Monthly Archives: March 2017
Rest and recovery; the R & R’s of the fitness world. Most may think they are the same thing- and while they are both critical elements of any successful training program- they are also the least utilized.
First, a little math
- The average person may train about 4- 8 hrs/ week
- This leaves you with 152-156 of non-training hours/ week to rest & recover
You would think that’s more than enough time to recharge and be ready to hulk-smash that next workout, yet there are some that will be walking into the gym and dragging through their workout.
Rest: according to Merriam- Webster
1: repose, sleep; specifically: a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities
2a: freedom from activity or labor
b: a state of motionlessness or inactivity
c : the repose of death
3: a place for resting or lodging
4: peace of mind or spirit
Most of these (except for 2c) are a combination of time that is spent sleeping and not training. It is also the easiest to understand and implement.
Recovery: encompasses many aspects and refers to techniques and actions that are taken to maximize the body’s repair. Recovery involves different systems in our body that require time to repair, these include muscle repair, chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, and mental & spiritual.
For most, the goal should be to have a a good balance between exercise, nutrition, and rest & recovery. Make heath and fitness a priority without personal sacrifice. Don’t be afraid to enjoy a night out with friends, or a piece of your own birthday cake. Unless you are a professional athlete, don’t overwhelm yourself with perfection.
- Get enough sleep. Although different for everyone, the recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours. Sufficient sleep helps to with mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery.
- Here’s some tips on improving your sleep quality
2. Keep Hydrated. Water is critical to our bodily functions. It aids in nutrient uptake, helps regulate body temperature, protects and moisturizes the joints, and aids in riding the body of toxins. Drinking adequate amounts of water is critical to health, energy, recovery, and performance. The easiest way to check for dehydration is in the color of your urine. If it is a dark yellow, then you definitely need to increase your intake.
3. Nutrition. Everything you eat has the ability to help heal your body, or to hurt it. Eating clean and balanced meals in moderation, and reducing the amount of processed foods is proven to be effective to remain healthy and increase performance. Pay attention to how your body reacts to the types of foods you consume. I believe that unless you have a reaction to it or an underlying issue, there’s no need to cut out specific food groups. Including variety in your food choices will make it easier to eat healthy.
4. Stretching. You should be able to move your joints through their full range and be pain free. If you can’t then that means that your flexibility is being compromised. Having a desk job can contribute to tight hip flexors and bad posture, so be sure to include dynamic stretching in your warm-ups and save the static stretching for after your workouts. Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility.
5. Self-Myofascial Release. This works by finding tight muscle areas, applying pressure to those trigger points to release the tightness, and then ahhhh!! This can be done with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or your hands. (Just an fyi if you’re new to it: self-myofascial release is painful at first, but so, sooo good afterwards)
6. TLC For Those Injuries. It goes without saying that if you have an injury, your rest and recovery will be longer. Remember to use the typical heat, ice, compression, elevation for any injury you may have. The more tlc you show it, the faster your recovery.
And that’s it. Ensure that your body gets the care it needs. The fact that you are already exercising is great, and with enough time to recuperate, your hard work in the gym will surely show!
Happy Training 🙂
To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
“What should I do today?”
“Legs.. I’ll do deadlifts. No, wait..maybe some squats..when was the last time I did squats?”
If you’re deciding what your workout will be as you’re walking into the gym.. then I’m sorry to say.. but
In order to see any results you need to have a structured program. Walking into the gym, let alone trying to reach any goals without a fitness plan, is like trying to drive in a foreign country without a map; you will eventually get somewhere, but where you end up may or may not have anything to do with where you actually wanted to be. Without a proper fitness plan you have no way of tracking your progress, and no way of knowing if you will reach your goals.
The Right Way
Write down your goals. This is the first step to create a fitness plan. Do you want to reach a certain PR in your deadlifts? Do you want to chisel your back? Maybe you just want to feel comfortable on the beach. Whatever your reason is to workout you need a structured fitness plan to get you there. Once you’ve established what you want to accomplish, you need to create a ‘map’ to get you there, these are your short-term goals. Short-term goals are mileposts on the way toward your long-term goal.
- Long term goal: doing 12 unassisted chin-ups
- Short term goals:
- wk 1-4: build muscle strength by doing band assisted chin-ups
- wk 5-8: work on holding your weight- negative chin-ups
- wk 9-12: 3 unassisted chin-ups x 2 sets, 1.5min rest between sets (add 1 set per week)
- wk 13-16: 4 unassisted chin-ups x 3 sets, 1.5 min rest between sets
- wk 17+ : gradually increase reps per set, until 12 straight reps achieved
Establishing a fitness plan eliminates the guess work and tracks your progress. Having a schedule to follow helps eliminate the “I’ll do it tomorrow” thought pattern and holds you accountable. Once you get into the habit of following a plan, you’ll see how easier it is to get through your workouts which in turn helps motivate you to succeed. Also by having a visual record of your progress means you can actually see how far along you’ve come, which is always motivating.
Keep It Simple
It doesn’t need to be fancy (unless that’s your style). Simply having a small journal with your workouts written in them and space to write in reps, sets, weight, is enough. The main point is to make it a habit.
And that goes for any goals in general. The only way to ensure you reach them is by writing them doing, creating a ‘map’ & then following it. It eliminates any guess work, helps you be prepared for any obstacles you may encounter, and serves as a visual record of how far you’ve come and how much closer you are to your end point.
And that’s that.
Happy Training 🙂