If you look at some of the gym memes that are on the interwebs, you get an idea of what people think of rest days. I want to challenge that. Rest implies doing nothing, not doing the activity. Recovery is doing something, just like training. We train, we bust our asses to get better, why not get involved in the recovery process.
REST IS DOING NOTHING, RECOVERY IS DOING WORK!
Today we make recovery cool. Why? Simple, it helps you get better; its part of taking care of this awesome thing called your body.
Why focus on recovery?
The better you recover, the more you can get out of the training you are doing.
Good training, with optimal recovery. Gives better results than the same training with crap recovery.
So what is recovery?
It’s an active process; it’s not sitting on your ass playing call of duty or assassins creed (though it can be a part of it). Recovery has various components, so here’s the breakdown that I use.
The things you focus on every day to get better.
We need to sleep for various reasons. Restoration, to improve brain processing, which is important to consolidate memory and learning skills.
Lack of sleep can lead to poor judgement, poor memory and increased impulsiveness. All are factors that can hinder you in reaching your goals. Aside from those reasons. Lack of sleep leads to suppressed immunity, increased Cortisol and increased blood pressure. All which will take away from your health and performance.
Sleeping well leads to increased concentration, attention, decision making, creativity, learning and health.
Watch this awesome TED talk on why we sleep
Nutrition is the fuel for your body, what you eat affects how your body responds to the stresses you put on it. Give it the right nutrients and it performs better. A common sense approach to nutrition is a good place to start. Everyone should know what junk food is and what health is. Eat meats, vegetables and fruits. Drink water. The less processed shit you put into your body the better.
This is a simplistic view, but it is a good starting point. Getting professional guidance, from someone who knows what they are talking about, is a good investment in yourself. To help you reach your goals.
Dehydration affects your performance. Being well hydrated not only keeps your joints lubricated and healthy. It improves your mood. Improves digestion and the circulation of nutrients. Muscle tissue is 75% water. Being well hydrated is essential to your performance, recovery and health.
Moving well puts less strain on your body, by allowing you to do things efficiently. To move well your body should be in balance. You have to strengthen weaknesses, correct imbalances. There are many resources to help you with this. A good starting point is the MobilityWOD website and YouTube Channel . Learn what good movement is and fix your imbalances.
The recovery day
Things you do on your days off from sport or gym
This is the most important aspect in my opinion. The best thing is to do something that takes your mind off your primary training goal. This can be anything and its individual. It could be video games, partying (it has negatives though). It could be relaxing with friends or just a change of setting.
Do something that takes your mind off your goal, but that does not take away from your goal.
Alternate activities are a great way to recover. If you’re an active person sitting still can be difficult. Doing other activities like going to the beach, yoga or taking a walk in the forest. This can be a good way to relax while staying active, without taking away from your recovery.
An Important note: Recovery is earned
There’s a relationship between how you train and your recovery days. You must earn your recovery.
Work Hard so that you can recover hard.