DISCLAIMER: I was provided most of these products from companies in exchange for a review. As usual, all opinions and thoughts are my own. I would also like to thank these companies for donating prizes for this giveaway!
In case you missed this article that made the rounds this week, there was a whole lot of talk on the internet about the difference between rest and recovery. I’m a big believer in recovery practices and improving my recovery has been something I have been consciously working on since the beginning of the year. I like to think of recovery in several different facets: sleep, hydration, food (this will get it’s own post), supplements, and mobility.
[she has no problems in the sleep department]
I will be the first to tell you that sleep is something I don’t often get enough of. My husband works at a restaurant and since we have one car, I often pick him up from work….at 1am. I’m lucky if I get to sleep through the entire night twice in one week. Rather than just being exhausted all the time or only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep, I’ve been coming to terms with basically having “two sleeps”. I go to bed early, around 8:30-9, sleep until 12:30-1, then go back to sleep around 1:30 and wake up anywhere between 5-7:30 (5am on training days). Is it ideal? Nope. But it does allow me to get more sleep and it’s helped tremendously with my recovery. Something that has also helped – sleep mask! I picked up a cheap sleep mask from Target and it has made a big difference in my ability to fall asleep. I like to sleep in a dark, dark, dark room and unfortunately, our bedroom isn’t super dark but the sleep mask solves that problem.
My go-to hydration source is just plain H20. I drink A LOT of water each day simply by keeping my big 32oz water bottle with me at all times. Beyond that, there are a few things that I’ve been using lately to keep hydrated:
This product is so cool, literally (I really didn’t intend that to be a pun but you know, it happens). When I was emailed about trying these out, I just couldn’t resist. Power Ice bars are like the ice pops from when you were a kid, only better! So what is it? Power Ice is a hydration ice bar that contains electrolytes and serves to hydrate athletes.
Some of the things that make PowerICE frozen bars special:
- Frozen Electrolytes
- Caffeine Free
- Great Taste
- Only 30 Calories per Ice Bar
- No High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Gluten Free & Kosher
- 100% Daily Value of Vitamin C
- 8 grams natural sugar
- Ships Dry, place in freezer after receiving, best served frozen
(product information from company)
Also, having frozen hydration provides several pre, peri, and post workout benefits. For pre-workout, it’s great for getting hydrated quickly and can increase endurance. I personally love Power Ice before early morning workouts since I often do not want or have the time to chug a bunch of water before hitting the gym. They’re also great for cooling you down during your workout and also helps deliver cooling hydration for better recovery after a workout.
[I'd like to hashtag this #strongwomanproblems]
Yeah, like the kid’s stuff. I like this for competitions or any day where I’m going to be working out, hard, for a long period of time (the LBEB Seminar comes to mind). There are lots of different flavors – I like the orange one – and even an unflavored version, which, I admit, I am too afraid to try for fear that it will be digusting. I basically drink ⅓ of the container after weigh-ins for competition and sip on the rest between events. It’s a great way to get more hydration without having to chug water and feeling like you’re going to puke OR running to the bathroom every 5 seconds (which I do anyways). Seriously, it works!
[do Reese's count as supplements?]
I only take a few supplements religiously:
- Vitamin D
- Fish Oil
- Magnesium/ ZMA
My absolute favorite source for these (minus the creatine, which I get from True Nutrition) is PurePharma. I’ve blogged about PurePharma products before and I still think they are the best on the market. Big, big fan!
I’m chronically low on Vitamin D, which is critical for hormone production so taking that is a must, especially during the winter months. I like fish oil to help with inflammation and magnesium, which helps with muscle repair, is my go-to sleep aid. The PurePharma M3 will knock you out in the best possible way.
NeoCell Collagen Products
[my joints are so happy]
I’ve talked about NeoCell before and was more than happy that they reached out once again to have me try some other products. In addition to sending me their recovery protein powder (which I love), they also sent me some Collagen type 2 supplements. This product helps with joint repair, lubrication, and recovery by providing specific amino acids necessary to replenishing your body’s own collagen and -bonus- is also great for your hair, skin, and nails. I usually take fish oil at night and have been adding in the NeoCell Collagen in the morning since my knees tend to be quite cranky in the winter and squatting 3x a week after taking a month off has them feeling a little banged up. I’ve only been taking it regularly for two week or so but I have noticed that my knees, in particular, are feeling a whole lot better.
I am not as good about mobility/body care work as I should be BUT I’m trying to be better about it. My go-to tools are my foam roller and a lacrosse ball. I actually get my “lacrosse ball” from Walgreens – it’s simply a dog toy tennis ball which is much firmer than a regular tennis ball and is super cheap. I try to foam roll every day and do an extended foam rolling/lax ball session at least twice a week. I usually use bands, the Rumble Roller, and some other tools at the gym on one of my very low volume training days so that I’m forced to really work on it.
[Ouch Wrap >>>>>> ice packs]
Another critical thing for me? My OuchWrap, which you all know I love! There is a lot of debate about the benefits of icing but for me, it works really well. My OuchWrap is THE only thing I use now to ice any area that’s feeling beat up. It’s perfect for my hip, shoulders, knees, and back – even the husband has taken it a few times because he says it’s the only thing that helps his back!
SO, in an effort to help you all get on the recovery train, I’ve put together a big giveaway package that includes some of the products I’ve mentioned. One lucky reader will win:
- a package of Power Ice bars
- Your choice of either NeoCell Collagen Sport Recover Protein Powder OR Collagen supplement
- a small Wrecked Ouch Wrap (P.S. even if you don’t win, you can still get a 20% discount FOR ONE WEEK by using the code “ggf20″)
Some seriously good stuff, y’all.
CONGRATS to Barb!