3 articles Tag weight lifting

Tips to Help Your Post-Workout Recovery

Tips to Help Your Post-Workout RecoveryNow that the gyms are open again, millions of Brits have hit the workouts hard, in an attempt to shake off that lockdown weight gain. The fact that lockdown has ended just in time for Spring and Summer, when many of us feel the pressure to be slimmer anyway, means that people are exercising harder than ever, and that means injuries are inevitable.

When I started weight training, back in 2017, the exercise itself was fun and fulfilling, but the days of DOMS in my thighs (why is it that walking UP stairs isn’t so bad, but walking DOWN the stairs feels like torture?!) were hellish! With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for making sure you look after your body properly with your post-workout recovery:

Hit The Showers

Having a post-workout shower is important for getting yourself clean, but the water can actually help your muscles too. Alternating between blasts of hot and cold water, known as a contrast shower, can help improve recovery and alleviate muscle soreness. Even better is if you’re lucky enough to have steam showers at your gym, as using steam is like putting a warm blanket over your aching muscles!

Hydrate

Most people remember to take water with them to the gym and to drink while they’re working out, but drinking plenty during your post-workout recovery is super important too. Experts generally agree that, for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise, you should drink at least 260ml of water, followed by another 230ml no more than half an hour after you’ve stopped to keep your muscles healthy. If you can add some electrolytes to your water, that’s even better.

Stretch

Most people will strecth before they start their workut to help avoid injury, but they don’t always stretch again at the end, which is a common mistake. When you stretch your muscles after a workout, you’re helping to give your body a jump-start on recovery, while also releasing stress and tension, and boosting the flexibility of your joints.

Protein

Whether you’re following a strict diet or not, one of the most important ways to help your body to recover from exercise is to make sure you have plenty of protein. This can come in the form of a protein shake, eggs, steak or even seitan for the vegans – as long as it’s protein-rich, it’s what you need to help your muscles to rebuild and really benefit from all the exercise you’re doing.

Rest…But Still Move!

I know how tempting it is to take the “rest” part of “rest day” a little too literally. You’ve worked out hard all week and come your rest day, you want to remain as sedentary as possible. Believe it or not, failing to do ANYTHING on a rest day can actually do more harm than good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting a full-on HIIT routine or anything – a gentle walk, some yoga or even just playing Mario and Sonic at the Olympics on your games console – a bit of movement will prevent your muscles from seizing up, which will make it easier to go back to full activity on your workout days.

Working On My Self-Esteem

A post shared by Mum’s the Word (@mumstheword84) on

Something that I’ve always struggled with is self-esteem. I don’t come from a particularly “build you up” kind of family (when I got my first pair of glasses, aged 11, my family decided to tell me I looked like Dennis Waterman and called me that for many years, knowing how much I hated it). One of my worst character traits is my ability to be self-deprecating, and as much as I find it hilarious to make mean jokes about myself, my kids are starting to notice and it’s probably not the best thing for them to hear.

Just last week, Husband said to me “you look nice”, and I replied “don’t be ridiculous!”. I should have just said “thanks love”, but I didn’t and as much as he didn’t say anything I could tell he was disappointed with my reaction. I know I need to work on my self esteem, but the sad fact is, I don’t know where to start.

I’ve heard a lot of women say that a good place to start when trying to make yourself feel good is with your underwear, so I was thinking of investing in a whole new load of undies, like this. I’m not much of a ‘frilly knickers’ kinda girl, so something simple yet pretty would be perfect for me.

Another thing I know I need to do is get back to the gym; when I started weightlifting last year, I felt like I’d finally found an exercise that I loved…and I was good at it, too. But a few things happened to knock me off the rails and I managed to completely give up on what I was doing, watching all the gains I’d made slip away. It was a a double blow because my self-esteem was already struggling and having to admit I’d failed at something AND watch all my hard work go down the drain had a bad effect on my mental state.

We had some friends over last night for the football and they asked me if I was still exercising, and while I was telling them (or more accurately, reeling off the list of excuses that I’ve cultivated about why I quit), I realised that I missed exercising and taking control of myself. I missed being productive and showing my girls that we should look after ourselves. And most of all, I missed that daily sense of achievement I got when I got my butt to the gym, ate within my macros and lifted a little bit more weight than last time.

So, for the sake of my girls, I’m going to try to get back to it.

I’m re-taking control.

Sit Down, Love. Have a Cup of Tea…

I’m a live and let live kind of person, you know? I don’t hate anyone because of what they are or what they do, if it’s legal/consensual/doesn’t hurt anybody else. But there have been a string of articles in the papers recently which are seriously making me resent the women they’re written about. Meet Crystal Green and Lea-Ann Ellison:

cuppa

 

Crystal is a martial arts champion who has continued her training right the way through her pregnancy and Lea-Ann has stirred up a whole shit-storm of controversy after posting pictures of herself doing weight-lifting whilst heavily up the duff.

Now, I’m from the Charlotte York school of pregnancy – her doctor tells her that running is fine for her to do because it’s something that she’s always done, so I’m sure that both of these women are fine to continue the levels of activity that they were doing before they fell pregnant (although, the weight-lifting one scares me a bit, I’m sure you’re supposed to be careful lifting heavy things whilst pregnant…?). But, as the title of this post suggests, I do feel like taking both of them to one side and saying “Come on, pet, why don’t you sit in a comfy chair and watch some telly?”.

Having a healthy pregnancy is vital and while part of me admires these women for their get-up-and-go during their gestation, I also can’t help but feel that they should be taking it easy, even if it’s just a little bit. I’m sure they’d look at my sedentary ass and hyperventilate at the thought of sitting on their butts for 9 months, but surely there’s some sort of middle ground.

There’s no way I could do either kick-boxing or weight lifting at the moment. Do you know why?

BECAUSE I’D WEE MYSELF.

That’s right, people. The combination of having had one c-section and being pregnant again means that the only safe place for me to sneeze or blow my nose at the moment is sitting on the loo, for fear of letting an involuntary stream of urine escape when my stomach muscles are engaged in such a way, so squatting down and attempting to heft a barbell around would undoubtedly end in some sort of dirty protest from my pelvic floor.

And, aside from the wee, do you know what happens when I so much as dare to separate my knees at the moment? A loud *CRACK* emanates from my pubic bone and I tend to spend a minute, holding the front of my fanny, trying to recover from the pain.

It’s not so much that I think these women are making me look bad, it’s more of a culmination of the “womens sanitary product advert effect” (catchy name, huh?). Anyone aware of TV in the 80’s and 90’s will know that women were besieged by images of other women, who through the use of subtext and blue water in a test-tube were hinted at being on the blob, yet they rollerskated with herds of Dalmatians, went running, partook of a spot of yachting and engaged in a whole load of other activities to demonstrate how UN-BOTHERED they were by their periods.

Which is great. If that’s what you want to do, then go for it. However, most women I know choose to wear jogging bottoms with a hot-water bottle in the waistband, eat chocolate and carb-based snacks and watch shit TV. WHICH IS ALSO FINE.

All I’m saying is, whilst being active is great, pregnancy is also a time to be gentle with yourself, be happy with the changes in your body and, if the mood takes you, have naps in the afternoon. Women are awesome and we can do awesome things, but sometimes, admitting that you need a rest is just as awesome as swinging a kettle-bell around. Don’t let the standards of others make you feel bad about your own choices.

There endeth the sermon…but mostly because it’s nap time.