An often overlooked aspect of training, is recovery. And in fact it is the most important aspect of training that there is. If you are not recovering then you are only digging deeper and deeper holes and will gain nothing…
Lets look at how training works…
When you train (strength, endurance or what have you) you are introducing stress into your system. The training must be intense enough to cause your body to go into a certain state of “shock”. The body must see the situation as an emergency. if it does, it will then begin the process to “upgrade” your system to handle this new level of stress “in case it happens again”. In order for this to happen, you must give your body time to recover, this is when the build up phase occurs. If you do not recover, you will keep making inroads digging deeper holes and you will crash or get hurt, but you will not make gains.
So how do you tell you are not recovering?
What are the signs?
Here are some common symptoms:
- General fatigue (battery drained)
- Difficulty concentrating
- “Heavy legs”
- Muscle soreness
- Loss of desire to train
When you are feeling any of these things strongly (strongly being and important word here) then your training should be recovery training. You must resist the urge to add more stress to your system, instead you practice stress relief and release training until these are alleviated.
Here are some great stress release/recovery training examples:
- Warrior breathing methods
- Joint mobility
- Muscle relaxation (what others call “stretching”)
- Flow training
- Hot tub/bath epsom salts
- Steam room
- Hot shower
Make sure to eat enough protein (about 1 gram per lean pound of body weight i.e. if you weigh 200 lbs and have 15% body fat you have 170 lbs lean mass so 170 grams of quality protein per day) This in my experience and research is the minimum protein requirement for hard trainers especially if you have a busy life. Make sure to get plenty of water as well.
The following vitamins are vital as well:
- C at least 1,000 (up to 3,000) milligrams per day
- Magnesium average 450 milligrams
- E 800 I.U.
- Good quality multivitamin/mineral 2 per day (morning and then evening)
These are a bare minimum that I would suggest.
You must take into consideration your lifestyle and stress levels as well. For example, at the time of this writing, I was due for a strength conditioning workout, but if I did the planned workout, it would have done more bad than good. In my case it wasn’t last week’s workouts that drained me, it was the last four days of work on top of my workouts, my martial arts training and teaching and house/yard chores. I felt just like the little battery indicator on a phones in the red.
So my workout tonight was a recovery workout, mobility, fascia release with a knobby ball, muscle relaxation, breathing and a hot shower. Remembering that I am training for life, I adjusted my schedule to fit my needs rather than blindly following a “program” out of rote dedication or “mental toughness”.
So, don’t forget recovery is king! Always adjust your schedule to make sure you have recovered and don’t forget, recovery training is STILL training!