More is always better… more training, more reps, and more weights. But is it? Not necessarily. The frequency and intensity of your training should always be managed in a manner that allows for sufficient recovery. I say “sufficient”, because recovery time varies between individuals. There are no set rules for how much or how long your recovery should be. Beginners may only be able to train 2-3 times a week while professional athletes can train 2-3 times a day! In all cases, the goal is to recover enough so that you can maximize performance in your next workout without any added risk of injury.
Let’s start by differentiating between the different forms of recovery: Passive and Active Recovery.
This is the time when you are not training or doing any physical activity. Examples are sleeping, sitting on your sofa, sitting at your desk and so on.
This involves taking specific actions you maximize your body’s ability to repair itself. AR covers your physical, mental and emotional aspects. Examples include nutrition, hydration, stretching, meditation, and stress management.
Now that we’ve defined recovery, how do we know if we are getting enough of it? The list below gives you a few indicators that you’re NOT recovering enough.
– Your performance is decreasing
– Your muscle soreness lasts for more than 2-3 days
– You’re getting injured more frequently
– Your sleep quality is getting worse (this can also be the cause of your under-recovery. See our post on optimizing your sleep)
– You have frequent mood swings, struggle to concentrate, lose motivation, or lose appetite
So how can you improve your recovery? After all, no one likes being sore all the time! This is a huge subject, but we’re giving you the cliff notes version (you’re welcome 😉).
6-8hrs of uninterrupted sleep daily. Be consistent.
Stay hydrated and consume high quality, nutrient rich foods throughout your day to replenish your body. Remember your micronutrients.
Chronic stress caused by overwork causes your body to breakdown over time. Identify your main stress drivers and find ways to reduce them.
On your non-training days, add some low intensity activity such as walking, riding a bicycle, swimming or even yoga.
They will, among other things, help lengthen your muscles, reduce stiffness and improve blood circulation. All these factors will reduce muscle soreness