Have you ever started a new fitness routine and been all gung-ho, full speed ahead! You jump in with everything you have and it becomes your new best friend. It’s what you think about while at work, you discuss it with all your friends and family until they’re rolling their eyes at you! Did you ever think of recovery or did your coach mention it?
You track your workouts and nutrition, taking care of the kids. family, house, work, and everything else on your plate. Super intense, crushing your workouts, you’re the epitome of focus.
You’re committed, possibly over committed at this point. Still going strong, pushing 5 days a week, for a few weeks. Then it starts to hit you… You’re exhausted, not thinking clearly, frustrated at work, you start yelling at your better half or kids, not sleeping well, and you start feeling aches and pains or you get sick.
Look, I’m all for intense workouts, focus, and sticking to the plan. These things are not necessarily the issue, the issue is not having balance. Not balancing your stressors with enough recovery is. Exercise causes stress, usually good stress but it’s still a stress. Add up a bad day at work, the kids not wanting to go to school, the car not starting, and then you go and try crush your workout.
All of those stressors add up. Looking at the example above it’s pretty easy to see that person would be stressed. You’ve probably seen a friend or coworker feeling this way. You can spot it in others but can you see it when it happens to yourself? How much and when you may need more recovery is going to vary by person and by the amount of outside stress your feeling at any point in time.
If you’ve had a couple days off from work, get rest, had a chance to chill out and do some things you love then your need for recovery with be less.
Changing your workout schedule or taking a day off isn’t a failure, it’s actually smart training. Recovery is where advances happen. Not recovering enough will stall your weight loss and muscle building. This doesn’t take into account the metabolic damage or hormone issue that overtraining(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/) can cause.
How do you know if you should take time to recover? You can either build it into your routine or you can wing it. Listen to your body, it will tell you! Are you lethargic, feeling achy, feeling frustrated, joints hurting? These are signs, you may have others. Start to tune in to what your body is telling you, it doesn’t lie. I personally like to wing it. I have also built up the ability to workout a lot.
I typically workout 6-7 days a week. When training for a show I may even do twice a day on some days. Keep in mind this is an extreme situation and doesn’t come without a downside, quite a few actually. But, I also really prioritize recovery!!
How often should you work out? This will depend upon how long you’ve been training, what type of workouts you do, nutrition, sleep, the other stress in your life. If you’re just starting out 3 days a week should be just fine for most people.
If you live by your schedule I suggest blending in flex time and having a couple of possible activities on days instead of just intense workouts. Have a workout and a form of active recovery planned that way you can pick one or the other depending upon how you feel that day.
For the techie folks or those that like information(like me) you can also use HRV technology. This will give you feedback on your CNS and make recommendations by cross referencing your stats with those of thousands, possibly millions of others sorted by gender and age. In addition, it’s extremely simple and fast to use.
You’re TOAST…now what? What can you do for recovery? Yoga, walking(especially in nature), foam rolling, massage, stretching, meditate, easy bike ride, playing with the kids or dog, gardening, a bath, reading, sex(true), or any other activity that you love that will not tax you physically.
Not sure how to work recovery in or if you need it? Send me a message and we work through it together.
We plan recovery into all programs, if you’re in the Algonquin/West Dundee area and looking for help reaching your goals to live your best life, shoot me a message.