It’s an unfortunate fact of life: working out makes us sore. When we train, race, or play, we create tiny micro-tears in our muscle tissue. These tears hurt, and they produce a slight inflammatory response that starts the healing process. This is how we grow bigger, stronger, faster, etc.
But when the training/race/adventure is too intense, our bodies’ inflammatory responses can turn against us. We experience excessive soreness, muscular weakness, tight/stiff muscles and joints, and more. Without attention, these can reduce performance and cause injury.
Below, I’ve compiled five guidelines that I give to every athlete/client of mine to help reduce inflammation and speed recovery. This protocol has helped my Ironman, ultra-marathon, and obstacle course clients recover in record time.
1. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
The foods you eat have a profound impact on your ability to recover from hard training sessions, adventures, or races. Eating highly acidic foods, such as processed refined grains, poor quality grain-fed meats, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, and excess sugar (anything over 7g/serving) can actually increase inflammation and impede recovery time.
Instead of reaching for one of the aforementioned foods, choose foods that will reduce acidity in your body, reduce inflammation, and speed recovery. My “go to” anti-inflammatory foods are:
This super food has many health benefits, one being fighting inflammation. Use it to sauté vegetables, as a spread (it’s a good substitute for butter), or as a lotion.
If it’s green and it grows from the ground, it’s good for you. (Unless it’s poison, of course.)
Green vegetables a great source of vitamins and nutrients, and these nutrients help mitigate inflammation and raise our body’s pH level (making us less acidic).
The darken green a veggie is, the more nutrient-dense it is. So your best options are collards, kale, and spinach. Sauté them in a little coconut oil and you’ve got a double whammy of goodness to help you heal quickly.