If you're already in the habit of going to the gym regularly you may be like most people, just focused on the workout. But to get the most out of your training the recovery process should be taken seriously. Recovery helps muscles heal faster reduce the pain from muscle soreness and can also improve your performance in the long run
A good place to start is with your gym bag. Believe it or not, keeping a few simple tools in your gym bag can help “cue” you to take 5-10 minutes to perform a good recovery routine. With this in mind, here are three things to keep in your gym bag.
The first is a water bottle. We all know the importance of drinking water, but habits form better when you have a cue, according to the book on making habits, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. According to Clear, a cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. Cues indicate that you are close to a reward. Water is key to your work out. Water helps regulate body temperature and lubricate joints. Your brain and muscles are predominantly made of water and even the slightest bit of dehydration can decrease performance. Keep in mind that a good water bottle should be clean, leakproof, and keep the temperature cool. Drinking a glass of ice water rather than warm water can also increase calorie burn.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, you should be drinking “17 to 20 ounces of water before your workout. You should consume at least 8 ounces of water for a 20-30 minute workout during the workout, and follow up by drinking 7-10 ounces after your workout.” According to the Mayo Clinic, water is not only 60% of your body weight, but it's essential for the proper function of tissues and cells.
Keep in mind that after a workout, muscles will remain in the last position that you left them. If you just run a few miles or performed a high intensity interval training, the quads will be shorter, the pelvis will tilt forward and put pressure on the low back. This muscle stiffness that many people feel after a tough workout can be painful and frustrating, but it can also decrease flexibility. This can limit performance. The Flexsitretcher is a great “cue” to remind yourself to stretch. It’s the ultimate stretching tool and is perfect for your gym bag. The Flexistretcher comes in a black mesh bag so it can easily be tidy, portable and space-saving. There are many ways to use the Flexistretcher to help reduce muscle soreness, chronic pain and improve circulation.
Stretching at the end of the workout can provide a great way to gradually relax. As more people are becoming aware of the mind-body connection benefits of stretching and yoga moves, making sure the Flexistretcher is part of your workout has even more benefits besides elimination of lactic acid and muscle recovery.
One last secret weapon to improve the results from your workouts, is having kinesiology tape in your gym bag. Even if you don’t have an injury, kinesiology tape can be a simple and cost-effective way to keep your body ready for the next workout. Kinesiology tape can be used during your workout to help with alignment and cueing muscles to contract for stability, or it can be left on for a 3-4 days after your workout. Once you know how to use kinesiology tape, you can apply it by yourself as part of your recovery routine. Kinesiology tape is different than medical or white athletic tape, it doesn’t restrict mobility. It allows for motion while stimulating the muscle.