Benjamin Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." And you know what? He was definitely onto something.
Here at For Wellness, we love to talk about 'recovery' (I mean, hello, we literally created Recovery Gummies™), however, there are also steps you can take before your workout to make a difference, as part of a routine we like to call 'pre-covery' (not to be confused with the astronomical term 'precovery' for dating objects in space 😉).
We like to think of pre-covery as the secret sauce to preventing sore muscles, aches, and fatigue that creep up after working out.
Combined with your recovery protocol, it may help minimize inflammation, boost your performance, avert injuries, and enhance your overall well-being.
All that means you can go even harder the next day. Of course, if you're exercising 5-7 times a week, your pre-covery and your recovery may look pretty similar, but these tips apply either way!
What is Pre-covery?
Pre-covery is a fusion of "preparation" and "recovery." This proactive approach describes actions you take on the days before exercise that optimize your body's readiness for physical activity, help it cope with physical stress, and facilitate recovery post-workout.
But first - why bother?
Top 5 Benefits of Pre-covery for Exercise
Studies show that the best reasons to focus on your new pre-covery era include:
Injury prevention. Lower inflammation, fewer aches and pains, and a body and mind prepped for activity reduce the risk of injuries.
Better performance. Pre-covery techniques prime your body to push harder, remain active longer, achieve your goals, and forge new personal records.
Reduced muscle soreness. Feel fantastic post-sweat sesh and stay motivated to crush your active exercise recovery.
Rapid recovery. Don't let intense morning training wipe you out for the rest of the day. Get yourself over the hill, bounce back faster, and continue on a high.
Longevity. Exercising more frequently is an investment in your long-term well-being. Pre-covery makes it easier and more rewarding to stick to your health and wellness goals.
Putting Pre-covery Into Practice
Now that you're clued into the benefits of pre-covery, let's talk about how to work this phase seamlessly into your routine:
Avoid Suddenly Leaping Into Action
One surefire way to land yourself with super sore muscles or an injury is if you go from weeks (or even days) of doing very little movement straight into working out.
For example, if you have plans to work out on the weekend but you've spent all week sitting at your desk, start engaging your muscles during that week to reduce stiffness.
This might look like parking a little further away from work to get more steps in, going for a walk instead of watching your television show (you can stream while you walk if you're worried about falling behind on your favorite series!), or doing a series of stretches throughout the day.
Adding foam rolling to your wellness routine will help you prepare your body and understand areas you need to work on.
The time at which you do foam rolling can have different functions for your body. As a function of pre-covery, it's best to do foam rolling in the days leading up to your exercise (although it's also great after!).
Here are all the ways foam rolling can support your body and keep it performing to its absolute best:
- Improved Range of Motion: Foam rolling can help to break up muscle knots and adhesions, which can restrict your range of motion. This can be especially beneficial before exercises that require a wide range of motion, such as squats, lunges, or overhead presses.
- Increased Blood Flow: Rolling on a foam roller stimulates blood flow to the muscles, which can help improve circulation and increase the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. This increased blood flow can prime your muscles for exercise.
- Reduced Muscle Tension: Foam rolling can help release muscle tension and reduce muscle tightness, making your muscles more pliable and ready for movement. This can be particularly useful in areas prone to tightness, such as the IT band, hamstrings, and calves.
- Enhanced Muscle Activation: By rolling specific muscle groups, you can activate and engage those muscles, which is especially useful for exercises targeting those areas. It helps to "wake up" the muscles and prepare them for action.
- Pain Reduction: Foam rolling can alleviate minor aches and pains. It can be particularly beneficial for those who experience muscle soreness or discomfort in specific areas before exercise.
- Improved Neuromuscular Efficiency: Foam rolling may enhance the connection between your nervous system and muscles, improving the efficiency of your movements during exercise.
- Injury Prevention: By reducing muscle tension and improving mobility, foam rolling can help reduce the risk of muscle strains or overuse injuries during exercise.
- Mental Preparation: Foam rolling can serve as a pre-exercise ritual, helping to focus your mind on the upcoming workout and prepare mentally for the physical activity ahead.
