The Surprisingly Easy Secret for a Recovery-Driven Night-Time Routine
If you’re like me, you’re always looking to level-up in life. The best workout schedule. The best time of day to take your protein. The best motivation hacks. But when it comes to my routines, I struggle. Mornings are plagued with rushing and my evenings are unpredictable. Sometimes I’m out with friends until late. Other times I’m tucked into bed watching Star Trek by 21.00.
But I’ve read enough foodspring stories to know that successful routines aren’t about motivation—they’re about establishing and maintaining a habit. So I schedule my workouts like they’re a meeting with my boss (not going to blow them off!) and I don’t stray from my post-workout shake. So I turned my attention to my evenings. What was a simple thing I could do to sleep better, recover faster, and add some regularity to an unpredictable schedule? Enter the all-powerful percussive massager (aka hand-held massage gun).
Percussive massagers are hand-held devices that thump at your soft tissue to break up the fascia—the stuff that surrounds your muscles (as well as organs, bones, nerve fibres, and blood vessels)—and gets your body fluids flowing, which helps with mobility and can speed up recovery. Percussive massages also help with lactic acid build-up, and they help stave off delayed onset muscle soreness, according to a study done at the University of Winchester. If you’ve ever done a long run or bike ride, or embarked on an endurance swim, that I-can’t-fall-asleep wave of soreness that you can experience 24 to 72 hours after is a result of lactic acid build-up. The benefits of percussive massagers—increased mobility and flexibility, according to a 2019 systematic review, plus improved physical performance, and better lymphatic flow—had me rushing to find the best massage gun on the market.
I dug deep, did my research, and ended up with the Hypervolt 2 from Hyperice. I love it because of its compact size and weight (a gym bag-friendly 0.8 kilos), it comes with multiple head attachment based on how diffuse or concentrated you want the thumping to be, and its Bluetooth connectivity to the in-app mobility routines for pre- and post-workout—hello brainless winddown time of my dreams! Integrating the Hypervolt into my night time recovery time was the best thing I’ve done for my fitness journey this year, here’s 5 reasons why:
1. Follow-along guidance
If you struggle with meditating, or just winding down after a busy day then take my word for it, following the pre-created massage sequences in the Hyperice app are amazing. The reason? The Hypervolt 2 is Bluetooth-enabled and adjusts the massager to the right percussive frequency and while showing you exactly which head to use and how to do it. Something about switching on a massage program and following along is deeply relaxing and allows me to zone out in a way that I have never been able to when meditating (but that’s just me!). The addition of the app is what takes the massager from great tool to recovery partner, it even recommends routines based on your workouts. You can pick a routine based on time—anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes—the part of the body (neck & back, glutes & legs, or abs & pecs) or activity type (flexibility, wellness, pain relief, and performance). And there’s actually a night time routine for when you don’t have a specific need. Right before bed it gives me some time to get away from the endless scroll and get ready for sleep in an intentional way.
2. It’s packable
Serious about getting into a routine? You must be able to keep it up. And trust me when I say I am always on the go, which is why I like the size and weight of the Hypervolt 2. It is small enough to sneak into my carry-on (not to mention it is TSA approved) since it takes up the space of about one shoe. The interchangeable heads come in a fancy travel-friendly pouch and the full charge lasts 3+ hours depending on speed and how much pressure you’re applying. One fewer cord to lug!
3. Recovery matters!
If you’ve spent any time on foodspring, you know we love to educate about the importance of recovery. Recovery isn’t just taking a day off from the gym. It’s also about good sleep, restorative movement, and a quiet mind. Myofascial release can relieve pain and soreness, and may even affect nerve pain receptors to give you relief, says James Ting, M.D., a family and sports medicine doctor in Southern California in the U.S. If you’re already using a foam roller for this, you might want to try adding in a percussive massager, too. They complement each other really well. Foam rollers are great for getting bigger areas, and tend to be gentler since you’re using and modulating your body weight to provide the pressure. The Hypervolt 2 is great at targeting specific areas that you can’t do with a roller, and doesn’t require as much contortion to get into the areas you want to relieve.
4. Sore is great, sometimes…
There is something so satisfying about a serious workout that leaves your muscles sore and achy—it’s a reminder of the fact that you prioritize yourself and we love that. But lactic acid build-up can leave you over-sore, which is why I will often use the Hypervolt after a tough workout when I’m recovering nutritionally with protein and carbs. “When you use a massage gun after a workout, the percussion forces muscle fibers to release lactic acid, reducing the soreness you’ll feel,” says the experts at University of California-Los Angeles. But the daytime can be its own workout. Like that friend who asked you to help move a couch and you end up reorganizing all the furniture in the living room. Or the elevators were out at your building and you’re climbing a dozen flights of stairs…with groceries. These kinds of incidental workouts can leave you just as wiped as going to the gym. Ending the day with a Hypervolt session means I’m doing myofascial massage on muscles that were good to me all the day through. I can tell that when I reduce stiffness right before I go to bed, I get a more restful night’s sleep.
Related: Did you know muscle building happens during recovery? The trick is a protein-packed post-workout routine.
5. Supercharge recovery
For me, I thought about the addition of Hypervolt into my evenings not as a way to get more percussive massaging into my life. Rather, it’s a new way for me to recover. And I’ve worked on enough stories to know that recovery has a huge nutritional component. That’s why I use my wind-down time as the perfect moment to sip on my Recovery Aminos. Since so much muscle recovery happens while we sleep, the L-glutamine in Recovery Aminos helps the body repair from the day’s workout (L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body). Plus a 20 g scoop contains almost 11 grams of protein, which is a nice extra helping of protein before bed.
There are a lot of different percussive massagers on the market. The Hypervolt 2 is the editor’s pick because of the Bluetooth enabled connection with the app—meaning you don’t need to know anything about sports massage to have a successful recovery session. But if you’re looking for something even more compact, then the Hyperice Hypervolt GO is a great option—just know it doesn’t come with bluetooth app integration.
Read more about recovery from foodspring:
- Taking these post-workout supplements after your endurance training definitely makes sense
- Muscle recovery after your workout: 6 regeneration rules
- Top Tips for Healthy Sleep
Sources for this article
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