You might have been sparring. You might have been in the gym. Regardless, you’ve gone through some serious physical punishment, and you need to recover properly if your body is going to learn the right lessons.
Check out our guide to the best recovery techniques after intense training.
1. Dry Needling
Dry needling is a technique that uses needles without an injection agent. The “agent” is the part that would transfer into your body during a regular injection. It’s “dry” because rather than putting anything in your body, it’s just pinpricking in all the right places.
Muscles tense up after exercise. They can distort and become uncomfortable without treatment. Dry needling is an intuitive technique that significantly reduces muscular discomfort in athletes and has been booming in popularity recently.
It targets tense parts of the musculoskeletal system and triggers them in a way that allows them to relax, easing pain and facilitating muscle growth. It’s one of the best recovery and growth techniques out there.
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Since the dawn of civilization, concerned relatives, friends, and trainers have encouraged athletes to drink more water. When you’ve been through an intense exercise experience, sometimes it feels like you can’t put anything into your body. We understand. Still, this is a problem we’ve experienced for millennia, and it’s been the bane of many great athletes’ ability to recover quickly.
You recover so much more easily if you’re well-hydrated. Fluids are vital for every part of our wellbeing—your muscles won’t grow if you’re dehydrated, your body won’t become more supple. You might lose weight in the short term, but it’ll significantly harm your performance. Stay hydrated.
Massage treatments range from gentle therapy to full-on yogic realignments. The latter tend to be highly effective but are often quite intense—not always what you want after a sparring session. Who wants to get beaten up repeatedly by a sparring partner and get beaten up far worse by a “therapeutic professional” who seems to have exquisite knowledge of every pain point in your body?
Well—sometimes that’s exactly what you want.
Choose a massage treatment that makes you feel good after the massage. During the massage, you should be healing through hard means or soft. It doesn’t matter how you get there—just make sure that afterward, you feel like your body is in a better condition than before—no use in tickling.
A healthy, balanced diet is always a great way to boost recovery. Protein shakes and supplements can do so much. Still, you can’t beat the overall nutrition your body gains through eating natural foods that are full of vitamins, fatty acids like Omega-3, and other helpful, organic components.
Each to their own—Olympians set records after dieting on chicken nuggets. Some people work better on restricted diets. Just make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need to boost your recovery times.
5. Staying Active
Days off exercising shouldn’t be days spent entirely in bed. It can be tempting, but on recovery days, try simple activities like:
- Going for a walk
- Having a gentle swim (swimming is great for full-body recovery)
Keeping active when you’re not going 100% intense training is essential. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, it’s healthier than putting your body through extremes of high activity and inactivity.
New Techniques and Old Wisdom
We’re constantly discovering how to take care of our bodies better. Equally, there are tried and tested methods for recovery that athletes have used for centuries.
Keep an eye out for scientifically-backed developments like dry needling, but if your grandma tells you what you need to eat to recover your strength, you’d better eat it.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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