The Importance of Recovery in Exercise
The important of rest during exercise or sport is so often overlooked and underestimated.
We’re always pushing for that extra rep or additional 5 minutes on the treadmill when in fact, if you were to take a break and then return to your particular activity, science has shown us you would be able to get those extra 10 reps, or extra 10 minutes in. This is because you allowed your body the time it needed, even if only short term, to recover enough to continue at a more consistent strength.
Much like our recommended recovery breaks throughout your day, we ask you to consider your exercise period to be a condensed version on your day. So instead of breaks every 90 minutes as you would throughout any 24 hour period, try taking a recovery break every 10 minutes or after each individual movement or set. This allows your muscles to refuel with oxygen rich blood and creatine phosphate, which is essential muscle energy! These breaks not only help to prevent muscle break down and over stress but also allow your lungs to catch up with the rest of your body’s needs, preventing you from overall exhaustion.
The Power of Rest Days
Rest days are one of, if not the most important days of your exercise regime. Your muscles require time to build strength and endurance. Each time you work a muscle, it breaks down key fibres that need time to be replenished. Giving your body time to re-grow these tissues and fibres is essential when growing, toning or even using your muscles to their full effect. Taking rest days also helps to prevent injury from over working and fights the feeling of fatigue so often ignored by dedicated athletes and fitness fans.
Ample times between work outs
Now, we’d all love to be able to say we hit the gym 6 times a week, but how realistic and healthy is that option really?
Well, that largely depends what muscle groups you worked in each session, how intense your work out was and how long you worked out for. That’s a lot of factors to consider so to make it simple, you need to wait a minimum of 24 to 48 hours between training the same muscle group. Muscles, like any other part of the human anatomy, take time to heal and every time you work a muscle, you create tiny tears in the tissue that need time to heal before you go and do it all over again. Working a damaged, strained or tired muscle is a fast track way to cause yourself harm, putting you out of the game for even longer. Working out too continually and repetitively and straining over worked muscles not only increases your risk of injury but also puts you at risk for a number of conditions, including Overtraining Syndrome (OTS), a disorder effecting the nervous system. Now as much as we all think “that would never happen to me!”, it can and is a very real threat for a lot of athletes. Why do you think athletes start training years in advance for their event? Building muscle, resistance and strength takes time and patience, think like an athlete, plan with good time and set yourself realistic goals.
Constant Wake Time
Choose a constant wake time which you stick to everyday, this should be at least 90 minutes before you have to work or complete other daily commitments. This allows your body to get into a routine and therefore allows you to plan your day with ease. If you attend a gym or train in a specific environment, this is significantly easier as it’s likely you have a schedule in place and attend at approximately the same time each day/session. If this isn’t the case, we recommend adapting your day to fit more of a scheduled routine as it allows you ample time throughout the day to prepare yourself and your body with everything it needs to excel before, during and after your workout.
Constant Sleep Time
Establishing a constant sleep time that allows for at least 5, 90-minute cycles of sleep (7.5 hours) is the optimal way to reach peak human performance levels on all fronts. A constant sleep time allows for a consistent and natural sleep routine to form and when coupled with a constant wake time, provides you with a solid foundation for each day. Getting enough sleep is essential for key muscle group recovery as well as mental and overall physical well-being. Combine this with a solid pre and post sleep routine and you’re well on your way to improved performance, without any real effort, just good rest.