I have a confession to make. As I sit here writing this on Friday morning, I just completed my first training session of the week. Even worse, this is only my second training session over the last two weeks! I know , I know… I suck! I am wasting away one day at a time as my muscles atrophy. With the exception of my flexor digitorum and flexor pollicis longus muscles, I am a sinking ship. (how many people just googled those muscles? J)
The cool thing is, I actually feel stronger than I have in a long time. As a matter of fact I recently took some measurements and I gained 5 pounds. “What!” “You sloth!” My body fat percentage however, has not changed at all. That means one thing people. I have added lean body mass (muscle) and have gotten stronger… all with a 2 week break.
How does that happen? Won’t I lose my level of fitness if I take time off? The much overlooked art of recovery is the key to our training success. We now know more than ever before that the most important part of your training is actually that time spent in between training sessions. Rest, recovery, sleep, nutrition.
“You mean you are telling me not to exercise!” Don’t get too excited, that statement is far from the truth. What I am saying is that we need proper recovery. What I am NOT saying is that it is ok to sit around on your hands and watch the grass grow because, “I am in my recovery phase”.
Recovery phase or what we sometimes call “de-loading” is built right into your program. When we design training programs for our clients we periodize our programs. What that means is, we train through different phases such as strength phases, power phases, and hypertrophy phases. “Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period.” It is a way of alternating training cycles based on a desired outcome (result). The aim of periodization is to introduce new movements as one progresses through each cycle to help maximize results at specific times while minimizing plateaus and overtraining.
Often times we organically create our own recovery phases by “life” getting in the way. Traveling for business, taking vacations. In addition to the predetermined de-loading phases that your personal trainer has already built in, the above events often times fills that recovery period. The last thing you want to do during your “de-loading” phase is sit around and do nothing. This is your opportunity to get that massage that you have been talking about for months. We will often mix in different aspects of fitness that you might not get on a regular basis. Like throwing in some basketball or cycling. Include more mobility, and flexibility work into your program. Active recovery is a huge key to success.
So, sorry to get you excited about taking time off from training just to find out that we sneak those recovery phases into your program. There are still a lot of things that you need to do to maximize recovery and regeneration. You need to continue to eat clean, drink plenty of water, utilize soft tissue work such as massage therapy and get more than adequate amounts of sleep.
Great job with everything you all have accomplished to this point in 2013. Let’s keep cranking it up and continue to move the dial!
"Rest breeds rust" -Proverb
"Leisure is the time for doing something useful. This leisure the dilligent person will obtain the lazy one never"- Benjamin Franklin
Living Life with No Excuses… No Regrets!
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