Katie Martin Talks Workout Recovery, Balance & Self-Care
If you’re just as excited as we are about Sweat’s newest trainer, Katie Martin, you’re probably already planning your first week of Strength & Sculpt workouts now that her new program is live in the Sweat app.
While you’re checking out what’s ahead of you in week one of the program (and yes, you should ABSOLUTELY go and check it out if you haven’t already), we thought this was also a great time for a refresher on the importance of recovery - especially when you’re following a strength training program like Strength & Sculpt. After all, muscle repair and growth (aka gains) happens when you rest and give back to your body.
Recovery is your best friend
“Recovery is something I really neglected and I thought it was just a bunch of big words claiming to do a whole bunch of zippo,” Katie laughs. “I was wrong. SO wrong.”
“There is an abundance of studies indicating just how imperative recovery is for our longevity and overall health. Think prolonged lifespan, improved muscle recovery and sleep, heavy metal detoxification, reduced anxiety and depression, increased productivity - the list goes on.”
After experiencing an injury, one of Katie’s biggest goals for 2022 was to avoid another setback, and prioritising a great strength training program and proper recovery became paramount.
Now, with her much-loved weekly routine of strength training in the gym plus the occasional run or Pilates session, she knows how much recovery can make a difference to your progress, performance and overall wellbeing.
Katie’s top recovery picks
“My favourite recovery tool is hands down contrast therapy,” she says, which is where she alternates between immersing her body in hot and cold water to increase circulation. Different things work for different people, but Katie says she has seen benefits for her body composition, stress management, productivity and mental clarity - as well as muscle recovery!
“Once the body warms up, the increase in blood flow starts the healing process, stimulating neurogenesis and endorphins, minimising inflammation and accelerating recovery.”
Not everyone has the time or access to contrast therapy, and Katie says there are so many other ways to prioritise your rest and repair. What works best for you may depend on what equipment you have, what style of training you’re doing, any prior injuries, and how your body feels each week. The most important thing is to choose something and make it a regular part of your workout routine.
Eat up, then power down
As the author of The Kitchen Series, Katie’s love of food and nutrition is on par with her love of fitness, and she is often encouraging her clients to increase their protein intake. It’s a simple tweak that has changed the game for her and so many women in her community.
“The average adult is recommended to eat 30g of protein per main meal,” she says. “This helps us stay satiated, maintain muscle mass, aid in muscle recovery, aid in muscle growth… the list of benefits goes on.”
For Katie, this looks like eating a range of different lean protein sources throughout the week (check out her Instagram for some delicious meal idea inspo), or adding protein powder to smoothies or breakfasts if she needs a boost.
There’s one more thing Katie considers a non-negotiable for recovery and optimal health and that’s good quality sleep - we’re talking at least seven hours per night.
“One of the pillars of health I discuss on end with my clients is their sleep quality. Sleep has a HUGE impact on your health but unfortunately, it often gets neglected.”
“Sleep is almost as important as food for me. That’s when your body recovers, you break down the food you’ve eaten, absorb nutrients and so forth. People who aren’t getting enough sleep are often nutrient deficient, sick, not seeing results in the gym, or are always stressed.”
Listen within and be kind - fitness is for life
Aside from getting into a good routine with nutrition, sleep and recovery methods that work for you, Katie stresses the importance of cultivating a positive relationship with yourself and listening to your body when it comes to creating sustainable healthy habits.
This can be as simple as checking in with your body, stress and energy levels and asking yourself - what do I actually need today? A big part of being fit, healthy and well is giving yourself some flexibility, self-care, grace and a whole lot of kindness.
Katie knows how busy and stressful life can be at times and suggests trying something she does personally, where she sets herself “at leasts” - a base idea of what she wants to achieve in a week without setting specific days. The point of this is to make it something achievable and within reach. For her, it’s often two strength workouts each week and ten thousand steps a day.
“During other periods where I’ve got a lot more time and energy, I might add one Pilates session to that list. I’ll reassess each week, month or season as things change and set new ‘at leasts’. Anything above that is amazing, but if I don’t, who cares.”
“At the end of the day, this is a lifestyle. I’m not trying to follow a routine for a week or a month. I’m trying to do this for life and make habits for the next 50-60 years, so if I don’t get in some workouts this week, it’s not a big deal. I think when you start to look at the bigger picture, you’ll realise you can be kinder to yourself. One hot day doesn’t make it summer.”
Loving Katie’s workout wisdom and keen to try her new program? Strength & Sculpt is available now in the Sweat app!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.