By now, we all know that to be faster, fitter, stronger, or better at our athletic pursuit of choice, we need to go harder for longer, right? Or at least that’s what the rise of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) would have us believe. But lately, there’s been a shift in that theory — without engaging proper rest and recovery phases, we don’t get the most out of our HIITs. Cue the rise of recovery and restorative modalities.
While the science of recovery is still a bit murky, mainly because everyone’s body responds differently to different types of training and recovery, the general consensus in the exercise science community is that rest done right is one crucial component that shouldn’t be overlooked. As it turns out, we actually rebuild our muscles, and our fitness improves when we rest, recover, and restore between tough workouts. In fact, the rise of restorative modalities is a major wellness trend for 2020.
Dr. Marc Taczanowski is a sports medicine doctor and co-owner of True Sport Care, a New York-based sports rehab and chiropractic business. He has helped train and rehab everyone from pro-athletes to members of the 2014 U.S. Winter Olympic Team, and when I lived in New York, he helped me recover from a tough hip injury. He believes that the rise of restorative wellness is a direct result of the explosive growth of HIIT, which you find at places like CrossFit, Orangetheory, and F45.
“The physical challenge is great in these workouts, and unfortunately, the people taking part in them may not be using their bodies properly, which can lead to overuse or underuse of certain muscles. When this happens, the “recovery” offering is valuable — possibly for the mindful aspect, or just for a central nervous system reset after stimulus overload,” he said via email.
Since I live in Los Angeles, pretty much the center of the fitness-industry universe (in 2018 there were nearly 14,000 fitness businesses in the state of California), and do regular HIIT myself, I decided to try out restorative workouts at three different studios over the course of a week to see if I noticed any difference in my own performance.