When I started exercising after a 4 year lay off it was hard. Really Hard. But, I was lucky as throughout my early sporting life, I had been well taught about the value of looking after your body to get ready for the next game /day.
Starting from Scratch
Resuming training, My muscles were Deconditioned, I had lost Range of movement and Flexibility and even limited exercise was difficult. As I started working out more, the Injuries started piling up. This can be a major hurdle to Transforming Your Body. And then I remembered the saying, "Recovery never Ends." Once you finish exercising, you need to consider how to repair and restore your body, so you can go, again.
This is a key factor to consider for Body Transformations and even for Athletes seeking Performance gains. You have to look after your body to get it through the Challenges you are putting it through. It really is part of the process for maintaining a healthier you, and understanding your body.
Recovery never Ends
We all see Professional Sports Athletes Warming Up, Stretching Before Playing. Then you hear of the insane preparation Lebron James goes through after games, with Stretching, compression equipment and Contrast baths [3,4] etc. He spends over 1 million dollars on Body upkeep every season, and is the best athlete in the NBA for the last 17 years. He has teamed up with one of the best trainers around Mike Mancias, who preaches cryotherapy, nutrition , hydration , stretching and with a constant emphasis on Recovery.
Sure, 1 million dollars is likely not in the budget, but, you dont have to spend money. You should be doing Something similar. You need to spend time on your body. You need to put your body first. If you want to look good and feel good, then look after your body and spend time on it, and you will get results.
I find as a general rule, professional athletes are fantastic at listening to doctors and training staff, in looking after their bodies to improve their time on the field. It is something to consider if you want to improve your performance
Injuries Affect Your Progression
If you get Injuries or soreness and it reduces your Exercise time, you are losing ground.
You need to make it a priority to Avoid injuries to make progress. If you are starting to work on yourself after a long layoff, you need to take things slow, realise your limitations, and continually adjust your program. The Mind is often stronger than the Body at this point in your Body Transformation.
After my slow start, I really pushed my body to the limits. Following injuries to my Shoulder, Pec minor, Biceps tendon , Wrist, Elbow, Groin, Hamstrings,.... the list was long. I developed Strategies to overcome these barriers to training. As a result, I was able to train almost daily, to Achieve my goals. If you are going to push your body, you have to look after it.
Injury Prevention Strategies
After developing Injury Prevention Strategies, and using them daily, the injuries stopped. Particularly as you get older, you have to understand, that you need to Warm Up your body and you are going to need to Stretch....Properly and Regularly. It needs to be done before every workout and you should be using some form of stretching or muscle / myofascial release after exercise as well. Lebron is now 35, just won another Ring and is playing at arguably his best. He has talked openly about his body preparation for many years as a key to his longevity. He emphasizes how important Stretching everyday is too him and his flexibility in preventing his Injuries.
If you do get an Injury, you should use Ice to reduce swelling, fast and for about 30 mins minimum every 2 hours. I often Ice aggressively for the first 24 hours as much as I can, even when I Sleep. Small doses of NSAIDS help, but take care with Side effects that can cause Indigestion and Kidney issues. So take with food and drink water regularly.
Daily Body Activation Routine
Injury Prevention is a key reason I progressed so fast in my Body Transformation.
Activating your muscles and connective tissues, before exercise markedly reduced my injuries and was one of many key strategies I used.
This routine is great as a Daily flexibility routine or a Pre-workout body activation. It drastically reduces your chances of injury and is a great way to start your day or exercise. You might not be able to do some of the exercises , but if you work on it each day you will improve.
Post Workout Therapies
Couple your Pre-workout routine with additional Post Workout therapies. Recovery for elite athletes is 24/7, and you need to incorporate this philosophy into your routine to maximise your success.
Myofascial release with Shiatsu Balls , Peanuts and Foam rollers are great in breaking down fascial knots and adhesions which cause pain and limit range of movement and performance. Once you make these part of your daily routine, you will see substantial improvements. So do this regularly, I mean everyday.
I used Hot Baths to Relax muscles and Release Heat Shock Proteins which may provide additional assistance in cell repair. [1-3]. Heat Shock Proteins are released around 41 to 42 degrees Celsius , which is about the limit for most of us in terms of bath temperature. Those with Sauna's or Steam Rooms, can achieve similar results. Many athletes use Contrast Baths or Hot / Cold Baths to aid recovery [1-3]. You can replicate the same by Hot / Cold Showers.
Sleep is your Body's Best Recovery Tool.
Hot Baths and Myofascial release can also form part of a Daily Wind Down routine at night to prepare for Sleep. Releasing tension in the Muscles is great for preparing you for Sleep and Getting your body ready for the next day. Clinical studies have also shown that a hot bath, raises the body temperature, which helps promote Sleep as the body temperature reduces.
Sleep is a vital component to your recovery, possibly THE most important. Sleep is your body's own inbuilt, custom made nano charged repair kit. No only repairing and resting your muscles, but letting your mind and brain unwind and learn from what happened that day. The mind is an important part of the way you approach your game or training. You dont want to lose focus, concentration or momentum, so make sure you get enough Sleep to keep the mind strong and refreshed. If you get tired your performance will suffer.
Sleep is another Tool that Lebron raves about in relation to his powers of Recovery over his 17 year career and at his Vintage. SWS or Deep Sleep Is when the Body Recovers. If you are not Sleeping Enough or Getting Good Quality Sleep, you Recovery process will not be Optimal. And whether you are an Elite Athlete or Just Trying to Get the most out of your life, you need to look after your Sleep so that it can look after you. Get a minimum of 8 hours Sleep, and if You suspect there is something wrong with your Sleep, see a Sleep Doctor and get a Sleep Study to Rule out any issues.
Exercises and Training hard is only half the game, maybe even less. You have a lot of Work to do to take it to the next level. Check out other ways we can reduce your injuries at DrLifepro.com and keep you on the right path to a better body and better performance.
As Lebron says....."Work hard ,Play hard and Stretch."
1.Christians, et al, Heat shock factor 1 and heat shock proteins: Critical partners in protection against acute cell injury, Critical Care Medicine: January 2002 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p S43-S50
2.Koh, Timothy J. Do Small Heat Shock Proteins Protect Skeletal Muscle from Injury?, Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: July 2002 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 117-121
3.Bieuzen F, et al. Contrast water therapy and exercise induced muscle damage: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e62356. Published 2013 Apr 23.