If you are someone that is struggling to meet your goals, are not getting enough sleep, consistently feeling tired, unmotivated and seem to have a never ending list of injuries. Your body maybe trying to tell you that you need to make recovery a priority in your training regime.
When thinking about recovery all you need to remember is these three points: Rest, Restore and Rebuild.
Sleep: Your body and brain recover when sleeping
Goal: Consistency, Quality and Quantity
Here are a couple of tips to help manage this:
• Develop a consistent pattern of sleeping and waking, try to do this on the weekends as well. I like to set my alarm on my phone 1 hour after I would normally get up on a working day, that way I still get a lay in but I get the benefits of having a more productive day.
• Ditch the screens at least 1 hour before bed – The light given off from the screens on your TV, Laptop and Phones keeps your brain active.
• If you struggle to sleep because you have a busy mind. Try writing things and notes down on a pad or notebook so that you can really empty your mind of everything that is floating around. Not only is this productive it gives you that reason to switch off that TV or phone a little earlier before you go to bed.
Stressors can happen daily whether large or small they have the same effect on the brain. Our culture has adopted stress as a norm, which has increased the rates of disease and illness. For anyone with a fitness goal, this will stunt your progress.
Goal: What Will You Do To Manage Daily Stressors?
1 Identify what is in Your Control (what you can and cannot change)
2 Decide what is most important to you and keep this in focus
3 Prioritise Your Responsibilities
4 Choose What You Will Dwell On/Think About Getting the focus off of myself by helping others train, works really well for me, yes this is easier for most of us here as we are trainers but, simply helping someone with anything day to day will give the same effect.
Restore your energy and vitality with a recovery workout, basically don’t let yourself go stagnant if you cant make that extra PT session. You would only need to do this once weekly but the benefits of this on the body and mind will keep you focused and motivated.
Aerobic training sessions increase blood flow, oxygen delivery and enzyme activity. This promotes healing and muscle growth. By doing this extra “sweaty session”, you start all of the little mechanisms of the body flowing to heal the big changes you may have made in your PT sessions. Your pace should allow you the ability to talk to a friend throughout the entire session.
Here is how to plan a session, it doesn’t have to take you longer than 30 minutes.
Choose 1-2 low-impact cardio exercises, Bodyweight squats and Press ups for example.
Choose 1-2 core exercises, not only are these low impact and little to no stress on the joints, you can focus on that much needed core engagement which we try promote here at Team Breakthrough so heavily. You could pick something like a plank or a dead bug, if you don’t know these moves very well just come and ask us.
Then maybe put one more move on the end, based around what you want to achieve or something you know you want to get better at so you are forced to practise. This could be like a single leg sit to stand (use your sofa) or maybe even skipping.
Do each move for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds rest and just rotate through your chosen exercises. If you want some more inspiration with this again just come and ask us.
Goal: Learn a few mobility drills & implement them into your schedule for a minimum of 5 minutes daily or as often as you can manage.
Mobility exercises support recovery by reducing soreness, muscle fatigue and bring vital nutrients to the muscles via increased circulation. If you have trained with me I like to do a mobility drill at the start of each workout, try remembering it, or ask me to write to down for you so you can take it home.
Goal: Focus on Nutrient, Vitamin & Mineral Amounts.
Exercise depletes nutrient stores through sweat and muscle breakdown. Therefore it is imperative to have adequate amounts to support exercise and growth.
Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, Water, Vitamins & Minerals are all important. Choose non-processed, biologically active sources (high in vitamins and minerals), but be careful not to be restrictive I.e Carbs are not bad as long as its in moderation.
A few tips:
Protein: Consume within 1 hour of finishing a workout
Increase Magnesium-Rich Foods:
Vital in muscle contraction, heart rhythm, oxygen delivery, protein synthesis and nerve impulses. There has been evidence of improved cardiorespiratory function & strength in healthy individuals and athletes, who meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium.
400mg daily for men ~ 300mg daily minimum for women
Here are some examples of foods high in Magnesium.
Almonds (1 oz. = 23pieces, 76mg)
1 Banana (32mg)
½ cup cooked spinach (78mg)
½ cup chopped kale (16mg)
5 dried figs (25mg)
Pumpkin seeds (1 oz., 150mg)
½ cup brown rice (23mg) = 424 mg
• Limit dairy and sugar: These also increase inflammation in the body. To meet calcium requirements, look to green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach, salmon or fortified almond or coconut milk.
• Moderate your Alcohol Consumption: Yes, alcohol is toxic. It strains the liver, does not have calories that can be used for energy ( they get stored as fat), hinders sleep patterns and increases inflammation.
Spending some additional time focusing on rest and recovery can pay dividends beyond additional training time. It’s essentially legal performance enhancement, yet people don’t take advantage of it because it takes time. Dedicating additional time primarily to the three categories of sleep, hydration, and nutrition will increase your output ability, decrease recovery time, and lower your risk of injury. Most people miss the mark because they don’t want to dedicate time to the little things that matter most. Don’t ignore your body until it becomes too late and you’re forced to take unnecessary time off due to injury, burnout, or worse.