After a month of travel and work commitments, I’ve just started to get back to proper daily training. As is the case after any break, my whole body is extra sore. This means that recovery after training is essential to be able to train properly again the next day.
Each person has their own recovery techniques. I think it’s worth trying different things to see what works best for you. But this is what I do.
1. Ice any injuries straight after training: Icing is a common recommendation for injuries where there’s inflammation. It works, but can be easy to neglect when you’re tired after training. I have some issues with my big toe joint and have realised that if I don’t ice it for at least 20 minutes after training it’s a lot sorer the next day. If I have bruises or bumps on my shins, I ice them too.
2. Infrared sauna for sports recovery: On the other side of the coin, I also use infrared saunas whenever possible to help ease sore muscles and rid them of toxin build up. Individual sessions can be expensive, but you can often buy packs of sessions at a discount. The infrared rays gently heat your body to increase your core temperature, which makes the process a lot more comfortable than traditional steam saunas.
3. Warm up properly: Warming up properly before training is fundamental to make sure your muscles and joints are ready for impact. This is no surprise. It’s particularly important in winter when the air is cold. At the moment, I’ve been doing 10 minutes of skipping, dynamic stretching and then at least two or three rounds of shadow work before I hit anything.
4. Use a foam roller: Since regular sports massages can get very expensive, I use a foam roller to roll out my legs and back. They are also great to lie on with the roller running down your spine and your arms stretched out to the sides. This really opens up your chest muscles, which can get tight from punching, pushups and maintaining your fight stance.
5. Eat well, especially after training to refuel: This one is pretty obvious, but key. I’ve written about my diet before. Eating nutrient-dense foods is so important. I also include some starchy carbohydrates, usually rice, in my meals after training.
6. Sleep well in a dark room: I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night. Keeping the room as dark as possible by removing all light sources helps to ensure a deeper sleep.