Can you imagine a motocross racer who doesn’t know how to repair his bike or optimize it for speed? What about a professional skier who’s never turned her own skis? It’s laughable, right? If you’re a fighter, you know your body is both your instrument and biggest asset. You know how to make yourself stronger and faster, and you’re aware of weaknesses your opponents may try to exploit, but do you know how to properly recover? Too many athletes focus on all the work outside of recovery — that’s an amateur move. Here are four tips to help you recover and prepare for the next bout.
1. Keep Recovery Tools in Your Bag
After every workout or fight, you need some immediate go-to tools, so keep them in your bag at all times. Different people prefer different methods, but things like foam rollers and CBD gummies will help speed up your recovery. A massage ball can work wonders, and they’re small enough that you could throw one in a carry-on bag or even a larger purse. As a fighter, you’ll want some tape on-hand as a quick response for smaller injuries. If you can, get a small cooler and bring ice to help with post-session recovery.
Make sure you’re always stocked on these things, because once you’re used to taking good care of yourself, you’ll regret not having these resources on hand.
2. Drink Water
Water is the undefeated champion of personal care — perhaps it’s only competitor is sleep, but more on that later. Of all the concoctions out there, nothing is as good for you as just plain old water. Too many people struggle to say hydrated, and one of the easiest ways to remedy this is to get a water bottle you love. If you need to spend $60 on a bottle you’ll be excited to use, go for it. You couldn’t spend a better $60 on yourself than making sure you stay hydrated.
Remember to drink water before, during and after workouts or bouts. Put simply, you cannot be in optimal shape without staying properly hydrated. If you’re not a passionate water-drinker, you’ll definitely notice a difference once you’re in the habit.
Study after study shows that one of the most important tools all humans have is sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body isn’t in as good of shape as it could be. Getting enough sleep helps your tissues recover and helps regulate hormones. Don’t think that being properly rested and not feeling tired are the same thing — getting five hours of sleep and pounding an energy drink to feel alert will never compete with getting 7-9 hours of sleep.
If you make any change to your routine, make sure it’s getting enough sleep. If you’re like most of your friends, you’re probably not doing anything noteworthy the last hour or two you’re awake anyway, so skip the TV shows and help your body feel amazing. Remember: since your body is your biggest asset, not getting enough sleep is like a race car driver never changing their vehicle’s oil.
4. Eat Your Veggies
Much like sleep, if you’re not getting enough vegetables, you are missing out on your body’s full potential, and it really is as simple as that. If you struggle to get enough vegetables, follow this simple rule as often as possible — start every meal by filling half of your plate with vegetables. Don’t focus on protein — it’s practically guaranteed that if you’re a fighter, you know about getting protein. Instead of planning your meals around your protein, plan around the half plate of veggies, and then fill in with protein from there.
If you follow these recommendations, you’re going to help your body recover quicker and more fully. Do everything you can to take care of your body. Too many people think recovery involves all kinds of weird tricks, when really, a few simple tools and basic self-care will go further than just about anything else.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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