Well, Joyride Across America (JAAM) is over and congratulations to the hardy, spirited teams who made the trek! No doubt, all that cycling has made you incredibly fit yet fatigued, sore-muscled versions of your former selves. Now it’s time to move on to the BEST part of the journey: Recovery!
Why recover? Exercising creates tiny rips in our muscles. Our bodies require time and rest to repair these rips and create stronger muscles.
I find the most effective recovery is a massage and a pina colada on a warm, secluded beach (CUT TO: screaming children, snowstorm, weeping husband cradling paycheck.) Sadly, this isn’t always possible.
Unless you’re married to a hip-hop star and your child’s name is a noun, you may require alternative methods of recovery. Below is a list of the cheapest and most effective ways to repair and prepare your body for the next workout.
1. Stretch: Even a light stretch increases blood flow to stressed areas, aiding in rip repair. Plus, you’re less likely to stress a tendon or create a larger, unwanted tear in your muscle during your workout. Tip: In mixed company, “Happy Baby” invites unwanted attention.
2. Eat: Not as much fun as it sounds. Within an hour after a workout, snack on lean, high-quality protein with complex carbs to promote muscle tone and store energy for tomorrow’s workout. Think “chicken with brown rice,” not “cup of coffee and half a jar of Nutella.”
3. Hot/Cold Water: For sore muscles, experts suggest alternatively blasting hot and cold running water onto the area(s) for 1 minute intervals. For those of you whose showers, like mine, take 7 minutes to change temperature, I suggest the following: Fill your bath with cold water, fill your child’s bath with hot water. Place a trail of towels between bathrooms. Get naked, then jump into your cold bath for a minute. Jump out and run to child’s hot bath. Soak, jump out, run, repeat until muscle soreness, and any shred of dignity, is mitigated. Not recommended if spouse, kids, or other human is present.
4. Water: Drink 20-24 oz. of water for each hour of your workout. Water hydrates, improves blood flow, etc. Don’t load up on the artificial dyes and sweeteners in sports drinks unless you work out for more than 90 minutes or they’re free.
5. Foam rollers: Easily mistaken for packing material, foam rollers are great for “rolling” out tight spots, knots, and inflammatory fluids from muscles. Bonus: watching new users try to work them can be very, very funny.
Again, great job on JAAM!
And gear up for our next 4-week ride, JAE JoyRide Around the Equator! (Weekly cap: 6,225 miles).