Why is Recovery Important?
Why is Recovery Important?
A question that gets asked a lot but can be answered with a question in return.....How often would you like to train? The body is a wonderful thing and will naturally repair itself providing it with enough nutrients and proteins to repair the muscle damage performed during workouts or training. However, should you wish to train more often, then the recovery must be accelerated.
See, our muscles will not be growing or gaining strength whilst we workout. If they did then people would sleep at the gym! Our muscles grow in the resting phase by trying to adapt to the new stimulus we have put it under and repair the damage done. Scientists are starting to discover that actively investing in post workout recovery is just as, if not more important than the time you spend in the gym.
So in answer to the question above....you should want to recover as much as you would like to train. If you train twice per month for example, your body will do a pretty good job at recovering by itself. However if you really want to up your performance and look to train 3-4 times per week then you need to enhance your recovery regime in order to prepare yourself for that next session!
If you enhance your recovery, your body will adapt better to the stress you're putting yourself through and you may even get fitter for the same workout intensity and frequency.
Okay I'm on board, How can I optimise my recovery?
There are many factors into the effectiveness of your recovery routine;
- Mental Fatigute
- Warm Ups
- Cool Downs
- Massage Therapy
These are the fundamentals to recovery and we will cover these in separate topics to ensure we can address them individually. However here are a few quick recovery guides to go by;
- Sleep at least 8 hours per night.
- No alcohol consumption post training, try to limit alcohol entirely but especially on training days.
- Hydrate – make sure you drink at least 2L of water per day, possibly more, dependent on the amount of exercise undertaken. This should be spread out throughout the day, not at one time, our bodies cant take 5 litres in one go!
- Ensure your macro and micro nutritional intake required for your exercise or training program is adequate. Read our nutrition blog for detailed breakdown.
- Complete both a warm up session before exercise and cool down after any exercise. Ideally this should be specific to the task/training you are about to complete. The warm up and cool down should address movement in all three planes of motion, include dynamic stretches/movements, strengthening exercises and cardiovascular work.
- No static stretching pre exercise as it has been shown to reduce muscle strength, power and explosiveness.
- Manage workloads by concentrating on building training loads over several weeks. Progressive overload is key here, don't go guns blazing trying to increase PBs every session.
- Massage therapy – Can be used pre and post exercise to help with recovery with no effect on performance. Improvement with DOMS, joint range of motion and possibly flexibility can be seen.
- Compression garments – The use of compression garments appears to reduce the severity of DOMS and accelerate the recovery of muscle function.