Post-Workout Recovery Rituals That Work

Your workout is only as good as your recovery. If your muscles don’t recover and adapt from each session, they can’t get any stronger. But what about the off-the-beaten-path recovery methods? Do they work?

Recovery Method #1: Drinking tart cherry juice

Packed with colorful antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, tart cherries are believed to help keep your post-workout inflammation levels in check to help your body repair tissues faster. In 1 study of marathoners, those who drank tart cherry juice the week of their race recovered their muscle strength and function faster than those who went without.  Participants begin drinking the juice 5 days before their big event or race, continuing up to 48 hours following exercise. Remember, even 100% tart cherry juice contains a hefty amount of sugar and calories, so drink up right before or after your workouts to use both for fuel.

Recovery Method #2: Calming music

Research is showing that the music we listen to has a huge impact on nervous system activity. By triggering the release of stress hormones, fast-paced, upbeat,  music tends to spur better workout performances and make exercise  easier. So it makes sense that slow, calm tunes could help us bring down our stress response and recover faster.

Recovery Method #3: Taking ice baths

Unless you’re a masochist, you probably haven’t tried this. Fortunately for all who aren’t fans of excruciating cold baths, cold-water immersion doesn’t seem to be hugely helpful in aiding recovery. The most consistent finding is a reduction in self-reported pain after sitting in an ice bath—likely a placebo effect.

Recovery Method #4: Drinking coffee

Coffee (and caffeine in particular) gives people the extra boost of energy needed to help them crush their workouts. But coffee for exercise recovery? Like tart cherries, coffee is also rich in polyphenols, which help combat excess inflammation to promote actual recovery, Rasmussen says. Meanwhile, caffeine is a known analgesic, meaning it helps lower pain perception. When exercisers took caffeine 1 hour before their workouts, they experienced less muscle soreness on the following 2 days, compared to when they performed the same workouts caffeine-free.

Why Aren’t You Losing Weight?!

Many people struggle with weight loss, and bounce back and forth from one fad diet to another. Then they’ll get conflicting advice, like “none of that high fat/low carb or low fat/high fiber stuff works! It’s all about calories in < calories out!” Or they’ll have some people swear by exercise alone, saying things like, “I work out four hours a day and I can eat whatever I want!” With all the different methods of weight loss out there, how does someone pick the right method?

The first thing you should know is that not all people are made the same, and different bodies have different needs. Duh. It’s common sense, but it doesn’t really help. The next thing to do is get advice from a doctor. While they might not be able to tell you on a molecular level what your body needs, they can certainly give you sound general advice and rule out anything that seems ridiculous. For instance, Dr. Frank Lipman of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC says that people who rely only on eating less or on exercising more aren’t doing their bodies any favors. Sure they may lose a few pounds here and there, but the body needs both changes (diet and exercise) to maintain a stable lower weight.

This is because not all calories are created equal. Sure, you could have a 200 calorie cookie instead of a (huge) side of broccoli and they would amount to the same calories, but the cookie is mostly a nutritional wasteland, whereas broccoli can provide your body with many extra benefits. Fiber, vitamins, a steady release of energy rather than a sugar high/crash – the list goes on. Dr. Lipman also contends that gut inflammation can stall weight loss. It could be related to a mild allergy to dairy, gluten, sugar, etc… but in addition to gas and bloating, it can also make it very hard to lose weight around the middle. Contact your personal doctor if you think you may be experiencing bloating that might be related to a food source.

Finally, stress is one of the leading causes of weight gain and one of the greatest inhibitors to it’s loss. Stress can cause people to be less active, to eat more, and to have more inflammation in the gut. Remember while you’re dieting to make time for yourself to relax every day in a way that doesn’t involve food – it will make you happier and stronger on the path to weight loss!

Harry Potter Yoga Is Now The Latest Magical Trend In Fitness

To those of you out there who are not Harry Potter fans, who are unable to see and appreciate the magic and wonder of the Wizarding World, I don’t understand you but I feel sorry for you. You have already lived through the record-breaking hype of the books, and then the movies, and then the theme parks. When the last one opened at Universal Studios Hollywood this year, I bet you breathed a huge sigh of relief.

That is, until you realized about the five new Fantastic Beasts movies coming out beginning this year, and understood that the world is not letting go of The Boy Who Lived or his magical realm any time soon. To offer proof of this, we present to you: Harry Potter yoga. Seriously.

Circle Brewing Co. in Austin, Texas has had themed yoga classes before; their popular Pints & Poses class combined – you guessed it – yoga and beer.

However, this Harry Potter class is blowing that one out of the water. Everyone who shows up gets a wand, and instructors then lead them through Potter-themed poses like cat to cow transfiguration and the whomping willow (tree pose). Some poses are also meant to simulate casting your own patronus to ward off a dementor.

@circlebrew celebrated the lives of Lily and James Potter today with a special cask of pumpkin juice! The sorting hat kept me company at the bar.

A post shared by Amber Dalgleish Mustard (@amber_dalgleish_mustard) on

The class wraps with a cool down while the instructor reads from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

To Potterheads, this seems like a totally cute and fun way to work out, but I can understand that to the disgruntled muggles who just want this Harry Potter stuff to go away, this may seem like one themed-event too many. However, while I sympathize, my advice is to grab a wand do a downward-facing Fang, because it doesn’t look like hype around the wizarding world is dying down anytime soon!

These Couples’ Weight Loss Transformations Will Inspire You To Get In Shape

Going to a hot yoga class or new workout class you’ve never done before seems a lot more fun when you know your BFF is going to be right there next to you. You won’t be the only one there who’s offbeat or can’t touch your toes, and the two of you can laugh about it later.

Working out and getting fit has been proven to be more effective countless times when you are being held accountable with the support network of like-minded people. When you have someone to check in with or workout routines with, you are more likely to keep up with your fitness routines. When you surround yourself with people who don’t try to make you eat a doughnut just because they already had three, you’ll hit your fitness goals in no time.

Check out these photos of couples who acted as each other’s fitness accountabil-a-buddies and helped encourage each other to lose weight and get fit. It’s hard to break out of that Netflix-and-dining-in phase of relationships, but these couples did it and then some!

Source: Bored Panda
Source: Bored Panda
Source: Bored Panda
Source: Bored Panda

These photos prove another excellent fitness tip: having a goal or special event to work towards helps motivate you to stick to your routine, as well. Many of these couples got inspired by looking good for wedding photos. One couple even worked for five years before they deemed themselves wedding ready!

Source: Bored Panda
Source: Bored Panda
Source: Bored Panda

Ready to text your SO to meet you at the gym yet?