty and nutritious meals. EBC Dietitian, Sarah Calamita, RD, CSSD, LD, can provide suggestions and meal options to ensure you make wise food choices to maximize your recovery.
The whole body should be stretched daily, but this is especially true on workout days. Recovery stretching includes stretching forward and backward, side to side, and rotationally at the joints. Daily stretching only takes 5 to 10 minutes, but it dramatically affects recovery time. Doing one or two longer stretching sessions per week is recommended to loosen tense muscles and allow them to release.
Foam rollers may look like toys, but they can exert a surprising amount of muscle pressure, and consequently provide a tremendous amount of relief. Foam rollers stimulate the myofascial connective tissue relaxing tight muscles and reducing pain. In addition, they create pressure at trigger points, the knots in muscles that cause pain.
EBC Solution: Designated stretching areas with tools including foam rollers, are found throughout the Club. There are stretching classes every day at the Club that take a head-to-toe approach to stretching each muscle group. Foam rollers and other small apparatus are used to get into trigger points and relieve tight muscles. The Pro Shop has a host of foam rollers and TriggerPoint products that can be purchased for use at home and at the Club.
3. Massage/Performance Stretching
Massage and other forms of muscle release are extremely helpful in the recovery process. While self-release is nice, it’s not nearly as effective as having a professional provide deep tissue relief. Considered by some to be a luxury, massage is an essential part of an athlete’s routine, keeping muscles healthy by providing blood flow and boosting the immune system.
EBC offers Performance Stretching, an active experience that includes deeper, assisted stretching combined with trigger point therapy. These sessions provide relief from muscle soreness, and increase your range of motion. The Club also offers Thai Bodywork, which relaxes the body and mind with specialized techniques that reduce stress and pain and improve flexibility and mobility.
EBC Solution: The Club has a multitude of massage offerings ranging from services in the Spa for women and men, to a more active Performance Stretch from one of our certified practitioners near the Performance Center, to Thai Bodywork at the First Level Pool.
Getting enough sleep at night is a challenge for many, but adequate sleep is an important time for overall recovery and wellness. Scientific studies prove that sleep provides health benefits that extend beyond feeling refreshed in the morning. In fact, sleep plays an important role in maintaining a healthy heart, mind and body. Depending upon individual patterns, seven to ten hours of sleep each night is recommended.
While hydration is important during your workout, water intake should begin as soon as you wake up and continue throughout the entire day. Proper hydration aids in muscle recovery and reduces muscle spasms, a common effect of exercise.
Drinking sufficient water after exercise, and even after other recovery techniques like stretching and massage, helps flush the toxins that can cause fatigue and pain out of your system.
The Power Plate is a vibrational technology machine with multi-functional use that promotes muscle recovery. Working out on the Power Plate machine reduces muscle soreness and promotes a faster post-workout recovery.
EBC Solution: The Club has multiple Power Plate machines located near the Performance Center available for member use. There are also small-group training classes that take place on the Power Plate machines.