What does your nighttime routine look like? And no, I’m not talking about Netflix and chill. If you’re an Achieve athlete, by now you know that there’s a lot more to being an athlete than focused training on the bike. Recovery and nutrition are foundational to achieving optimal performance, so why not give your body a leg up on recovery?
As an elite athlete, I’ve always appreciated the power of optimizing my recovery and using whole foods as medicine. To me, being an athlete is so much more than power and strength. It’s about being as healthy, balanced, fit and educated as possible, always recognizing my choices.
Below I share my elite athlete nighttime recovery routine trifecta: Golden Milk Tea, Epsom Salt Bath and Stretch. It’s a bit wordy, but you get the idea.
Golden Milk Tea
Golden Milk Tea is one of my favorite evening beverages. Apart from its impressive medicinal properties like its anti-inflammatory properties, golden milk tea is a delicious, healing, radioactive-yellow treat before bed.
A note about inflammation. While acute (short-lived and localized) inflammation is beneficial for healing, it can become a major problem when it is chronic and inappropriately deployed against the body’s own tissues. In fact, chronic inflammation has been found to be at the root of many chronic western diseases.
Golden Milk Tea Recipe:
- 1 inch-long stick of turmeric root (if you don’t have fresh tumeric, try using tumeric paste)
- 1 inch-long piece of ginger root
- Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup almond milk (or other milk choice)
- 1 tsp. unrefined coconut or olive oil
- Pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, clove (optional)
- Raw honey to taste (optional)
Chop and pour all ingredients (except honey) into a small saucepan and simmer for 10-20 minutes (the more time the better)
Strain tea or blend all ingredients in a high speed blender for a powerful tonic
Epsom Salt Bath
A warm soak in an epsom salt bath before bed is a great way to unwind from your day, promote healing, and help initiate the body’s natural cooling down process to prepare for sleep (the body will cool down more rapidly after it’s been warmed up from the bath). If you’re a fan of an ice baths, try to take it soon after a hard race or workout. You can then do a warm salt float in the evening.
Simply dissolve 4 cups or more of epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) into a tub of warm water and soak for at least 20 minutes. You can add a few drops of essential oils like lavender or grapefruit to give a pleasant aromatherapy effect. Note: Remember to hydrate during and after this detoxifying practice.
Stretch Before Bed
Cap it all off with a nice gentle stretch of your entire body before bed. Now that your body is warm and relaxed from the epsom salt bath, you’re ready for stretching and working out adhesions in muscle, tissue and fascia.
At this point you’ll likely have a deeper feeling of relaxation and ease. Plus, hopefully you’ve just been tricked into not looking at a screen for the last hour. Enjoy the feeling and sleep well.