Recovery is really, really important. I so so often see it overlooked as a part of someone’s program or training and their results hence suffer. But just how do we ensure we are adequately recovering between sets, sessions, weeks and months? There are a lot of factors here and hopefully I can shed some more light on them with this post.

  1. Nutrition – AKA food. Paramount to recovering is getting enough calories in. Assuming we are chasing performance goals then a small surplus of calories with moderate protein (1g/pound of bodyweight) and as much carbohydrate as possible (within your caloric allowance) is recommended. Current research doesn’t show a huge variance between different meal frequencies (eating lots of small meals or a few big ones) and only small benefits of adjusting meal timing (the post workout window thing isn’t a big deal). So really make sure you’re hitting the right amount of calories, protein, carbs and fats daily and this should be covered. At Strong Fast Fit we like flexible dieting (or IIFYM style approaches) but still recommend the majority of your food be nutrient dense selections, think lean meat, fibrous vegetables of all kinds, rice, potatoes, fruit, other grains, dairy, etc.If you want to read up some more on IIFYM or flexible dieting then check out some of the following:
    http://www.healthylivingheavylifting.com/
    https://www.biolayne.com/articles/nutrition/

    Good_Food_Display_-_NCI_Visuals_Online

  2. Weekly workload/volume. To keep it simple it is pretty much accepted that the more training we do, the greater the stimulus (and potential results). But the caveat here is that if we perform too much work, then we exceed our body’s ability to recover (we over-reach and eventually over train). This is actually a lot more simple than most people tend to think. Most of the time I like to make sure athletes have 1-2 reps left in the tank at the end of each and every set during training. On occasion we push very close to failure for several weeks followed by several easier weeks in order to allow them to recover. If we notice an athlete’s hunger levels, sleep patterns, general mood, muscle soreness (DOMS), or average bar speed is fluctuating (getting worse) we will add in an unplanned deload week.For most natural athletes FOUR training sessions of 1-2 hours each per week (not including mobility and warmups) seems to be plenty of work. Of course everyone’s work capacity is different and individual experimentation is the best way to decide what works for you. If you are very very easily recovering from your current work load I would suggest a slight increase and see how you go. The closer we can work to maximum recoverable volume (MRV) the greater the adaptations.Dr Mike Israetel from http://renaissanceperiodization.com/ is a fantastic source of information on all things training and I definitely recommend following him on FB for heaps of great training tips and to help better understand the concept of MRV and work capacity.
  3.  SLEEP. This is such a massive factor in recovery and potentially the most often overlooked. At Strong Fast Fit I tell every single one of my clients to aim for an absolute minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. Generally 8 hours is perfect with high level athletes often requiring 10 or more hours per night to recover from their training. There is an abundance of research articles indicating the importance of quality sleep for recovery. Essentially if you aren’t getting enough try making some changes and prioritizing a good night’s sleep for a few weeks and see how you’re training goes.If you have trouble falling asleep at night some great tips are:
    – Turn off all screens (phones, tablets, tv, etc 30 minutes before bed. Try to minimise exposure to artificial light in this time frame also.
    – Any number of basic diaphragmatic breathing exercises while laying in bed can help immeasurably. I personally find 5-10 minutes of conscious belly breathing puts me to sleep every time.
    -Avoiding caffeine after lunch time, especially if you are sensitive to it’s effects.
    – Eating dinner earlier and allowing more time between your last meal and going to bed. You shouldn’t be hungry, but being overly full can also impact the ability to fall asleep.

    eat-sleep-gym-repeat

 

There are many factors involved in the recovery process, but for most people paying increased attention to the above three can yield some pretty amazing results. Remember we are only as strong as our weakest link and neglecting any of the above will seriously hold you back in the long term. The old bodybuilding adage of “Eat, sleep, train, repeat” was actually pretty spot on after all. If you guys have questions, or comments please feel free to comment below or facebook us at www.facebook.com/strongfastfit.