By Bryanna Fissori
Don’t be deceived! Just because you are not getting punched in the face does not mean that you don’t need proper recovery for your body after a fitness boxing class. It takes work to make sure you stay healthy and uninjured in the ring or on the mat. Here are BoxingInsider.com’s suggestions for post-workout recovery:
The human body is made up of about 60 percent water. There is a good chance that after class a large percentage of yours is on the floor, towel or soaking your clothes. It is crucial to replenish that fluid. Plain water is always acceptable and numerous studies have shown a clear correlation between high water consumption and weight loss. There are a lot of sports drinks available as well to replace electrolytes, but water is generally sufficient as long as you are eating healthy as well.
Eating the right foods is not only important for body composition and weight loss; it can also help to minimize injuries and recovery time. The body needs adequate amounts of protein, carbs and fats to function at peak performance. Proteins such as amino acids are the building blocks for the cells and they are responsible for repairing damaged tissue. Without these, the body won’t recover and develop. Your diet is heavily dependent upon your goals. Of course, a diet primarily consisting of fast food and cake is not going to leave you in the same physical condition and chicken, broccoli and Greek yogurt. You have to find the balance that is right for you.
If you leave a rubber band outside where is cold and you try to stretch it, it is likely to break rather than stretch. The same goes for stretching. Jumping into heavy stretching without warming up is not near as likely to promote flexibility and recovery as stretching after a workout. Anytime is essentially a good time to stretch but don’t overdo it if your body has not warmed up.
There are a number of natural supplements that can aid in muscle recovery and inflammation reduction. CBD a non-psychogenic cannabinoid that reduces inflammation and serves as a powerful antioxidant. Many boxers and other athletes are using CBD oil as a natural replacement for non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). The World Health Organization has reported that CBD is safe for humans and animals, non-addictive and has no side-effects. Receptra Naturals has both sublingual and topical CBD products commonly used by athletes.
Getting the blood pumping before jumping into an intense training session is always a good idea in any sport. Many boxing classes will start out with jumping rope or shadow boxing. These are great ways to get your body ready to go and minimize injuries. These practices can also be added on at the end of a fitness boxing training session to steadily reduce heart rate and adrenaline.
If you haven’t experienced the painful yet healing effects of a solid chunk of cylindrical foam, you are missing out. The technical term for “foam rolling” is self- myofascial release. It is the act of placing pressure on “trigger points” or “knots” to release tension and promote healing. Releasing trigger points helps to reestablish proper movement patterns, blood flow and ultimately enhance performance and reduce pain. Foam rollers are available most anywhere sporting goods are sold, and many gyms have them at the facility.
Foam rolling and stretching in great for daily post-workout recovery and general well being, but you can’t do it all yourself. Getting a massage is not always for pampering. A good massage therapist will be able to release and relax muscles that foam rolling cannot. Massage can help with the break down of adhesions and scar tissue that can form in the muscle post training. This is especially important in areas such as the shoulder and back that are used a lot in boxing, but hard to work on without assistance.
Bodywork is not limited to massage. Chiropractic and Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.) also fit into this category. After numerous hours of ducking, weaving and punching during fitness boxing an adjustment is a good idea to keep everything where it is supposed to be through a chiropractic adjustment. A.R.T. is a form of massage that uses the movement of the patient to create tension on scar tissue and treats specific muscles, which target the exact area of the scar within each tissue.
Yes, it kind of sucks because it is really cold, but cold therapy does reduce inflammation to the joints and muscles. The response ice creates in the body is vascular constriction, which causes the blood vessels to narrow, allowing oxygenated blood to the area of the body being treated. This noticeably improves recovery and can be done through local application, full body in an ice bath or in a cryo chamber. On a side note according to Tim Ferris’s book “The 24-Hour Body,” cold burns calories.
Getting an appropriate amount of sleep is important for a number of areas in life, but athletic performance is one of them. If your central nervous system is not allowed time to recover you may see a marked difference in your muscle reaction time and response to pain. You may find yourself slower, less coordinated and weaker during your next boxing session if you are not getting the proper amount of shuteye. Sleep is also an important factor in stress reduction.
If you are having trouble turning your brain off at night, one natural sleep aid is melatonin. It can be taken in pill form or boost your own production by eating foods rich in foods rich in niacinamide, vitamin B-6, calcium and magnesium. Drinking a glass of warm milk before bed is an old home remedy for sleep. This is due to the increase in melatonin it causes.
Taking a day to let your body fully recover is harder to do than you think if you really enjoy what you are doing. Don’t worry, the fitness boxing gym will be there tomorrow. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to how many or what kinds of recovery days are necessary. Some coaches may promote an “active recovery” day, which means maybe going for a jog or easy swim instead of going to class. Others will say complete rest is necessary. Factors such as age and fitness level play a part in finding the right balance. At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is listen to your body.