As fitness has become a staple part of more individuals’ daily life, the tools available to optimize performance have enjoyed a period of innovation and growth. The equipment used in the actual period of working out has obviously been affected by the growth of the fitness community, but the innovation far from ends there.
The die-hard fitness junkie not only wants to be able to push themselves in new and challenging ways during their training, they also want gear that enhances their nutrition, hydration and, the topic of this article, recovery.
Recovery is just as, if not more important, to excelling in overall fitness than time spent in training. After being broken down on a consistent basis, the body needs time to rebuild and fortify itself for the next workout!
In this article, we are going to talk about some must-have tools in your arsenal if you want to recover like a champ and continue showing up to the gym day after day ready to perform. While we will not detail specific brands or manufacturers, the gear described is available through a long list of individual sources.
If you have never experienced the combined pain and pleasure during a stint on a foam roller, you are missing out. These devices, essentially a cylinder composed of some form of dense foam, are a fantastic recovery device. Although some remain a basic piece of smooth material, others are fitted with grooves and bumps to really dig in to worn out muscle tissue.
The instruction manual is simple: all you are required to do is lay on these devices, resting your intended body part on the cylinder. For each desired location, you simply roll back and forth on the device.
This technique is known as self-myofascial release. Much like a massage, the intense pressure applied to muscle tissue allows areas of tension and adhesion to unwind and restore natural motion and circulation to the area. This effect is critical for proper recovery.
If you happen to be one of the rugged few who find foam rolling to be a bit too leisurely, these devices have your back. While there is a slew of designs, massage guns are essentially a gadget that oscillates a rubberized bit (usually being a sphere) at an extremely high rate of speed.
Much like deep-tissue massage or foam rolling, massage guns allow the user to absolutely hammer a troubled area of muscle tissue until built-up tension and hypomobile fibers become relaxed.
While the price tag on these bad boys can get pretty steep, they are an enormous asset to enhanced recovery if you are willing to hand over a pretty penny.
Bar none, the greatest factor in your ability to recover is your quality of sleep. Sleep is the time period in which the body prioritizes recovery through a vast array of hormonal and biological processes.
While seemingly straightforward, sleep can be a tricky thing. You may have noticed mornings when getting out of bed seems like an act of congress, even though you went to bed at the same time as days when you effortlessly hit the ground running. This is usually due to fluctuations in your overall depth and quality of sleep.
Sleep tracking devices are relatively novel pieces of equipment that monitor a number of variables when it comes to sleep such as restless movement, heart rate variability and respiratory rate.
After using these devices for some time, you can begin to see a pattern develop. It will easy to distinguish your quality of sleep on a nightly basis, allowing you to experiment with different evening routines and sleeping conditions until you establish a ritual that optimizes your rest on an individual basis.