Recovery is essential all the things that you do outside of training, it includes sleep and stress management which are vital to good health, but recovery also extends to enjoying your hobbies and making time for yourself. So getting 8 hours of sleep with good quality deep sleep is integral to recovery, as is going on a long walk which you enjoy, reading a book or spending time seeing your friends and family.
Stresses of Daily Life
Working Monday to Friday can be incredibly stressful and fast-paced for many, so this needs to be equalled by how you rest and recover.
You don’t have to physically train to be experiencing stress, but the nature of stress is that it places a demand upon the mind and body, whether that is a 100kg barbell on your back for squats or whether that is the workload you deal within your job.
Stress is still a burden, and the pioneering researcher on stress in biological organisms, Hans Selye, once said that “adopting the right attitude can turn negative stress into a positive one”. So stress is inevitable, but how we respond to it with our mindset and recovery is key.
Making Time for Yourself and Intuition
Making time to do the things you enjoy the most and relax is very important for your recovery. Improving recovery comes from developing intuition and awareness if you are aware that your recent schedule has been jam-packed, chaotic and whatnot, then you should use your intuition to find some time to rest and relax.
Do whatever you enjoy, it could be listening to music, reading, socialising, or walking. Whatever it is that gets you calm and relaxed is a recovery method for you.
It might be that you actively schedule some downtime in your week, or maybe you have to be flexible with work and recover as and when you can. Either way, get the recovery in!
The Body’s Rhythms
The body has its rhythms and cycles, just like as the world spins it creates a cycle of light and dark, day and night. For the body these are called ‘Circadian Rhythms’, meaning that the rhythms of the body occur in 24 hour time frames. Two important hormones follow these circadian rhythms, Cortisol and Melatonin.
Cortisol is widely known as the ‘stress’ hormone when we are stressed cortisol will be elevated, and cortisol functions to allow the body to survive by keeping us supplied with energy and staying alert. Cortisol’s rhythm should be highest in the morning and should be lowest when we are going to sleep or in the first few hours of sleep, so as cortisol rises we are awakening and becoming more alert for the day. Though, as night comes we want cortisol down so we can rest and get off to sleep.
Melatonin, on the other hand, is responsible for helping us to sleep, so Melatonin is low in the morning as we wake, but should be highest before sleep and in the first few hours of sleep.
Why is this key to knowing?
Well in order to sleep well and thus recover well, you have to be able to manage what goes on during the day. If you are stressed from the moment you get up to when you get back into bed…then there is no chance for your brain and mind to be calm or relaxed before trying to sleep. So being aware of your stress levels, trying to manage it as best you can and bringing yourself into a state of peace and calm before bed will be critical in getting your recovery as good as it can be.
What happens without sleep or recovery?
Sleep deprivation has many side effects, and it doesn’t take much of a decrease in sleep to start to see the problems associated.
Here are the key issues to be aware of from a lack of sleep:
- Decreased cognition, memory and mental functioning (2)
- Decreased insulin sensitivity (key for fat loss & blood glucose) (1)
- Decreased physical performance (i.e strength) and coordination
Taking charge of your recovery will be a massive beneficial step for your health. As mentioned, leading a stressful lifestyle or training hard requires you to put attention into how you recover. This includes your sleep, which is essential, but it extends to just making time to do the things you enjoy and which make you relaxed.
An engine won’t run unless there’s enough fuel to use…much like you can only effectively work if you have enough energy in the tank, and that starts with nailing recovery. The better your recovery the better you can operate well.
More in-depth individual advice on supplements can be given based upon consultations or a skinfold bodyfat measurement over various areas of the body, your answers and bodyfat site readings will help to determine what exactly it is that you need.
If you would like to book a Consultation with Roan, or explore the possibility of starting our online training programme, please head to our Consultations page for more info on how to do this.
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