A military-style boot camp, or other outdoor fitness programme, is an excellent way to push your body to the limit and establish healthy habits that serve as a foundation for a lifetime of fitness. Many people do not understand that what they do after the workout is almost as important as what they do on the obstacle course. If your body does not properly recover, it will be impossible to push it again, on the next day, without suffering serious backlash, most likely a musculoskeletal (MSK) injury.
To maximise your boot camp (and general fitness) experience, be sure to incorporate these activities into your daily routine. The recovery process begins while you are still exercising, so sometimes the activities overlap.
Tip 01: Pre-Workout Protein
Light snacks, such as a little peanut butter on wheat toast or a handful of nuts, jump start the muscle synthesis process. As a result, the other workout recovery steps work even better.
Tip 02: Wear Compression Garments
The gentle, yet even, pressure can help muscles recover faster, largely because compression garments control swelling and inflammation. According to one study, these garments also improve heart rate, respiration, and other bodily functions.
Tip 03: Listen to Music
Music works great immediately after a workout, as well as during it.
- First of all, it distracts the brain from muscle soreness, so the pain does not seem as intense. There’s also some truth to the old saying that “music calms the savage beast.”
- Some tunes do slow down the heart rate and can help lower blood pressure.
Tip 04: Drink Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
The king of flavoured dairy drinks has lots of protein to help muscles recover and carbohydrates to expedite the recovery process. Also, according to one source, chocolate milk has some cognitive benefits for people with mild brain injuries.
Tip 05: Take an Ice Bath
One sportswriter who tried this unorthodox method after a date at an NBA training camp said it felt like he was unwrapping a new pair of legs after the got out of the tub. Ice packs do reduce swelling and inflammation while acting as an analgesic pain reliever, so there may be something to the ice bath thing.
Tip 06: Experiment with Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
A portable TENS unit is a little like a high-tech massage in a very compact package. Small electrodes send even smaller electrical impulses directly to nerves and muscles, disrupting pain signals and the stress that’s associated with such discomfort. As an added bonus, TENS is also effective for people with chronic pain, like arthritis.
Tip 07: Get Plenty of Rest
A brief daytime nap, about two hours, after a workout helps the body go into REM sleep mode faster once the lights go out for the night. Most of the body’s natural muscle recovery occurs during this period of deep, restorative sleep. In between, rest your muscles as much as possible even if they do not feel sore – especially after the first couple of intense workouts.
Tip 08: Decrease Alcohol Consumption
For some people, a post-shower trip to happy hour is an integral part of the boot camp experience. That is true to some extent because the social connections people form at these events are very important. But that can be accomplished just as well over a glass of water (or soft drink). According to one study, alcohol may undo much of the muscle-building progress that takes place during and after a workout.
These recovery tips should significantly enhance your fitness boot camp results.