As a fitness professional, you already know that working out really hard pays off and shows results quickly, but it can be quite tough on your clients. To boost their recovery, you should advise active recovery workouts – the type of workouts that will keep the blood flow to the muscles, making them recover better and faster, but still be gentle enough to give your clients’ muscles the chance to repair themselves.
There are many benefits of active recovery, one of which is that your clients will feel refreshed, energized, and most importantly – ready for the next day’s training. Active recovery can be fun home workouts that you should definitely include in your workout plan to enhance a healthy lifestyle with your clients.
When should you advise active recovery and when to take a rest day?
Every time your clients do a heavy workout – running long distances, competing in an athletic event, or let’s face it, working out at home and pushing themselves to their maximum, you should organize an active recovery workout for them the next day.
Active recovery exercises should be done after intense exercise (or over-training) days, and a day before such a hard workout.
Don’t forget about passive recovery! Passive recovery means doing nothing and it’s as important as active recovery and working out.
Even though your clients will recover and feel better if they do active recovery after intense training, sometimes the circumstances require passive recovery. For example, if your clients have been injured or are at risk of injury – give them some time off.
So, the general rule could be to plan two to three intense and quality sessions per week and then do some active recovery workouts after each session. Then your clients will have a day off for passive recovery.
Benefits of active recovery
Boosting the body’s recovery is itself beneficial, but there are many other good sides of active recovery.
- Prevents inflammation by improving blood flow to the joints and muscles
When we move, even more slowly than on high-intense sessions, our hearts beat faster, pumping the blood through the system quicker.
That means that the oxygen and other nutrients get all around our body, including muscles, faster. Toxins leave our bodies quicker, too. The buildup of lactic acid in the muscles is reduced, so post-exercise stiffness and discomfort are minimized.
Together with stretching, active recovery reduces discomfort from delayed onset muscle soreness.
- Active recovery days keep stress levels low
The best side effect of active recovery days is low-stress levels.
With no pressure to do your best, to push hard, and give 110% of your energy, your clients will feel relieved. Advise them to go for fun activities which they enjoy. That way, they’ll boost their moods.
That positive mental state can affect other aspects of life – your clients will probably eat better, be more productive, and maintain a healthy routine.
- Maintaining training consistency and improving endurance
Active rest days allow your clients to add quite a lot of training volume without too much fatigue, reaching their fitness goals quicker or without too much pain.
If your clients exercise consistently, they will build strength and endurance gradually. Eventually, they will be able to do exercise days effortlessly. Besides that, doing “slow” workouts will build a habit of pushing through hardships and obstacles.
- Top athletes use recovery days to become more agile
With active recovery, your clients will get more agile, their movements will become more efficient, and they will get more resilient. And all of that without over-training or burnout!
How to plan active recovery?
When making a training plan for your clients, always have in mind active recovery days. It’s quite easy – they should follow intense workouts.
So, if you have 3 intense workouts a week, every following day you should plan an active recovery day.
Types of active recovery
- Afer-workout cooldown
Even though your clients would want to lie down after they have given their best, don’t let them do that because they will be sorry in the next few days because of the sore muscles.
Instead, organize a gradual 10-minute cool down with exercising with no more than 50% of their strength at the beginning with slowly reducing the effort.
- During a circuit training session
When you organize interval or circuit sessions, add active recovery workouts in between sets.
- In the days after a strenuous activity
As you can see, you don’t have to plan active recovery only in the days after a heavy workout, but that is a general rule of how this kind of recovery works.
Active recovery ideas
So, now you know what are the benefits of keep moving after a fierce workout, but what kind of exercises could boost active recovery?
Those could be any activities that your clients like, as long as they are easy Zone 1 activities that last between 30 and 60 minutes.
Some of these activities should be done outside, which gives you as a personal trainer some time off. But, you should still keep track of what your clients are doing, how long are they working out, if they make long pauses, etc.
Even though you are not with them, there are still ways to keep progress tracking successfully.
Using a custom branded fitness app will enable you to track your clients’ movement (not geographically, but fitness-wise) and encourage them more often to stay active.
With the data you receive, you can automatically devise a fitness plan for every client and adjust it if needed.