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Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

A recovery strategy during lockdown

One day last week my alarm went off around the normal time of 6am. Sometimes I’m awake just before that, but that morning I wasn’t and I was nowhere near ready to get out of bed.

My eyes and whole body just felt heavy.

I knew the reason but, my body needed to recover.

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I realised I was doing on average three online physical activity sessions per day and also spending time in the garden and playing with my son. Add to this all the planning and development of my business, it took its toll on my body.

When I normally coach a session that’s what I do, coach. I don’t take part; I stand back and observe. Now everything has moved online and I’m instructing by doing and it’s taking its toll on my body.

So I had to re-evaluate my recovery strategies.

Here is a list of things I have added and currently do as part of my daily and weekly routine.

Sleep

By far the best and cheapest way to recover the body. Stick to a set time of going to bed and raising. You should be aiming for seven to eight hours sleep.

Nap

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If you’re not reaching your recommended amount of sleep throughout the night, then it’s time to nap. Napping for 20 minutes has the same power as sleeping for 90 minutes (90 minutes of sleep is suggested to be one sleep cycle and we should be aiming for 35 sleep cycles per week).

To help you nap make sure you sleep in a cool, dark and quiet room. If this is near impossible in your house invest in a set of ear plugs and a black out sleeping mask. Also cut out the caffeine.

Cut back on caffeine

There are many advantages of having a cup of coffee every day; enjoyment being one of them. Just be careful you aren’t consuming to much caffeine from coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks. It may give you the boost you need short term but it won’t help you when you try to nap or sleep at night.

Cut back on booze

Research suggests that having more than 3.5 drinks a night, you can expect a decrease in performance that can last up to five days.

This may have been aimed towards athletes but it’s no different from you and I. (By the way we are athletes in our own right). Drinking, especially when you haven’t followed any recovery strategies, slows down your recovery. Also drinking at night means you don’t fully get the proper rest and recovery during your sleep. Yes, you may sleep for the same duration but the quality will be effected.

Yoga, stretch and foam roll
Now is the perfect time to whip out an exercise mat or blanket and do some yoga.

There are so many yoga instructors offering free sessions. Sarah Connolly from Sarah Connolly Performance is doing live sessions at 8pm and I would highly recommend her class. The added bonus of all my extra workouts is that I get to stretch more than my usual once daily. I’ve even added in a full body foam rolling session to some of my workouts too.

You can carry out my full body recovery session on our YouTube page, CORE NI. it includes stretching and foam rolling.

If you don’t have a foam roller you can use a plastic bottle or empty wine bottle.

Change the intensity of your training

Even if you don’t do a yoga or stretching session you can still actively recover by reducing the intensity and time of your workouts. If you’re physically ‘not feeling it’ on some days, then listen to your body. You can still move but drop the weight, sets, reps, time, intensity or the whole lot – but still move.

Ice bath

I made my own homemade ice bath using an old plastic barrel. I’ve started adding in a ten minute ice bath most mornings to my morning routine. They are cold and it does take some time to get used tom but you do feel the difference. I combine mine with ten minutes of meditation which helps take my mind of the cold and exercises my mind at the same time.

Warm bath in salts

One recovery method you may find more enjoyable is a warm bath. Add some magnesium salts to help recovery your achy muscles. It’s also nice to chill for a while in a warm bath with a glass of red wine, but don’t take too many, you still want to sleep well at night.

Fuel the body
Fuelling the body the right way throughout the day will not only help with recovery, but also your training performance and your overall mood. You don’t have to be 100 per-cent strict, however, the better you are with the type and quality of food consumption, then the better and quicker your body will recover and perform. And don’t forget to keep hydrated.

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