First, everyone began to diligently track their movements, their steps, and their workouts. Then, the tracking phenomenon quickly spread to other aspects of our health: our menstrual cycles, our sleep, our heart rates. And now, as the fitness world has realized that recovery is just as important as the workouts that you’re doing, tech has caught on with recovery tracking.
Technology has already been laser-targeted towards recovery and professional-grade devices—like the HyperIce and Theragun—make it easier than ever to recover properly at home. Now that we’re all putting so much work into out post-workout therapies, the logical next step is to start tracking them the way we do with seemingly every other element of our wellness routines. And yes: Theres an app (or a device) for that.
Jaxjox Foam RollerConnect ($100), which launched last week, is a “smart” foam roller that connects to an app (or your Apple Watch) to track your recovery. It guides you through your roll-out sessions, and suggests exercises to complement whatever workout you just did or to target the specific muscles you just worked out. Then there’s the Whoop 3.0 ($30 per month), which launched this summer and keeps track of your recovery, heart rate, response to cardiovascular stressors and sleep quality by way of a sleek band around your wrist. Garmin’s Forerunner series tracks your “training state,” and tells you when your body’s fully recovered and ready for its next workout. Other watch-style trackers, like the Polar Vantage V ($500) and Polar Ignite ($230), look at your recovery levels and can tell you whether you’re over- or under-training.
“The results happen post-workout, not during the workout,” says Devon Fitol, a trainer with JaxJox. “By tracking recovery, it helps you stay on track to achieving your wellness goals and holds you accountable. The better you can recover, the more you can get out of your workouts.”
Tracking your recovery gives you a more comprehensive understanding of your body and what it can do. “Broadly speaking, you can only manage what you measure,” says Will Ahmed, founder and CEO of Whoop. “Most people are going through periods of time where they’re really running their bodies down and they don’t necessarily think about it. Maybe they’re not sleeping enough or they’re exercising a lot or stressed from work, and don’t realize their body has a low recovery rate and it’s not optimal. They get comfortable living in a state of being sub-optimal.” Cue burnout and overly fatigued muscles that don’t let you perform at your best level.
Tracking recovery “gives you insight into how these different factors affect your body’s status,” says Ahmed. With the Whoop, for example, you’ll be able to see if your diet or your supplements are impacting your body’s performance. “You can read how these factors contribute to your recovery, by tracking different states of sleep that you get, your heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and how your body’s handling strain,” he explains, adding that his own device has taught him a lot about how to maximize his sleep.
Though recovery has risen in popularity as an essential component of training, it’s still the least “fun” part of fitness—which is why these trackers are so important. “It’s not cool or exciting or flashy—it’s usually seen as a chore to be done,” says Fitol. “But I think many people are starting to realize that in order to exercise for the rest of our lives, we need to be taking better care of ourselves now. Through tracking, we can monitor our personal data and use it to our benefit as we learn the most effective ways to recover.”
To help you on this better-for-your-body front, here are recovery techniques that feel like a massage. And this is how to use a rolling pin on your muscles to help with soreness and lymphatic drainage.