Overrated vs. Underrated: Recovery Edition
The “recovery” sector of the fitness industry is worth big bucks.
Every year millions of dollars are spent on recovery supplements and creams, all toting the idea that they will help you recover faster.
The truth is, we believe most recovery tools are overrated.
While these overrated tools may offer some “cherry-on-top” benefits, most people are skipping over the behaviors that provide the greatest benefits (and they’re virtually free!).
In this edition of overrated vs. underrated, we tackle recovery, highlighting what tools you should prioritize before reaching for fancy recovery hacks.
Overrated Recovery Tools
From protein powders to sleep aids, there are supplements for every fitness goal. But they are overrated. Supplements are just that, a supplemental form of their original version. There is a time and a place for supplementation, but it’s always worth reflecting on whether simple lifestyle changes might have the same effect as a pill bottle.
The truth is, you can likely achieve whatever fitness goal you are aiming at without the help of supplements. If you're looking to put on more muscle, try eating more real food rather than drinking protein powders. Need help going to sleep? Instead of reaching for the melatonin, first opt for turning off your phone 30 minutes before bed and watching the sunset.
Foam rollers are another overrated recovery tool. Yes, they are a great tool to relieve local muscle soreness. But you don't need to spend hours rolling around on the ground before and after your workout to recover better. Instead, use that extra time to go for a walk, get some sunshine, or prepare a quality meal.
The Anabolic Window
The anabolic window is the idea that 30 minutes to 1 hour after your workout, your body is primed to take in protein and carbohydrates, and you should eat within this window to maximize muscle growth. Studies have shown that this is overrated.
If your goals are to look better naked and live a healthier life, you do not need to worry about this window. Instead, focus on getting quality nutrition throughout the day, including eating plenty of vegetables, chewing your food, and eating enough of each macronutrient.
CBD cream is our last overrated recovery tool. While some might find it effective at relieving soreness, aches, and pains, we challenge you to look at the cause of these effects first.
Often, we find that people are working out harder than they can handle, not getting enough sleep, eating a poor diet, and band-aiding these behaviors with CBD cream. So before you fork out the money for a new jar of cream, look at your current behaviors. Chances are, when you fix those, your pain will subside, and you will see better results.
Sleep is the most underrated recovery tool there is. When we sleep, our body repairs itself, our nervous system switches into rest and digest mode, our body detoxes, and our muscles repair themselves. It's an essential daily recovery tool.
Unfortunately, we live in a sleep-deprived society. Thankfully, this is something you can easily fix, and best of all, it's free. The best way to improve your sleep and how you recover is to practice good sleep hygiene. Learn more about sleep hygiene here.
Often overlooked, hydration is a key to recovery. Water is the most critical nutrient for human nourishment, growth, and development. The brain is composed of 95% water; blood is 82% water; the lungs are nearly 90% water.
We recommend that you drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day as a starting point. An easy way to get a jump on this is before you reach for that morning coffee, grab a glass of 10-12 ounces of water. Then, have a designated water bottle you bring with you throughout the day.
Adequate blood flow throughout the day is a great way to improve recovery. Pushing blood through your system delivers nutrients to your organs and muscles and detoxes your system. The best way to get blood flow is with easy aerobic work like walking or biking. We recommend that you either start or end your day with a short walk or bike ride. For bonus points, try to go for a walk in the afternoon.
Intentional Program Design
The main reason we see clients reaching for recovery tools is that they are overdoing it in the gym. They are either training way above their ability level or in a way that doesn't align with their lifestyle.
The best way to mitigate this is to follow an intentional exercise program. A program that doesn't push you too far past what you are capable of. One that lets you exercise and gets you right back into the gym the next day.
That is why our gyms offer personalized fitness. Every client that walks into our gyms gets assigned a coach who will work with them for the duration of their time with us. This coach assesses their abilities and designs an exercise program specifically for their goals and based on their capabilities.
If you're someone who has fitness goals but is struggling to recover, your exercise program may not be right for you. Find an OPEX Gym near you today and start following a program that balances challenge with recovery, so you can reach your fitness goals.