The Importance of Recovery
For many people, training can be enjoyable and addictive. However, clocking up 4, 5 or even 6 sessions a week, every week, will inevitably take its tole on your body and mind. This is where the importance of recovery comes in.
There are a great number of motivators for spending hours of your week training to achieve your goals. Whether it’s to become better at a specific sport, to lift bigger numbers in the gym or to increase your health and fitness for the longterm. But, away from training, are you allowing your body enough recovery time to compensate for the stress it’s been put through? I’d like to share with you the three signs I have noticed when I haven’t allowed my body to recover sufficiently from physical activity. You may well recognise the symptoms yourself.
The Importance of Recovery: Three signs your body needs more recovery time
Lack of energy during the day
This is a big one. You have had a rest day from training, followed a balanced diet, achieved 7-9 hours of sleep. Why then have you found yourself struggling mentally and physically the next day at work and home? Your body may be telling you that it needs more time to rest and recover. That single rest day perhaps wasn’t enough.
The impact of training intensely will differ from person to person according to their ‘training age’. For example, a beginner who is new to training will respond differently to an experienced individual who’s been training for 10 years. The advanced individual can produce a higher level of intensity in their output compared to the beginner. It will therefore take them longer to recover than the beginner.
No enjoyment in training
You’re heading to the gym, focused on the session but negative thoughts start to infiltrate. “My legs are sore.” “I feel a lot less energetic than yesterday.” “I am mentally drained.” “I’ll just have to grind it out!” These are a few things I have said to myself before training. I’ve then had a horrible session! Heading home annoyed with myself, I’ve wished I’d just rested or taken the session a bit easier.
Now, don’t get me wrong, some days are going to be a grind. These are occasions where it’s more an issue of mind over matter rather than actual fatigue. I’m talking about those days when the weight seems a little heavier than normal but you can still move with good technique. Where technique is compromised and injury could result, I would always advise calling it a day for that movement (or the session entirely depending on how you feel). If the session isn’t going well, and believe me I’ve been there, stress levels can build and the enjoyment of training disappears. Why let it get to this?
Lack of Sex Drive
Sex is something us humans enjoy from time to time, if we aren’t too fatigued from the working day! At times, I’ve experienced a lack of sex drive when I was just completely exhausted at the end of a long day, even when I hadn’t trained. The energy I had for the day was channelled towards coaching, programming, writing blogs, learning stimulus etc. Then, when I arrived home, all I wanted to do was sleep. Safe to say, these occasions didn’t go unnoticed! I have therefore learnt to keep away from that feeling of burn out so I still have enough energy for when I do get home.
The Importance of Recovery – My Top Tips:
- Be mindful of your nutrition: eat good sources of protein, fats and carbs in your food every day.
- Aim to sleep between 7-9 hours every night.
- If you experience a huge, unexpected dip in energy, take it easy that day with some light, active recovery work (walk your dog for 30 minutes, jog, bike, row, keep it simple). Stick to a pace where you could hold a conversation throughout.
- Consider taking one or more complete rest days, consecutively if need be. Always listen to your body!
If you are lacking guidance in your training regime, have questions regarding nutrition and lifestyle, then contact me at LiftOff Gym. Contact details below.
Coach Sam Saunders