Active Recovery: The Fitness Hack You Need

Have you ever heard the phrase “active recovery”? It’s kind of a loaded sentence huh? Almost counterintuitive if you don’t break it down. In all honesty it’s probably one of the most powerful and important tools we have. Here’s how you can use it… 

First of all, what is it? Well in simplistic terms active recovery is just continuing to move even while your body recovers from a challenging workout and/or is sore. 

Perfect example of this; last Monday we did some Tabata work, and it just so happened that in one of the Tabatas I ended up doing 80 front squats in just 6 minutes with minimal recovery. Well, come to find out, that was a sure fire way to absolutely blow up my quads and make getting out of bed Tuesday morning a struggle! 

But I had to make a choice, was I going to lay around in agony all day? Was I going to miss out on an awesome lift on Tuesday, and furthermore on Wednesday as well when I was still pretty sore? Absolutely not! 

Enter “Active Recovery”…

So first off, I made sure to sign up for class, as I normally would. And despite some groans, as soon as we started warming up I immediately started to feel better. My muscles loosened up, I got the juices going and my energy came right back up. Dare I say the air squats in our warm up even felt… *gasp* good!? The reason? Not magic, just blood flow. Blood flow is one of the number one ways to promote recovery, aside from moving, there’s also the massage gun, sauna, alternative heat therapies and stretching to promote this. 

I felt good enough to workout, and I wanted to workout, but guess what was in Tuesday’s workout? Ya, you got it, more squats. Now taking into account my experience from Monday, I opted to focus on what’s called deloading my squat. 

Enter “deloading”, a powerful tool that goes hand in hand with active recovery. Deloading is exactly as it sounds, I took what I would normally do for weight and reps, and I did less. If we did 80 Front squats Monday and I used 55 pounds with minimal rest, on Tuesday I opted for about 45 Goblet Squats at 20 pounds with plenty of rest between sets. My body was okay with that, and I even felt better on Wednesday morning, getting out of bed wasn’t as much of a struggle. Yippee! 

On Wednesday I felt better, but we still had weighted box step ups and, yup squats again! So I met myself in the middle, I wasn’t as sore so I went a little heavier, a little higher on the reps, but still scaled back from my heaviest weights and still took plenty of rest between sets. By Thursday I was pumped back up and ready for… yup more squats! (If you’re reading this and you don’t know, we squat a lot in here, but don’t worry it’s not the only thing we do.)

So the message is simple. We are going to work hard, we are going to be sore. The key is in how we handle it. But overall, don’t stop moving, consult your coach, figure out how deloading and active recovery can work for you. And if you don’t have a coach, let’s fix that by clicking the link below!