21 Day Recovery Challenge

We always talk about a rounded fitness life; exercise, nutrition and mental fitness, but there is one aspect ignored in that summary that deserves its own book – Recovery.

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Yes you could argue its part of the mental fitness or nutrition areas, even exercise (if you’re planning it right). None of this diminishes, only highlights, its key role in the physical and mental outcomes of training.

With the right amount of recovery the physical changes are maximised; strength / cardio improvements increase as cellular repair is fully completed, fat loss accelerates because hormones are better balanced, mental clarity improves with lower fatigue, making healthy decisions easier to complete the virtuous circle.

You don’t need to live a Celestine lifestyle, if you choose to improve your recovery you will become more resilient to the occasional late night or crazy week at work. Take this 21 day challenge as an education in how to look after yourself better in this crazy life, choose the bits that work and carry them for the future.

We do 21 days because it’s a good time to build habits without being overbearing. It’s not even a full month. You can focus on it for three weeks and then have a break. That’s a good place to start, sensible, doable, what’s stopping you?

Join our Challenge Facebook group here.

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What is the Challenge?

Choose ONE habit from our list of recovery habits below, then perform it every day for 21 days.

There are proven statistics that if you try to take on more than one habit your chances of maintaining them drop with each extra you try. We want you to get a tangible permanent WIN from this, so choose one*.

Of course there has to be some flexibility because; life. If you know you can’t achieve the habit one day (e.g. 7.5 hours sleep after a Friday night out) choose another habit for that day (e.g. thorough hangover recovery plan or nap).

Habit

Goal

Sleep

7-8 hrs

Sleep

Nap

Sleep

Improve ‘sleep hygiene’ = better quality

Water

2.5L – 3.5L filtered water

Food Timing

Eat within an hour of training

Mindfulness

3-10 min of breathing mindfulness

Digital Detox

Turn off your phone, laptop and TV for 60 mins

Supplements

Take recommended supplements

Hangover Recovery

Follow Hangover Protocol

Recovery Cardio

Take 20-30 mins gentle walk/run ‘in nature’

Nutrition

Swap vegetables/fruit for processed food

Caffeine

Swap 1-2 cups of caffeine for herbal tea or like

* If you want to repeat it next month with a second habit, that would work.

Methods

Here is some simple advice of how to achieve the goals. Add to it if you want. Do set up a recording method straight away now as you read this; a simple bit of structure will give you accountability to yourself. That way you can stay focused for 21 days!

Sleep

Recording - you could download a sleep tracking app such as Pillow to record your hours asleep and quality of rest.

Sleep Hygiene – darker room, no screens for the last hour before bed, consistent bed and wake times, turn your phone light down in the evening.

Water

Recording – use a note on your phone / diary you can edit each time you drink OR download myfitnesspal which has a specific water tracker feature.

Mindfulness

Recording – use a note or diary reminder in your phone or download Headspace or Calm.

Method – Either just close your eyes and do a breathing meditation, use Headspace or Calm to guide you, or try Pause which makes it simpler by playing a simple game on your phone.

Digital Detox

Method – Choose your 60 mins and turn all your devices off. It’s that simple.

Recording – set a diary reminder for the whole 21 days now and go back to edit the title with an added tick each day you do it.

Supplements

If you are training really hard, working really hard, playing really hard, you could be a bit depleted in vitamins, minerals and vegetables. Really we would like to recommend to people specifically so if this is your choice you can email me right now at james@livefit.co.uk with your current life situation and I’ll recommend what I think you should go for.

But to cover it – if you’re fatigued and over-worked/over-trained try a magnesium supplement or magnesium bath salts. And zinc if you want to take it further. If you’re stressed and have had a poor diet including lots of sugars recently you could try taking probiotics. If you’ve been missing out on vegetables because you’ve been too busy then you could try taking a greens powder supplement.

Hangover recovery

Method – see the bottom of this blog I wrote on ‘professional’ hangover recovery.

Recording – make a diary reminder right now of all the days you think you’ll be hungover, prepare the day before and when you’ve completed the recovery protocol edit the reminder title by adding a tick to show you did it.

Recovery Cardio

Gentle cardio gets the blood flowing to all muscles, helps clear out waste and brings oxygen to weary fibres and brain cells. It should feel no more than 60% effort so as to not create any more waste. And do it in a park or down by the river as the benefits of seeing natural structures are well reported, especially in the concrete jungle of London! See my article on the subject  here if you want to learn more.

Recording – make a diary reminder now for every day in the 21 days at the time you will do your cardio. Go back and edit the title adding a tick each day you complete the cardio.

Nutrition

Purposely simple this goal aims for you to pack more veg into your day to provide micro nutrients in place of sugar and pastry. Swap a binge at the biscuit barrel for a slice of apple dipped in almond butter, crisps + sour cream for veg dips + hummus/salsa, oven chips for roast veggies. You choose.

Recording – write down your swaps now in a note on your phone, including the days and times when you think you’ll have to swap. Go back each time you swap and give yourself a tick.

Caffeine

I’m not saying you HAVE to go to zero, just reduce by 1-2 cups a day and replace with some nice herbal tea or decaf product that you enjoy.

Recording – write down your swaps now in a note on your phone, including the days and times when you think you’ll have to swap. Go back each time you swap and give yourself a tick.

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Bonus – Mindset Courses

If you want to take your mental resilience to the next level or work on your mindfulness we recommend taking courses at either of the schools below. I’ve personally been on courses with both companies and can vouch for the quality of course and teaching.

https://www.theschooloflife.com/london/classroom/

https://www.londonmindful.com/event/calendar/

 

massage

Bonus - Massage

We have a masseuse Chris who will travel to you with a big comfy massage bed and massage you in your own home for £60. Go on, treat yourself.

Let us know how you get on in the group and keep an eye out for our videos talking about how we got on. Share as much as you like in the group, we’ll all be there to give positive feedback and reinforce your success.

Let’s get it done together! Join the challenge!

James Hardy