Rest, recovery, and nutrition are 3 simple things that are
essential to every person's health and fitness. Everybody knows this, yet there are not many people that actually
implement rest, recovery and proper nutrition in order to take care of their health and perform at their highest level.
It’s crucial to plan rest and recovery time into your training program or you'll risk burning out. What you may not know is, that there is a difference between rest and recovery. If you're like us, at Absolute Fitness, and you enjoy training at a high
intensity, rest and recovery is vital to your performance.
Here’s a few tips to improve your rest and recovery:
Rest can simply be stated as time spent not training and the time you spend sleeping. Sounds easy enough, but so many people out there are on 4-5 hours of sleep, constantly drinking coffee or energy drinks, and are on the verge of exhaustion. We can't be like that! In order to make progress in the gym, we need to sleep.
The amount of sleep needed depends on who you are and what your fitness goals are. For your average Joe or Jane it’s recommended getting 6-8 hours of sleep.. and that's a minimum. If you’re an athlete that’s really pushing your body to the limits, sleep is more important and it’s recommended you get a minimum of 7-10 hours of sleep.
A few tips to help yourself get better sleep:
Start by turning off electronics, anything with artificial light, at least 1 hour before bed.
Do something relaxing before going to sleep, such as reading a book.
Finally, try and get into a routine of when you go to bed and when you wake up. The more rest you have, the better your body will be able to recover from all the stress you place on it.
Hydration is next on the list of recovery. You must be properly hydrated to recover well. Water helps all of our functions,
including nutrient uptake, lowering levels of stress on the heart, and improved skin tone.
As a rule of thumb to make sure you’re properly hydrated, pay attention to your urine. If it’s clear or a pale yellow you’re hydrated. If your pee is dark yellow then you need more water. Drinking sports drinks or adding flavoring, only adds to what your body has to process, causing it more stress.
Proper recovery requires us to be properly hydrated. We need to drink adequate amounts of water.
Nutrition is a huge part of your recovery. As we’ve mentioned before, if your eating poor quality food, your body has poor quality material to work with and you will get poor results.
Make sure you're eating nutritious food that will help repair your body. I recommend eating a diet that is well balanced with an even amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
A few tips to help keep a balanced nutrition plan:
Make a meal plan so you’re not tempted to eat out. A meal plan doesn't have to be extravagant to work. Keep it simple and repetitive, that way it's easy to stick with.
Have healthy snacks on the go that you enjoy, that way you don't hit up a McDonalds when you get a little hungry.
Limit the amount of times that you eat out and when you do eat out, make smart choices that will not derail you from your fitness goals.
Your nutrition should be full of quality, nutrient-rich foods to ensure your body has good material to work with.
Foam rolling and trigger points
Sometimes tight muscles develop trigger points and need a little help to return to normal healthy tissue.
To accomplish this we use a variety of tools, but typically a foam roller and/or a lacrosse ball will do the trick. Using these tools is one of the easiest ways to loosen tight muscles and release trigger points. It’s important to note that trigger points will not release on their own simply by trying to "stretch them out". Don’t wait until tight and sore muscles become painful and/or develop into an injury.
It takes time and practice to learn how to identify where
trigger points are and how to release them, but it will pay off in the long run.
Once you release trigger points and loosen up tight muscles, you can move onto the next element of recovery which is stretching.
Stretching, to most people, is holding a stretch for 10-15 maybe even a 20 second count, but that’s only scratching the surface. In order to make meaningful change to soft tissue, it requires a minimum of 1 min of continuous pressure. As you get more length and endurance for stretching, you can start adding more time to the stretch. Depending on how flexible you want to become, focus on building up to 30 sec, then up to 1-3 minutes. Then, build up to 5+ minutes at a time.
Stretching in this manner may sound pretty intense, at first, and yes it is, but it takes time to change your body. Stretching for 10-20 seconds at a time just won’t do it.
Make sure you get enough sleep
Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water
Keep your nutrition up to par
Actively look for trigger points and tight muscle fibres
Work your way up to stretch for a minimum 1 min or more on tight muscles or muscle groups.
Rest and recovery is a little more complicated than just taking time off from training. The more you practice rest and
recovery, the easier it will get.
If you're not doing any type, of rest and recovery at the moment, I recommend that you don’t start by trying to do everything at once as you may become overwhelmed.
Taking care of your body is a lot of work! Instead, start by tackling the first and second points and once you get a hold on them then add another, and another, until rest and recovery become second nature.
If you need a hand figuring out how to include one or more of these components into your fitness programming or to start training with us, please give us a call (403) 347-9669 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be more than happy to help.