I need to be upfront; recovery is not a topic I’m an expert on. In fact, it’s something I am admittedly bad at. When I’m sick and a doctor tells me to rest and skip the gym for a few days, I tell him or her that quite honestly, that’s not going to happen. When I injured my IT band and spent months in physical therapy (twice!), I researched and experimented with every method of low impact exercise that I could find in order to maintain my fitness routines. I’m horrible at taking rest days and haven’t done so for seven months.
So why on earth am I writing a post about the fitness topic I’m probably the worst at? And more importantly, why should you be reading this? Well, I’ve learned a lot about rest and recovery in the past few days, brought to my attention by a sprained ankle. After spending some time thinking over this topic, I decided it was something I wanted to write about, not as an expert, but as a way to both engage in and promote self-reflection and healthy habits. I think it’s important to ask ourselves: In what ways in my life am I practicing healthy rest and recovery habits and in what ways am I not? Through this question, I realized that I am practicing recovery in some ways, but am clearly (see above!) lacking in others. I hope this post can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses in this area and will motivate you to make rest part of your healthy lifestyle.
I can’t be the only one who actually enjoys being sore the day after a tough workout. Standing up from my desk at work and going up and down the subway stairs might make my muscles scream, but the pain also brings the satisfaction of a workout well done. But just because I secretly enjoy the pain, doesn’t mean I should always have to suffer through it. After a particularly brutal lower body day, I tried PARODI’s Comforting Muscle Lotion and was immediately blessed with the feeling of instant relief. The lotion was just the answer my sore muscles were praying for, and I learned that there’s nothing wrong with seeking relief for pain (even when the pain comes from a good and healthy place!).
We all know about the importance of a post-workout meal to refuel our bodies after the hard work we just put it through. I workout in the morning, so my favorite recovery meal is also my favorite breakfast. I’ve eaten oatmeal for breakfast for the past five years and I still get excited every time the microwave beeps (seriously, ask my friends, I have an obsession). Refueling after exercising is one area of recovery that I think I get right, so I thought I would share my post-workout breakfast! Feel free to modify as you choose (and share your creations with me on Instagram!)
- 1/2 cup whole-rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon vegan protein powder
- 1 healthy sprinkle of cinnamon
- 1 banana
Put oats, protein powder, and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl and fill with water so that the water barely covers the oats. Microwave for 2 minutes. Top with a sliced banana and enjoy!
Our bodies scream for water during our workouts (I’m that girl who reaches for her Nalgene between every song in a cycling class!), but we have to remember to continue the hydration after we leave the gym. Our thirst may be quenched, but we have to continue to give our bodies the hydration and electrolytes it needs to fully recover. I love drinking lemon water when I get to work for a refreshing way to hydrate. I also have recently tried and loved Pure Brazilian Coconut Water. I’m pretty picky when it comes to coconut water, but this brand was the best I’ve tried! If you’re feeling the need to replenish your body with electrolytes, definitely opt for coconut water over sugary sports drinks.
But like I said, I am no expert on this topic, so I would love to hear about your methods of recovery. Share with me in the comment section below or send me a DM on Instagram.