You’ve been killing it lately when it comes to your mixed martial arts training. You run at the track, drill until your limbs are about to fall off, and of course, tear up the weights in the gym. Putting in 100% effort at the gym comes easily to you, because it’s a labor of love. You know you are doing everything possible INSIDE the gym to deliver an outstanding and incredibly tough workout to your body. But what about OUTSIDE the gym? What factors should you be considering to help you to bounce back from your tough training faster? Let’s check out five tips for recovering faster from your mixed martial arts training.
Following your workout, you should immediately give your body fast carbs and quick protein, in order to get the recovery process on track as quickly as possible. Replace glycogen – your energy stores – with some quick sugar from a sports drink. This will deliver the protein from your whey protein shake or protein bar to your muscle fibers, which at this point are quite thirsty for nutrients. Many athletes do not indulge in any nutrition for 1-2 hours after training, and they’re missing out on a great deal of available recovery aid during this time!
Protein is THE key macronutrient your body needs when recovering from tough workouts. Eating lean beef or chicken approximately 60 to 90 minutes after your training is imperative for helping your muscles to bounce back fast from tough training and avoiding overall body soreness. Carbohydrates gave you the energy you need to train. Fats give you the nutrients needed for growth. But protein is key for post-workout recovery success. Stay hydrated as well!
Your body doesn’t recover from tough MMA workouts when you’re in the gym, nor in the kitchen. Your muscles and central nervous system recover (and you grow) when you are sleeping. Therefore, enjoying 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night is imperative. Also, try to remember that “rest” involves much more than just getting to sleep on time. There is a limit to how much stress you can give both your body and your mind. Spending ten hours at the gym, forty hours at work, another 10 hours at school, along with any other demands you have – it can leave very few resources available for growth and repair. Try to use your down time as much as possible for relaxation, and don’t take on too many projects.
Ice Baths & Contrast Showers
Most athletes – particularly those involved with contact sports who give their body quite a beating – choose to give their skin a VERY cold touch to help break up the lactic acid which arrives as a result of training. The toughest of the tough will pour a bag of ice into the bathtub and soak for five minutes. Those of us with lesser fortitude will just opt for a hot shower which very quickly becomes a cold shower. Athletes of all levels in most sports use temperature regulation to help speed up recovery, and it’s a practice you should be using as well!
Athletes in all arenas enjoy the added benefits of massage. A quick 15 to 30 minute massage, 2 to 4 times each week, can help your body in many ways. First off, you’ll be breaking up lactic acid which builds up when you’re training hard. You’ll also be preventing injuries, breaking up toxin buildups, alleviating pain and knocking out those small tweaks and bends before they can become serious injuries. If it is in your budget, try a sports massage once – you may discover it is the missing recovery factor your body has been craving all along!
Many athletes will never truly fulfill their potential in MMA greatness because workouts #2,3,4 of the week lack the intensity they enjoyed during that first workout of the week. Don’t fall into that trap. If you are able to recover adequately, then you will be able to train at full capacity faster, thus leader to new results. It’s a delicate balance of destroying and rebuilding your body, but if you master it, you will be one step closer to truly fulfilling your MMA success potential. Good luck!