Pro Athlete and Personal Trainer Montana Farrah-Seaton reveals what works for her body post-workout, from her favourite protein to braving ice baths and the percussion therapy tool she swears by.
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But when it comes to recovery and refuelling our body, we’re always hearing about the latest gadget or latest technology that is guaranteed to speed up and improve your recovery time.
But how do we actually know what works and what is just placebo? With so many new recovery concepts hitting the market it can be hard to navigate what the right method is for you.
There can be some trial and error and finding what best works for you and what provides you with the most convenience on a day-to-day basis.
But really, when it comes down to it, the basics like nutrition, hydration and sleep are the core essentials to help restore your body back to base level state. These core essentials are crucial to repair muscles and keep the body functioning at its optimal levels.
The definition of recovery is ‘a return to a normal state of health, mind or strength.’ Individually what we find that works best for our body can be subjective depending on the various lengths and types of stresses we put our body through.
So what are my favourite and most trusted ways to recover?
Credit: Montana Farrah-Seaton
We all know that hydration is such a crucial part of living a balanced lifestyle, as it makes up such a big percentage of our body and helps support it to perform everyday functions.
It’s suggested to drink between 6-8 cups of water per day, or around 2 litres. However, each day certain lifestyle factors can vary our body’s hydration levels, including the weather, energy expenditure and energy consumption.
So, it’s important to stay consistent with the amount of water you’re consuming throughout the day and not just skulling bulk amounts of water at one time as our bodies are only able to handle around 500ml of water per hour, with the rest just being excreted.
What we eat daily is imperative to keep the body functioning optimally; so how exactly can we make sure we’re benefiting from our post-workout meal?
You want to fuel your body with the means to restore and repair the muscles that have just been used, this is where protein comes into play.
When we exercise, in particular resistance train, we are causing micro tears within our muscles so the body can repair and adapt. But in order for it to be able to do this we need to make sure we’re consuming some form of protein within a couple hours post-workout to optimise “quicker recovery, reduce muscle soreness, improve immune system functioning and replenish glycogen” stores – which are all essential building blocks to maintain muscle mass.
My favourite and most convenient way to get my protein in when I’m on the go is usually through a protein shake – mis it with water and I’m all set.
My go to protein powder? is Welleco Nourishing Protein Chocolate – delicious.
For me growing up as an athlete and playing sport competitively at a high level I’m not new to the concept of an ice bath – and I love them!
Dr. A Brion Gardner, an orthopaedic surgeon, explains that the “cold water stimulates both our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, stress response and recovery processes, all of which contribute to a natural high and boost in mood and attitude.”
When our body is exposed to cold therapy it increases the stimulation of our Vagus Nerve and while our body is adjusting to the temperature, sympathetic activity (fight or flight) decreases and parasympathetic activity (rest and digest) increases. Cortisol levels and inflammation in the body also decrease.
Stretching and practicing yoga consistently for me reaps huge rewards as it improves my range of motion and flexibility whilst training but also reduces muscle tension and soreness so my body is always ready to go!
I run frequently, and often get tight hips, but since regularly spending time on the mat I’ve noticed the change in how free my body feels and how better my running stride is.
One of my favourite ways to wind down is a full body massage to help release lactic acid and muscle tension, however, I don’t always get the time to treat my body to one.
Recently I was given the opportunity to trial the Theragun Pro by Therabody - it’s like a masseuse in your hand at home!
The convenience and the benefits are amazing.
The benefits include:
+ Improved blood and lymphatic flow
+ Reduced muscle stiffness
+ Reduced lactic acid levels within the muscles
+ Reduced muscle fatigue, pain and tightness (5)
Credit: Montana Farrah-Seaton
In saying all of this, and the importance of proper recovery, I love a glass of red and some chocolate just as much as the next person. Give me a great Netflix episode and that’s a damn good Saturday night recovery if you ask me.