You have decided that you are going to commit to a workout regimen and you are even more determined to see results. Vacation is right around the corner and you want to be swimsuit ready, you have a wedding dress to fit into, or an ex to show what he is missing! (we’ve all been there). Whatever your motivation is one thing you have to keep in mind is that hitting the gym is not the only player in the game of getting fit. It is crucial to know that what you do outside of your workouts can be equally if not MORE important than the actual work out it’s self. So let’s plant some seeds and start being more mindful of all the factors that play into getting the best results we can.
When you are working hard, running,lifting weights, and moving in a way your body hasn’t moved in years you are doing some damage. But when taken care of the right way it is the best kind of damage.
Essentially each time you work out you are making little tears in your muscle fibers and when those tears heal they come back bigger and stronger. That is why you feel sore after a workout, you are literally nursing an “injury”. However being sore is great! It’s is your body’s way of letting you know you worked hard BUT you need rest before the next workout.
So yes the workout is important but when you want to see results it’s all about the healing process and one of the best ways to heal your hard working muscles is.. Drum roll please! SLEEP
What goes on when you sleep that is so magical you ask!? Well sleep is the time when your body literally goes into repair mode.
As you sleep your body releases growth hormones and these sweet baby growth hormones stimulate muscle growth/repair, bone building and fat burning. To learn more about this process check out this article.
~ Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. The average adult needs 7-9 hours
~Know how sleep affects your body. If you are wound up after a hard workout give yourself at least 3 hours to wind down before bad.
~Start a night routine to train your body to wind down and get the optimal sleep. Skip the first hour of laying in bed thinking about every/anything and getting worked up. A routine can help you relax and signal to your body it’s time to shut her downnn.
You need to think of your body as a car… Does your car run well on the fumes in the tank? How about no gas at all? Go drive a car with no gas and tell me how far you get!
Your body is the same exact way. You can’t expect yourself to have a killer workout when all you had was a breath of fresh air for breakfast and a shake for lunch! Trust me I 100% understand not everyone has the time to follow a strict diet, count macros, or meal prep every day. BUT you need to make sure you are at least giving your body the proper fuel to get through your day AND support your workout. So even if you can’t whip up a three course meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner try to follow these simple guidelines.
Before work out- Healthy Carbs: these are lighter to digest which makes for a more productive work out.
During- Water: to replenish all that you lose when you work out. Our body is made of 73% water !
After- Protein: these help rebuild all the muscles you just shredded during your workout
Avoid saturated fats or a lot of healthy protein before your workout because those are harder for your body to digest while working out. A.K.A that feeling of your food just sitting in your stomach the whole work out!
When putting together your grocery list try to incorporate snacks you can make quickly when you are at a loss for a full meal. I.e
By now I think we have all heard that foam rolling is the G.O.A.T.. Pulled a muscle ? Roll it out. Sore from leg day ? Roll it out. Your bf put his dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is dirty? Roll it out… Just kidding there is no solution to that one. But honestly as a collegiate athlete and fitness freak I hear all the time the importance of foam rolling not only after a workout but even before as a warm up. So what is going on when you actually foam roll and is it really all it’s been chalked up to be?
Yes it really is and here is why.. When you foam roll you are loosening up the myofacial in your muscles. There are multiple layers of facial around muscle cells/fibers, bundles of muscle fibers, and then the muscle as a whole. The myofacial is a thin casing like the thin clear casing of a sausage. The myofacials have properties similar to putty. The more you work it out the more stretchy it becomes. So rolling out those tangled fibers/casing can warm them up and allow them to stretch out releasing some of that sore/tightness you experience after a workout.
Don’t just foam roll after a workout. Foam rolling before a workout can get your muscles prepared for that hard work you are about to do. Therefore minimizing the potential tightness/ soreness you will feel after the workout. In short it’s a great warm up.
When foam rolling you should start by rolling slowly. Once you go over a really sore/ tight part of the muscle, sit with it, roll gently back and forth. Sometimes you might even feel the muscle give in or straighten out.
When recovering from any workout program the key to keeping up with it and seeing your maximum results is through recovery! Don't skip out on it, You'll thank yourself later.
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