Let’s me ask you this …
How many of us have heard of the saying “train hard, recover hard?”
How many of us actually do this by putting in adequate recovery time?
Recovery is often overlooked but as we know it’s so important to stay on top of our game. There are so many different types of recovery and we’re going to cover some of what I think are the main ones.
1. Firstly, most importantly. Sleep.
Do you track your sleep? Maybe you should give it a try for a week or so if you don’t.
Getting consistent hours of sleep each night is a huge factor in recovery. It’s where your body actually heals and repairs from the days training. Some quick tips to help sleep better are: Block out as much light as possible, limit noise, keep the bedroom at a cooler temperature, reduce screen time near bedtimes.
There is that much information on the internet these days to help, a quick 5min search will show you everything you need to know. Less/poor sleep= less/poor recovery. Which in turn leads to lower performance and worse, a higher risk of injury.
2. Secondly, food and eating enough!
Food is fuel. It’s as simple as that. Do you track your food?
It can be a bit daunting, to begin with but I highly suggest trying it for a week at least (I admit I’m lazy in terms of tracking but it did open my eyes when I was). You will be surprised how much you actually need to eat to fuel your body. Now I’m not a huge fan of “diets”, but I am a fan of eating the right foods. We all know burgers aren’t good for us and the vegetables are. So, eating burgers every day would obviously hinder the recovery process. I’m not saying we need to cut out bad foods completely, I’m just saying we need to limit them. It’s all about balance, but we’ll dig a little deeper into this later on.
3. Stretching / mobility work
I’ve grouped these two together as they are done together. Let me ask you, how much time do you put into stretching/mobility work OUTSIDE of the gym?
It doesn’t take much to sit on the floor and stretch or jump on a trigger ball/foam roller instead of the couch. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to people to roll their lats out or jump into a couch stretch and nothing gets done. By the way, how do you think the couch stretch got its name? you can actually do it on the couch! As coaches we can ask and ask, it may get annoying but it’s because we can and we know the benefits it will bring. Just 10mins a day would make a world a difference.
4. Active recovery
Today’s latest buzz words. What actually is active recovery? For me, it’s moving just enough to help my body recover and prepare for the next session. We see all the big-time athletes posting up their “active recovery” workouts on social media and we think we’re the same.
Tell me, would you consider this workout active recovery… EMOM 20, min 1: 15cal bike, min 2: 15 burpees. Some would, but me, not a chance. Active recovery could be as simple as going for a walk at lunch or after work. In terms of being in the gym, for me, it’s pedaling on the assault bike for 5-20mins at a conversational pace. Meaning I’m not getting out of breath. It’s something that warms your body up without hitting fatigue.
5. Mental Breaks
Sometimes, we can only do so much. So much of the gym life. Sometimes we just need to shut off. That could be laying on the couch watching Netflix, reading a book or catching up with friends. That could also be having that donut (insert your favorite cheat meal) you said you weren’t going to have because it’s cheating on your diet. If it lets you relax a little bit then, by all means, have the donut, have the burger, have the beer, satisfy the need, enjoy it, feel good about it and move on. We all remember it’s about the balance, don’t we?
To wrap things up.
Next time you want that back squat PB,
Next time you want to beat your Fran time,
Next time you want to play with your kids without something aching,
Next time you want to get out of bed pain-free,
How much are you putting in outside of the gym to help your own cause?
Thanks for reading, let me know how you go !