Lets face it, we are stressed, we may not know it but deep down we are. We work long hours, don’t get enough sleep and we make poor food choices. Throw in some coffee and alcohol and its clear to see what I’m getting at. All of these things stress our bodies and I haven’t even mentioned our day-to-day stresses like kids, bills and the world cup. As humans we learn to adapt to this and we build a stress tolerance and more often than not we are floating pretty close to that line.
Okay, so lets talk exercise, exercise is also a stress; it stresses the body to adapt yet again. Now this isn’t a bad thing, if anything, it is what we want. We want our bodies to adapt so that we get fitter, get stronger and more importantly improve our health. However, you throw too much exercise with not enough recovery and things turn sour pretty fast. I see too many people emptying the tank 5-6 times a week without allowing the body to recover. Training 5-6 times a week without supporting your body with the nutrition, sleep and overall rest it needs is a thankless task and you will find your progress stalling in both changes to your body and performance in the gym. You will make yourself fatigued; this leads me to one of the best quotes I have heard and the title of this blog
“Fatigue masks fitness”.
Fatigue is a trainee’s kryptonite. It’s a sign that you’re out of balance. Don’t let it frustrate you; use it to re-evaluate, to establish balance so that you can continue on the road you started out on.
So what’s the balance?
Here are my 4 simple steps to improve recovery. Try all four for two weeks and see how you feel.
- Eat wholesome, nutrient dense food – You can’t out train a bad diet and what’s more a bad diet can actually hold you up in your training. Make sure you give your body the fuel to perform.
- Drink lots of water – its scary how little water some people drink. Look what happens to a plant when you don’t water it. Also the more you train the more water you need. My rule of thumb is 1 litre of water for every 25kg of bodyweight. If you find yourself going to the toilet a lot try adding a pinch of Himalayan crystal salt to your water. It helps with absorption
- Get enough sleep – Sleep is when we recover from the day. A poor nights sleep can wreak havoc on your day let alone your training. A few simple rules to aid sleep are:
- Don’t eat within 2 hours of going to bed
- Sleep in complete darkness
- Turn off phones and electrical goods an hour before bed
- Take time to recover – In my opinion, you shouldn’t train hard more than 2 days in a row and hard sessions should be limited to 3-4 times per week. Now this doesn’t mean you sit in your backside, get out for a run, go for a walk, take the bike out for a spin, do yoga, do a mobility or regeneration session. Do whatever you want. You just need to change the intensity up and promote recovery.