Growing Pains and Recovery
It happens like clockwork: After months of diligent training, suddenly our bodies start hurting again after we’re done with the workout. Hadn’t we already moved past that after we got into our good habits? Did we manage to hurt ourselves?
The reality is that our bodies are constantly changing, whether we want them to or not. Sometimes we don’t get to experience the “That workout hurt just right” sensation. Instead, we may feel injury warning signs.
Sometimes our bodies try to trick us, and it’s up to us to pay attention.
If the pain or sensations have you concerned, it helps to first to categorize what you’re experiencing. Know the difference between injury and use pain. Maybe the muscle or joint feels overstretched or overworked. Most frequently, this kind soreness is caused by moving into a new layer of progressions with your workouts. You’re possibly lifting more weights, doing more ballistic movements, increasing your static and active flexibility. You may not have recognized your growth because, with a good training program, you’re continually being challenged. At some point, your body has to adapt to these changes, which seems to happen every 3-4 months.
Interestingly, this pattern coincides with where some people experience plateaus in strength gain or composition change.
Our bodies don’t want to get used to being challenged more, so they like to complain. This is where re-discovering your post-workout routine comes in helpful.
Here are my favorite ways to recover after a long bike ride or time at the pole studio:
- Go for a walk. This might sound crazy after you’ve just worked out, but my body really enjoys the chance to relax into itself while getting some good upright time.
- Self-myofascial release. (SMR) Foam rolling is included in the SMR category, but isn’t the only item. SMR also includes tiger tails, theracanes, and trigger point/pinkie/lacrosse/tennis/golf balls. After I’m done with an hour or so of pole aerials, the golf ball and the theracane are my two best friends. Honestly, my feet always love the golf ball.
- Stretch. Unless in flexibility class, I find myself favoring active over static stretching. I’ll run myself through gentle range of motion exercises to help re-stabilize my trunk and lightly mobilize my limbs.
- Nourish myself. I always rehydrate and eat something, even when on the go. It may be something small, like a hardboiled egg and a banana, a piece of cheese and fruit, or it may be a full-on meal. No matter what time of day. Because energy maintenance is my goal, I listen to my internal hunger and satiety meters.
What are strategies that help your body recover quickly?