The Six Pillars of Rest Day: How to Recover From Your Workout

This post was originally published on: alomoves

We’ll say it right here: Rest days are just as important as training days. Without enough time for recovery, your body won’t be able to fully benefit from your training sessions and give you the fuel you need to keep going. And with so many post-workout recovery options out there — such as bone-chilling ice baths, massage equipment, foam rollers, CBD elixirs, etc. — it may be tough to figure out which ones you should add to your own routine. We decided to consult the expert.

“A vital part of training is recovery,” said Alo Moves fitness instructor Callie Gullickson. “Without recovery, the results we are looking for throughout our training will be nonexistent.”

Gullickson defines recovery as “the techniques and actions taken to maximize our body’s repair.” When you think of recovery, you might think about it in terms of the physical aspects. But that’s only part of the equation.

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Beacon Chocolate - Created for Health & Wellness-Minded Foodies

Creating The Perfect Blend of Flavors for Small Summer Get-Togethers

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As we approach the summer months in a post-COVID world in which small gatherings will be more common, unexpected combinations of wine, cheese and chocolate provide a great opportunity to explore and add a new dimension to the get-togethers we are all excited to resume.

Getting outdoors in the fresh evening air, enjoying a small group of friends, a great playlist and a well-curated offering of foods and flavors can help to put the shelter-in-place blues behind you.

Let's break down some new and interesting food combinations that will help make your gatherings a bit more memorable.

Wine and Cheese, But How About Wine & Chocolate?

Can Wine, Chocolate and Cheese go together?  Like many things in life, the answer is ‘it depends’. To successfully pair chocolate with wine and then with cheese, it’s best to start with the wine.  The big reason we don’t see chocolate and wine regularly paired is because we often overlook a very simple but important rule.  Follow this simple rule you will wonder why you skipped the chocolate all these years.

What’s the rule? Opposites attract. Flavor profiles that are too close to one another will leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth. Both literally and figuratively. In contrast, flavors with distinct flavor profiles complement each other, enhancing the elements of each on the palate.

Bitterness is caused by a chemical family called ‘polyphenols,’ naturally occurring plant-based compounds found in both wine and chocolate. These chemical compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other healthy properties that make the foods containing them worth keeping in your diet.  The polyphenols found in grapes (which become wine) are mostly tannins. Regardless of the form, they all taste bitter. 

Let’s first look how this applies to wine. A ‘dry wine’ means it lacks the chemical composition that activates taste buds that are oriented to sensing sweet. The greater the sugar content, the more taste buds highlight sweetness. Dry wines have less residual sugar and register as less sweet on the palate.  Think of a dry and crisp Sauvignon Blanc.  Dry red wines also have less sugar but can trigger bitter and astringent profiles from the tannins in the grape skins.          

Picking the Right Chocolate to Pair with Your Wine

Now that you have the low down on wine selection, let’s turn to the chocolate. Generally, the darker a piece of chocolate is, the more bitter it will be due to the higher cacao content and less sugar as a percentage of the total. Chemically, sugar percentage neutralizes or balances the bitterness. 

When planning a wine, cheese and chocolate offering, above all else, don’t match the polyphenols! For instance, don’t pair a more bitter dark chocolate with a big, tannic cabernet sauvignon, a Zinfandel or even a Malbec. Also, if dark chocolate is your thing, be sure to skip the Brut Champagne at the liquor store; the high acidity level of this beverage will ruin virtually every chocolate with the exception of the sweetest milk chocolate. Remember, pairing a bold wine with a flavorful chocolate is fine, just don’t match bitter to bitter.

A Few Simple Tricks to Ensure Success

Remember this simple phrase and you won’t go wrong: Sweetest is Always Easiest. However, always keep the wine slightly sweeter than the chocolate. This is an important rule of thumb.

There are some excellent late-harvest white wines (like ice wine) and sweet red options which work well, but to look like a real pro, go with a fortified wine such as a port, sherry or Madeira. If you seek to really impress, go a little obscure with something like a Banyuls. This is a fortified wine made from Grenache grapes in southern France. While bitter chocolates and Brut are not good party combos, a Champagne Doux or Moscato d’Asti with a moderately sweet milk chocolate can be a winner, especially on a warm summer evening.

Pair lighter chocolate with lighter-bodied wine, and stronger chocolate with more full-bodied wine. If you’re planning to serve a milk chocolate, try a light-bodied pinot noir or even a fruit-forward merlot. Pair darker chocolate or chocolate with CBD additives with a jammy Syrah—especially an Australian shiraz—or even an intense red zinfandel. Most sommeliers will warn you to stay away from the highly tannic cabernets and petite syrahs, which, unless you are very adventurous, is a good rule of thumb.

Finally, the Cheese!

Now that we have wine and chocolate down, let’s turn to the cheese. Glorious cheese.

Cheese is an essential part of this glorious trifecta. why? One word. Polyphenols.  Cheese’s natural creamy characteristics and wide spectrum of flavor profiles can add significantly to the gastronomic experience of chocolate and wine.  That is, if we follow the same general rules as we have with the wine and the chocolate.

Knowing this, what are some solid and simple wine, cheese and chocolate combinations?

Milder milk chocolate is excellent with a sweet riesling (remember, keep the wine sweeter than the chocolate). A good Riesling will pair well with pretty much any Swiss cheese due to its milder flavor profile.

Sweeter milk chocolate will pair well with port, and combining port or sherry with a sharp cheddar will be a hit.

Dark chocolate will balance nicely with a Red Zinfandel or even a brandy and both go well with either a Blue Cheese or a Stilton.

