More is Not Always Better!
Training is a form of stress on the body. Therefore, we want to achieve the correct stress that promotes grow and adaptation rather than stress that kicks the system into overtraining and fatigue.
On a daily basis, everyone is feeling stress in some shape. To your surprise, exercise is a form of stress so it is very important that you know how to deal with it. Ideally, we want to achieve the minimum effective dose to ensure you can adapt and improve in your training, but not so much stress that you become fatigued or over-trained. There is a fine line between too little and too much.
Rest and recovery are essential for your body mentally and physically. Rest is defined as a combination of sleep and time spent not training. Recovery refers to the technique and actions taken to maximize your body’s repair. Examples of recovery include hydration, nutrition, active recovery, compression, stretching, self-myofascial release and stress management. More is not always better.
Recovery involves more than just muscle repair. It also involves chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state and more. In order to maximize recovery, we must implement techniques than include hormonal, neurological and structural systems.
The goal of recovery should be striving to meet priorities in life and maximize performance without personal sacrifice. Most importantly remember to relax, unwind, and enjoy an evening out with friends when you can. A balanced combination of rest and recovery along with proper nutrition and exercise should be a part of all exercise programs. To be more specific, try the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time you are training hard and eating well and 20% should be spent enjoying life.
The best recovery is done while sleeping. Adequate levels of sleep help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. A healthy and adequate nights rest should last seven to ten hours. For this reason, you should try to switch off phones, TV’s, and anything that might distract you at least an hour before bed. Additionally, it is best to make sure your room is in complete darkness to promote deep sleep.
Water is essential to life. Drinking adequate amounts of water is critical to health, energy, recovery, and performance. It is commonly recommended that adults drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is also equal to two liters or half a gallon.
The simplest way to check hydration is to look at your pee. If it is clear to pale yellow, you are hydrated. The darker your pee the less hydrated you are and more water you need to drink.
Everything you eat has the ability to help heal your body and recover from daily stress. Eating clean and balanced meals in moderation is proven to boost your health and increase performance. It is key that you try to stay away from over processed foods. When you eat high quality foods with good balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, you will have the ability to maximize performance in the workplace and gym. A great way to ensure you are meeting all your daily requirements, is to log your meals. (http://myfitnesspal.com is a great source for food logging and calculating how many carbs, proteins, and fats you are eating.) Remember, nutrition is about balance. Try not to overthink and allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods.
- Create a meal plan and shop ahead for the week.
- Have healthy snacks available and on hand
- Plan ahead for eating out so you can ensure there is healthy options for you to choose from
Active recovery focuses on completing a workout at a low intensity, but just high, enough that it gets the blood moving and helps reduce residual fatigue in the muscles. It is not always about going 100% in a workout, the aim in active recovery should be to recover physically and mentally. In return, you will be able to smash your next workout. Aim for one active recovery day a week. This can be going for a walk, jog, swim, rowing, rock climbing, etc. In addition to these examples, include some focus on enhancing your breathing mechanics and promoting blood flow throughout the body.
Tight muscles and trigger points sometimes need assistance to return to healthy normal tissue.
Self-Myofascial release is a treatment that attempts to release tension in the fascia (connective tissues around muscles, bones, nerves, and organs.) This method can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or your own hands. By applying pressure to specific points on your body, you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform.
Training more is not always better. Spending some additional time focusing on rest and recovery can have huge rewards beyond additional training time. It is a performance enhancer. Take advantage of recovery and you will see the rewards. To sum it up, dedicating additional time primarily to the three categories of sleep, hydration, and nutrition will increase your performance, decrease recovery time, and lower your risk of injury. In the end, you will see the results you were training for,
Get your Recovery on!