Milo Bryant is a performance coach as well as an experienced journalist. He is also in his fifties and his book Unstoppable after 40 years gives you the roadmap to do more than just stay active as you “mature”. Milo trains hard and recovers even better so he can do what he wants, when he wants. Get ready to use his methods to become unstoppable. It’s not your father’s middle age.
Picture this: you’ve just left the gym floor after a solid weight training session. You feel good, but what is your first movement? Go directly to the showers? If you don’t take a few minutes to calm down, you’re selling all that hard work, especially if you’re over 40.
Guys, we lose muscle as we age. Taking care of our body with training and then adding proper recovery periods after exercise can effectively help us maintain that muscle, and even grow more. A cool down gives the body a chance to leave the thrilling state of hyper-awareness of pushing heavy weights, sprinting, jumping, pushing and pulling and back to a homeostasis that allows us to continue the rest of our day in a productive way. What’s great is that it doesn’t take a lot of time – maybe five to 10 minutes after training or physical activity, tops.
Here’s a three-step recovery process that every man over 40 should follow after a workout to ensure he still feels good afterwards and to help maximize the benefits of your workout.
How to cool off after a tough workout
First you need to do a short stretching routine. The human body makes seven primary movements: It bends, extends, turns right and left, stands on one foot then the other and it squats.
Do each of these for 10 to 15 seconds. Do one or two sets of each.
Stand upright with your arms hanging by your sides. Push your butt back and lower your torso, leaning forward at the hips and touching your toes (or lowering yourself as far down as you can). Hold for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position.
● Extend backward
Stand upright with your arms above your head. Lean back as much as possible while keeping your feet planted. Return to the starting position.
●Rotate left and right
Stand with your feet together, toes pointing forward, arms hanging by your sides. Turn your body to the left as much as possible while keeping your toes forward. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
● Balance on each foot
Stand straight with both feet together. Raise your left leg until your knee forms a 90 degree angle and your thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds, keeping your hips and shoulders straight forward. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms stretched out in front of you. Keeping your abs tight, push your butt back and bend your knees, allowing your torso to drop. Lower as much as you can. Return to the starting position.
Then, immediately after the last stretch, you should start snacking on a fruit: kiwi, apple, plum, pear or grapefruit are excellent choices. Do this because you’ve just spent time losing weight and depleting your muscles’ energy stores. The fruit helps them bounce back. Finally, within 30 minutes to an hour, consume about 30 grams of good protein.
Follow these three steps and you’ll not only be strengthening today’s workout, but you’ll be ready to tackle tomorrow’s workout too!
Best coach cues for recovery stretches
● Keep your legs as straight as possible when bending over. You don’t have to touch your toes. Go as far as possible with straight legs.
● Keep your feet flat on the floor during the rotation and during the single-leg press.
● Don’t wait! Eat the fruit immediately after you finish cooling.
Useful tip for a better cooling process
Try to eat real protein. Do not substitute a smoothie. There’s no protein smoothie that gives you better protein than beef, chicken, salmon, and eggs, or, for vegetarians and vegans, quinoa and amaranth.
Milo Bryant, CSCS, is a California-based trainer and award-winning journalist.
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