We have all been told that the more exercise we do the better we will be in terms of weight loss. However, this may not necessarily be the case because if you want to keep going and keep progressing, then it is absolutely essential to let your body recover.
Recovery is crucial as this is the period of time when your body repairs and strengthens itself in between workout sessions. Without this adequate recovery your body can then actually begin to become weaker and can lead to overtraining syndrome, if it is not allowed to repair and properly recover. Along with that, some of the recovery is also psychological, as certain workouts can be quite mentally taxing as well as physically.
Building in rest days can therefore be particularly important for us more recreational athletes, as it can help us to maintain a better balance between home, work and our fitness or weight loss goals.
What Happens During Recovery?
The recovery period we have is generally where the body can repair itself and really adapt to the intense stresses that it has been placed under during a workout. The body can also replenish its energy stores and rehydrate during recovery, as it is the time in which we can refuel ourselves with the correct nutrition and fluid we need for recovery.
Without this the body will consequently remain in a state where the body will breakdown lean tissue following intense exercise and leave you in a worse physical and mental condition compared to the start.
How Do I Optimise My Recovery?
To optimise your recovery as much as possible there are a few steps that need to be taken that will help you get back to full health, ready for your next recovery. Here are my top 5 tips that are important for your recovery.
Following an intense workout in which you may have sweat lots, it is then critical to replace the fluids and sodium lost in sweat. This is because water is crucial to all major metabolic functions and nutrient transfer in the body. Consequently, rehydrating with plenty of sodium rich water is critical to begin the recovery process and help get the body functioning at it full capacity once again.
An intense exercise session requires us to use a lot of energy to perform to the best of our ability. Consequently, you will find that after such a workout, our energy stores will be depleted. Refuelling the body is therefore very important to replenish the energy stores, repair lean muscle tissue and improve strength. The best and most effective way of beginning this process is to try and consume high-quality protein and some complex carbohydrates within 60 minutes of finishing a workout, as this is the time where the muscles are craving nutrients needed for their repair and recovery.
Time is possibly the best healer of all, whether it is for an injury or illness, the same applies for after an intense workout. Giving your body time to repair, recover and recuperate is one of the best things you can do as our bodies have an amazing capacity to take care of itself if given enough time.
Time gives your body a chance to let different processes occur such as letting your energy stores replenish and hydration levels return to normal which will then allow you to continue with normal functioning.
Massage is a great way to properly help the muscles recover from a hard workout. This is because massage feels good and is very good at removing the waste products from cells and stimulating the skin receptors, of which can help reduce the feeling of pain and perception of effort.
Good Quality Sleep
Along with some rest during the day, sleep is a brilliant healer and can do wonders for your body in terms of recovery. Namely, during sleep your body produces growth hormone which is highly responsible for lean tissue growth and repair.
Additionally, if we have only 1 less hour of sleep per night then cortisol levels can increase. Cortisol is a hormone that can affect peoples’ appetite and has a direct effect on increasing fat storage. Consequently, it vitally important for our health and waistlines that we get good quality sleep each night.
So there you have it, not only is rest very nice, but it is also essential if you want to keep functioning and performing to the best of your ability both inside and outside the gym.