When it comes to getting in better shape or taking your athletic performance to the next level, it’s not solely how hard you train that’s going to determine your success or set you apart from the competition. Sure, you have to spend plenty of time and spill plenty of sweat inside the gym, but what you do outside the gym is just as important.
At SWEAT IT OUT® COOL COMPRESSION®, we’ve been making superior quality compression tops, tights and shorts for athletes of all ages and levels of competition for more than three decades. Take it from us: To reach all your other athletic goals in 2020, you need to add “Better Recovery” to your list of New Year’s resolutions.
Make these four things a top priority this year, and you’ll be well on your way to your best year yet!
Some people consider a lack of sleep to be a badge of honor, as if burning the candle at both ends means you’re more energetic, more productive and you lead a more exciting life than someone who hits the pillow at 9 p.m. The fact is, your body needs at least seven hours of sleep to function at a high level and to repair itself from the previous day’s activity. Studies have shown that sleep both improves athletic performance and helps prevent injury. Sleep also helps to balance hormones and boost the immune system.
Set a sleep schedule for yourself and keep to it. Maintain a consistent bedtime. Instead of staying up to scroll through social media or watch TV, make an investment in your health. After a few weeks, you’ll be sure to notice a big difference in your energy level and ability to perform.
When it comes to water’s role in physical performance, we simply can’t overstate its importance. Did you know that even mild dehydration can make you lose focus and energy, drag down your mood, hinder your reaction time and muscle efficiency? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine advise that men drink at least a gallon of water a day and women drink about ¾ of a gallon, but if you’re training hard, you should strive to surpass those recommendations. Carry around a refillable water bottle wherever you go, whether you’re working out or not, and take advantage of the gym water fountain or office water cooler. Track your water intake with a fitness tracker or app on your cell phone to make sure you’re meeting your daily requirement.
It’s a common misconception that athletes who train hard can eat “whatever they want” simply because they burn a lot of calories working out or playing their sport. While food is absolutely essential for fueling the body, and athletes need a lot of it to perform their best, the quality of that food is as important as the quantity.
Consuming lean protein, whole carbohydrates and healthy fat by eating “real” foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, whole grains, fruits and nuts, will keep blood sugar levels balanced and enable the body to run at maximum efficiency. By contrast, eating processed foods high in simple or refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour) will lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes, which saps your energy instead of boosting it.
basic rule of thumb in nutrition is, if a food product has a long list of ingredients, it’s probably short on the nutrients you need to perform as an athlete. Whole foods with single ingredients that don’t come in a box or bag are a much better way to fuel your body.
4. Compression Gear
Wearing compression gear during and after training helps to boost recovery in these key ways:
- It increases blood flow between your muscles and your body’s major organs (heart, lungs, liver), a process that delivers the oxygenated blood your muscles need to function, while disposing of lactic acid before it can build up and cause soreness.
- It stabilizes muscles and decreases muscle vibration during activity, which helps to decrease fatigue.
A body that isn’t sore or fatigued between training sessions will be fresh and ready for the next challenge — after a good night’s sleep, nutritious meals and plenty of water, of course. The SWEAT IT OUT® COOL COMPRESSION® brand offers a full catalog of the best compression gear money can buy, and we encourage you to browse through our selection of compression tops, compression tights and compression shorts for running today. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about a product or need help placing an order!