How to Create Healthy and Productive Post-Ride Habits
The trick to starting, maintaining, or improving good post-ride habits is to start small, have pre-set specific tasks and timeframe, and be consistent. Don’t be put-off by obstacles along the way. If you don’t have enough time to complete your recovery routine, focus on getting as much of it done as possible, as it is always better to have done something, than have done nothing it all. And, I always enjoy a small reward once I’m done.
Before heading out for a ride or a workout session, have everything you need for your recovery routine already set up waiting for you when you get back. If your recovery routine includes a smoothie, make the smoothie before you go, or if you prefer it fresh, have all the ingredients in the mixer cup ready to blend. It can also be nice to get back home from your session and already have your yoga mat and block out ready to go. The more you prepare ahead of time before you go out, the less distracted you might be and the more success you will have when you get back.
What you do for your recovery after a ride or workout doesn’t have to be perfect. My recovery routine is always evolving and improving. Sometimes there is more focus on meditation but other times I skip the meditation and just focus on the food. Its ok to not have the perfect execution of your recovery.
The areas of focus for my recovery routine are:
Food: Getting the right balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and nutrients.
Eating a balanced diet is an important part of any training plan and can play an important role in making progress to your goals. Without the proper nutrition, your body/muscles will not recover and you will be left feeling tired for your next ride or training session.
Hydration: Water, salts, electrolytes.
Water helps flush toxins out of the body/muscles and transports nutrients into the cells, which helps with muscle soreness and tension after a ride or training session. Sometimes just drinking water isn’t enough since we sweat out chemical elements like sodium and chloride. Adding an electrolyte mix to your water can help keep your body in balance.
Muscle health: Stretching, rolling, trigger point ball and therapy gun massager.
After a workout, muscle care improves blood flow to help flush out lactic acid and toxins, while also minimizing tension. Including stretching, foam rolling, etc into your recovery routine will benefit your mobility, reducing your chance of injury.
Mental health: Breathing and mindfulness.
During competitive or high-intensity workouts the stress hormone, Cortisol, naturally increases. Meditation can help lower your cortisol levels and calm your nervous system after your activity. I usually include this as part of my stretching routine.
Sleep: 7-9 hours each night.
I love sleep, and I function very poorly If I don’t get enough. Switch the phone off, turn out the lights, get nice and cozy. Let the warmth of sleep take you under.
Cold Therapy: Ice, ice bath, or a cold river/ lake.
If I have done a particularly hard ride or workout session, and there is a cold river or lake nearby, I’m there. Cold temperature helps to reduce inflammation and pain.