- Time for Assessment: While foam rolling, you can assess your body for areas of tightness or discomfort. This self-awareness can help you adjust your exercise routine, such as modifying specific movements or using additional warm-up exercises.
Always Stay Hydrated & Balance Your Electrolytes
Proper hydration and electrolyte balance are non-negotiable aspects of pre-covery. They ensure your body's prepped to sweat and prevent a huge water/electrolyte deficit.
Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are essential minerals that carry an electric charge across your body's circuits. They're responsible for tasks like heartbeat regulation, muscle function, nerve impulses, metabolism, and more.
Dehydration (from sweating, exercising outdoors, etc.) makes you lose water and electrolytes simultaneously.
Both dehydration and unbalanced electrolyte levels can cause headaches, nausea, muscle weakness and fatigue, muscle cramps, decreased performance, and higher risk of injury.
Always prioritize electrolytes from suitable sources. Skip the heaps of sugar in sports drinks and artificial sweeteners in "low-sugar" or "low-carb" hydration beverages. These can all damage your health.
Stick to electrolytes from a highly functional blend of whole food sources, such as dairy products, nuts and seeds, leafy greens (especially spinach), avocado, cacao, bananas, and complex carbohydrates (beans, peas, legumes, whole grains, sweet potatoes, etc.).
🍒 Psst! Want a shortcut? Our Recovery Gummies™ contain sodium and potassium to boost your electrolytes with every tasty bite.
Don't Skimp On Sleep
Quality sleep and adequate rest play a pivotal role in pre-covery.
Deep sleep gives your body the time and resources to repair and regenerate tissues, which is crucial for muscle recovery and growth.
Even better news? Science says getting more high-quality ZZZs also:
- Improves mental and athletic performance
- Increases competitive success
- Reduces the risk of injury and illness
So, try to establish a consistent sleep schedule and improve your sleep hygiene. Aim to score 7-9 hours of uninterrupted snooze time each night.
Turn Up the Tart Cherry
High-quality nutrition is a cornerstone of pre-covery.
Of course you should eat plenty of carbs and protein for energy, but consider adding functional foods to your diet as well.
Tart cherry is one such functional food that'll do more than just fill your belly.
Consuming tart cherries or tart cherry extract before exercise may significantly reduce markers of inflammation, decrease exercise-induced oxidative stress, decrease fatigue, and minimize muscle soreness.
For Wellness Tart Cherry (Pre-covery +) Recovery Gummies™
It's easy to combat muscle soreness naturally with tart cherries. But that doesn't mean all tart cherry gummies are good for your body.
Our 100% natural Recovery Gummies™ are the perfect pre-covery and recovery boost because they:
Contain VitaCherry® Sport. Derived from Montmorency tart cherries, VitaCherry® Sport is formulated to help prevent muscle soreness and strength loss after exercise and aid muscle recovery.
Provide a rapid source of energy. We make our gummies with glucose, the primary fuel source for your brain and every cell in your body. Each serving clocks in at just two grams of sugar — perfect for low-carb goals.
Help replenish electrolytes. You'll find potassium and sodium to help maintain fluid balance and optimal hydration levels while supporting muscle function.
- Offer a burst of juicy Hibiscus Cherry flavor. Organic cane sugar, organic pear juice concentrate, and a touch of citric acid (naturally found in citrus fruits) complement the tart cherries with a kiss of hibiscus citrus flavor.
Every travel-friendly bag is loaded with performance-packed ingredients to maximize pre--covery before and optimize recovery later. Did we mention our gummies are also vegan, gluten-free, and proudly made in the USA?
Don't Wait, Dominate: Make Pre-covery Your Winning Edge
Pre-covery may be the key to unlocking your full potential and leveling up your performance. You'll make your workouts count for more, ease post-exercise muscle soreness, and prime your body to do it all again the next day.
💫 Start a pre-covery plan today; ensure a stronger tomorrow. Knock your goals out of the solar system with our highly-rated Recovery Gummies™ now!