Category: Exercise

Keys to Maximizing Exercise Recovery

sleep castor oil and shower

Many people include exercising more and joining a gym or fitness center in their New Years resolutions. However, after that first workout or two, the soreness kicks in and can make working through the soreness difficult. Here are some tips that help to alleviate muscle soreness, decrease inflammation, and keep you on the track to health.

sleep castor oil and shower
  • Contrast Showers
    • Many athletes swear by ice baths after a tough workout. There are increasing studies showing that muscles recover faster and performance increases when contrast baths are used. Contrast showers are easy to do at home. You run a hot shower and stand in it for about 5 minutes. Turn the water to cold and stay under it for 30 seconds. Repeat this 3 times. A study of rugby players showed that athletes performed better and reported being less sore the day after contrast baths versus 5-minute ice baths.
  • Castor oil
    • Topical castor oil is amazingly anti-inflammatory and can be used for everything from detoxification, to hormone balancing, to aching joints and muscles. Just be careful, it stains!
  • Herbal formulations
    • Some useful herbs are passionflower, Siberian ginseng, crampbark, and cordyceps. Call us to make an appointment for a personalized formulation!
  • Proper Nutrition: Protein, BCAAs
    • Don’t forget to give your muscles the building blocks to repair and grow. A good protein powder and BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) are integral to fast recovery and muscle repair. Feeding your body is one of the most important things to do in helping to build muscle and alleviate soreness.  Other amino acids that aid in increased blood flow, increased growth hormone secretion, and muscle building are: choline, glutamine, and arginine.
  • Mitochondrial Support
    • The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. Carnitine and acetyl L-carnitine have been shown to decrease inflammation and carnitine is one of the key components in energy synthesis of cells, including muscle cells. B-vitamins are also imperative to make those powerhouses run. Magnesium is also key to mitochondria as well as muscle soreness.
  • Hormone Optimization
    • Make sure your testosterone and DHEA levels are optimal so you can grow your muscles and recover faster. Low estrogen can cause muscle achiness and joint pain.  Also making sure your thyroid and adrenals are in tip top shape will also help to recover and get the most from your workout.
  • SLEEP!
    • Sleeping at least 8 hours a night will not only help you wake rested and energetic for another gym session, but also helps to increase growth hormone. Growth hormone is secreted at night during deep, restful sleep and while doing fasted strenuous exercise.

Before starting any regimen, its best to talk with your doctor and discuss other options for faster recovery and a healthier you! I’d love to help you recover faster from work outs and keep your nervous and endocrine system healthy while you gain strength, endurance, and health! Make an appointment at 208-338-0405.

Get Rid of Belly Fat with HIIT

Nicole Maxwell, NMD

No time to work out but want to work on cardiovascular health and weight loss?  Then high intensity interval training is for you!  High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, has been shown to help people improve their cardiovascular health and lose weight. 

What is HIIT?  

HIIT is when you alternate an intense phase of exercise followed by a period of recovery and repeat several times, often for a total of 10 minutes.  The great thing about HIIT is you get to experience the extra benefits of intense exercise without creating a negative or unpleasant experience that can happen with longer, sustained rate exercise.

What does it do?

  • Most of the research is based on cardio types of HIIT (running, walking, cycling) but it can be adapted to almost any form and combination.  Among people with heart disease, HIIT improves cardiorespiratory fitness nearly twice as much as longer stretches of moderate intensity running, cycling or other aerobic exercises.
  • It also has a greater impact on fat loss (especially abdominal) then steady state cardio at much less of a time commitment!
  • Improves insulin sensitivity especially in people at risk for developing diabetes mellitus

How does it work?

HIIT switches on genes that increase mitochondrial growth (the power generators of our cells) and other beneficial biological changes. Even these short bouts of training can switch on those genes, making it an efficient workout.  

The nitty gritty

  • The key to HIIT is pushing your heart rate up above 80% of its maximum.  To find your maximal heart rate subtract your age from 220.  (MHR = 220 – age)
  • a longer recovery period is often needed. Perhaps start with one HIIT training workout a week, with your other workouts being steady state workouts.

Some examples

  • Add a 2-minute warm up and 3-minute cool down
  • Examples of HIIT activities to repeat for 10 minutes:
    • 30 second sprint alternating with 1-2min walking/slow jogging
    • 10-20 seconds all out cycling alternating with 2 minutes easy cycling
    • Climb stairs for 30 seconds during your lunch break then walk for 1-2 minutes

If you’re looking to lose weight, improve your cardiac function and blood sugar control then consider HIIT, it may be just the ticket, especially if you have limited time.