Most people who train on a regular basis understand the many physical and psychological benefits of working out. We see and feel the positive influence it has on our overall health and well-being. However, what we appreciate to a much lesser extent is the importance and the role that rest and recovery play in our training.
We put so much effort into planning our sessions each week but much less thought goes into what happens in the time in between. If you worked out for an hour today, what were the other 23 hours of your day made up of and have you recovered adequately? To put this into a wider perspective, imagine that you trained every day this week for 1 hour. That’s 7 hours out of a total of 168 hours in the week. So, you have put the most effort into planning 4% of your time but haven’t sufficiently addressed the other 96%.
A common misconception that I come across is the belief that “the more training I do, the better results I will get”. While this is true to a degree, past a certain point we may experience adverse effects. It all comes down to your individual minimum effective dose. How much training do you need to do to meet your goals? We need to shift the focus from the quantity of the training that we do to the quality. Here at CoachPACT.com we adopt a minimal effective dose (MED) approach to ensure that you get the most out of your training. We also incorporate enough rest and recovery into your programme so that you can continue to master your health and performance for the long haul. It is important to remember that any increase in training needs to be accompanied by an increase in recovery and that “more is not better but simply, better is better”. This is essential to long-term success.
So why do we need rest and recovery, in one word “adaptation”. That is the goal of training, to get slightly better each time and to allow your body to adapt to the training stimulus. Remember that adaptation does not occur during the workout but in the hours and days following it. If we think of it as a cycle, we train, we experience fatigue, we recover and we adapt before training again. When it comes to rest and recovery there are two major components that have the biggest influence. These are sleep and nutrition. If these are not addressed then our adaptation will be compromised and we will see diminishing returns over time and not achieve the results we wish.
We’ve all heard of the recommendation that we should get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep each night. This can differ for each individual but what is equally important as the duration is the quality. What I mean by this is the amount of deep sleep or rapid eye movement (REM) that we have each night. This is where the real repair processes of the body occur. Not getting enough sleep can increase levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can slow down healing and increase the risk of injury. It also lowers levels of growth hormone that help repair the body.
We also need to fuel our body adequately every day to train and recover optimally. The most important macronutrient in this regard is protein. Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle. They help to build, repair and maintain muscles mass. A general recommendation for people who are training is to aim for between 1.5 and 2 grams of protein per kg body weight each day. For example, a 75kg male having 2g of protein would need 150g. This ideally should be spread throughout the day with each meal to attain the best results.
So, to conclude just have a think about your rest and recovery, is it adequate? and remember when training “more is not better, better is better”.