Actually, dark chocolate and blue cheese pair perfectly with port as well. The possibilities are nearly endless. Start with the chocolate. Your chocolate selection will set the tone for everything else.  Once you have your chocolate selected, it is time to visit your favorite wine store and ask for some guidance based on the flavor profile information we’ve provided here. Once you have the wine, add in cheese and a few other  complimenting items such as bread, nuts and fruit.  Look for balancing textures such as crisp breads and crackers to offset soft cheese and fruits which compliment the flavor profile you have selected.  Also, remember the visual component!  Your selections should play to all five senses. 

Paying attention to these simple rules and you are sure to come home with some winners, which means that you and your guests will have an unforgettable evening filled with culinary delights. 

Beacon Chocolate Supports Active Recovery for Athletes

Active recovery is as important to health as time in the gym or miles logged.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a runner, cyclist, swimmer, a yoga practitioner or something else.  When you think about your training plan, don’t just think about your mileage, splits, yardage, weight or nutrition. Think active recovery as well.  

If you’re active, well then, you should consider yourself an athlete! One thing every athlete knows is how amazing you can feel during and right after your activity, and how sore you can feel the next day or two. That's why an active recovery plan is key to performing at your best.

The Mental and Physical Stresses of Exercise. 

When you give your body and mind what they need to recover properly, you can keep doing the things you love without being sidelined by injuries . Mental and physical stress are both important things to deal with as part of active recovery. 

This becomes especially true as you move past peak years. Typically for most of us that is around age 35-40.  A solid recovery plan will help you see the results you want, such as running faster times, lifting heavier weights, losing weight or conquering harder trails, more milage or perhaps something else that gives you a little mental boost to keep at it.  Doing it right doesn’t mean you have to slow down, it just means you have to approach your training differently.

“Recovery days give the body a chance to rest and improve,” says Tom Danielson, owner of CINCH Coaching and former Tour de France cyclist.  “Your body can only handle so much before things start to shut down and break down.  As you get older, active recovery becomes even more important.  To stay at your top, whatever that looks like, active recovery is really, really important.”

To perform at your best, your body needs active recovery

 

A good recovery plan means finding ways to relieve soreness and regain energy.  You need to give your muscles a chance to rebuild any damaged tissues and build up energy for future workouts. Without recovery, you can overwork your body, which may result in decreased performance and an increased risk for injury, which creates both physical and mental stress.

Often the concepts of rest and recovery are used interchangeably. Although there is some overlap, rest and recovery are not the same thing. Rest is an essential step in your recovery plan.  Also helpful is the concept of active recovery—an easy to moderate activity to get your muscles moving in a less strenuous way than your normal workouts. Examples of active recovery are stretching exercises, hiking, yoga, active meditation and more. Just remember, your recovery plan has to work for your unique situation.

Mental and physical recovery are both important.  Athletes know that reducing inflammation post workout aids recovery, but reducing stress and anxiety is also helpful. [Link to advocate vlog].  Chocolate can be as important a component to your training plan as the right pair of running shoes and the proper stretching.   Why? Cocoa contains antioxidants as well as a nutrient called epicatechin, which is thought to help widen blood vessels and increase blood flow, an important aspect of mental and physical health and recovery.  

Adding CBD-infused chocolate to your nutritional recovery mix

According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can reduce inflammation in the body and help improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis, a severe and degenerative physical and mental disease . “It [CBD] is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote.

“Broadly speaking, it [CBD] does decrease inflammation when it's rubbed on muscles as an ointment or taken orally,” Dr. Perry Solomon, previous chief medical officer and founding member of HelloMD.

Mixing the right kind of chocolate, such as Beacon’s 50mg, CBD infused Performance Bites [link to ecommerce] can improve the impact of your active recovery.  Beacon’s delicious 50mg CBD Performance Bites are something you will look forward to as you power through that last mile.

Can a Chocolate be a 'Superfood'?

We've all heard the phrase "everything in moderation".  This seems to especially apply to the things in life that are most delicious.  Wine, cheese, rare Kobe beef, 20 year old Bourbon, even chocolate.

However, not all chocolates are created equal.  Believe it or not, it is entirely possible for chocolate to be good for you.

Beacon's founders are physicians and scientists who also happen to live an active, healthy life.  Their passion for chocolate led them on a journey to create the first chocolate that can be categorized as a 'Superfood'.

What is a Superfood?  Superfoods contain a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants, which are thought to ward off cancer. They also have healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease; fiber, thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; and phytochemicals — the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and smells, which can have numerous health benefits.

Blueberries, salmon, kale and acai are just a few examples of foods that have garnered the "superfood" label. However, there are no set criteria for determining what is and what is not a superfood, according to the American Heart Association.  The key to a Superfood is found in its nutritional value.  In other words, do the positive impact that chemicals and ingredients of that food item provide to your body outweigh any negative impact.

Most people would not think twice about eating a bowl full of blueberries.  Most people would think twice about eating a bowl full of chocolate though.  We all know that chocolate in moderation is fine.  Too much is not-so-fine.

But what if a chocolate met the Superfood classification?  What if the chocolate, not just certain ingredients was proven to actually improve your health instead of detract from it?  Enter Beacon Chocolate.  Beacon's formulation is Patent Pending based on its unique and proprietary blend of natural and organic ingredients.  The net result is a chocolate that is nutritionally and physiologically good for you.

Let's explore what makes this a reality...

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The Journey

The Journey is an on-going series in which Beacon spotlights the passionate people who make up our vibrant community of wellness-seekers, food-lovers and athletes.  The common trait among our community members is a love of vibrant and healthy foods as well as a passion for an active and interesting life.