Why are rest and recovery so important?

Most people are happy to train when it comes to the boring parts like rest and recovering, it is a different story, most of the time it is put on the back burner to “I’ll do it another day”

We need to remember that rest and recovery are just as important as your exercise, it is an essential part of your routine, and it enables your body to repair and rebuild post-workout so that you get the results you are after.

Everyone is unique in how their body recovers, the niggles and pains will be different depending on your age, what type of sport, and how hardcore the training is.

All in all, the fundamental basics are, if you take part in any sport your body is being put through stress each time, and you’re pushing yourself beyond the average level of fitness.

During exercise, especially weightlifting, and high-intensity training you are tearing the muscles over time, as the muscle heals it grows bigger and stronger to protect itself.

The magic happens during the rest and recovery phase NOT while exercising.

To see progress in your training and to keep the body in optimal condition you MUST give the muscles time to repair themselves.

• Active recovery is one way to repair, this boosts blood flow, which helps remove waste products from soft tissue that have been broken down by intense/heavy exercise. Fresh blood circulates throughout the body and then delivers nutrients that help repair and rebuild muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Jogging, Cycling, or Swimming. This is also a perfect time to use a foam roller, stretching, or massage as your body is warm and very receptive
• Nutrition for recovery is very important to get the correct amount of nutrients and calories into the body to replenish what has been used. I have seen a lot over the years of people who do not realize the importance of overall nutritional healing for supporting recovery. During short-term recovery, consuming the right food and water after exercise helps replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles and optimizes protein synthesis.
• Supplementation post-workout can get the right nutrients into your muscles to aid recovery, adding supplements to your routine can help speed up the muscle recovery process, promote muscle repair, and reduce muscle mass breakdown and soreness so you can optimize your athletic performance.
• Long-term recovery involves rest and recovery for longer periods.

This may be built into the training schedule due to the type of sport, like 2 days per week so you can replenish your stores, or it also may include days or weeks of rest and recovery due to training which is a whole other avenue (this is what we don’t want).

Signs of overtraining may be higher body fat percentage, risk of dehydration, a lower sex drive, and mood swings.

It can cause complete mental burnout, feelings of stress and depression. Also, other signs that may include overdue rest and recovery are agitation, moodiness, sleeplessness, poor appetite, increased colds/flu, and feelings of being run down.

You may notice that your normal training is taking more effort. When you see these later signs of overtraining, it not only means you may need to make sure that you are taking a few weeks of rest. It may mean you need to take even longer to catch up on some of the rest that you’ve missed.

Insufficient nutrients in the muscles can also cause the above symptoms.

If you are aware of your body, you can notice the signs quickly and respond.

Just take a day off, eat some good nutritious food and relax. Remember you will get the most out of your body if you treat and look after it correctly.

One of the most important tools in your bag is SLEEP because this is mostly where your muscles grow and repair.

Sleep deprivation can cause changes in your hormone balance, especially the stress hormone cortisol and it can also lower levels of human growth hormone, which is important for tissue repair.

When you are sleep deprived it can cause fatigue, decreased endurance, poor focus, and can increase the risk of injury.

The optimal amount of time sleeping is around 8 hours a night, getting yourself into a routine of relaxing before bed, switching off your phone, put your work away.

Establish a good bedtime routine so that your mind and body are prepared for sleep.

If you listen to the fitness and recovery equation your gains will come, so will your strength and endurance. Overall, you will increase your fitness levels.

For most of us, the main benefit is that we will be able to keep doing the things that we love to do, to live a long and happy active life.

We know that varied exercise has benefits for the body: the cardiovascular system, muscles, skeletal, and immune systems.

People in general who exercise regularly live longer and have better mental health, this is all we want for ourselves and our families, so let’s lead by example for everyone around us that looks up to us.

Make sure you have a log of your progress; this is a great way to keep control. Keep track of what you are doing, how you are recovering, also how you feel around your training schedule.

Stay on track, be mindful of your body and take care of yourself.


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