Drum roll please……
And the secret is……
Bummed out? Disappointed that it’s not some quick-fix supplement cleanse, or some piece of equipment that you can use to physically melt fat? Well sorry, but actually taking the time to recover properly could just be the thing holding you back from some amazing results.
Repeat after me: “There is no such thing as overtraining, only under recovering!”
There are two common mistakes with recovery and regeneration in training, the first being that it is often overlooked, maybe because people’s egos are too big, “I don’t need to do that that ‘cos I’m fookin’ Superman” then turns up next week injured, or maybe because they don’t know how to recover properly. The second is using the sexy quick-fix methods that most of time don’t work but are endorsed by sports teams. If you’re going to use something endorsed by sports teams I hear blood doping and performance enhancing drugs work. (That’s a joke, by the way ;-))
Joking aside, I’m not encouraging any illegal recovery methods; I want to revisit some of the most basic recovery methods and how to regenerate your body in order to boost performance and ultimately get you to your goal.
Our goal when you come to us at PPT is not for you to see us on Monday and not be able to move until Friday; while it’s good to feel like you’ve done something you need to remember your goal is not to ache all week, it’s to keep progressing. Sometimes however just simply thinking about your recovery methods can make a big effect on your results and how you feel after sessions.
First I will explain the method that helped me think about how to incorporate recovery strategies into my training/ lifestyle and then go into more detail on how some of the strategies will help you.
I stole this from an international rugby strength coach; he uses this for his athletes’ recovery. But he probably stole it from someone else and someone else before him, that’s all part of being a good coach – using what has already worked.
The Training Effect is summarised by the following equation:
Training Effect = Work x Recovery
Where work is equal to the intensity of your workouts on a scale of 1-100%.
To simplify, if you give 100% in your workouts (work in the above equation), then we want to maximise your workout by getting sufficient recovery.
Recovery in the above equation is a multiplier than can be scored from 0.1 – 1.5
Essentially, you want your recovery in the above equation to be above or equal to 1.
Thus, 100% (workout intensity) x 1.0 (workout recovery) = 100% Training Effect
If it is not equal to 1, then you are not getting the maximum training effect from your workouts as you are constantly under recovering from them!
For example, 100% x 0.75 = 75% >>>>>>>>> Training Effect
So my question to you is…. Are you regularly maximising your Training Effect?
Many people will come to sessions and be absolutely killing it in the sessions but the other 23hrs in the day ruin everything they’ve done in the gym; therefore no matter how hard you work if you’re not recovering properly, whilst your training efforts might be 100%, your training effect and result may only be 75%.
“So, how do you recover?”, I hear you say. Well I have added a list below for you to track your recovery. The goal is to add your points up to 1.0 for each day.
|8 hours of sleep||0.5|
|15 min of range of motion work||0.25|
|20 min walk||0.25|
|30 min nap||0.1 (add .1 for every 30 min)|
|15 min of foam rolling||0.1|
So as you can see, if you typically sleep 8 hours a day and eat healthily, you are only getting 0.5 (sleep) + 0.25 (eating healthy) = 0.75. So you will need to add some targeted range of motion work, meditation, or a walk (reduces Cortisol, the stress hormone) to get 1.0 for recovery in a day.
In studies performed at California Polytechnic State University, they found that techniques such as meditation enhanced the recovery aspects of all other methods, so that is why it is given such a high multiplier of .25. This is because it reduces Cortisol, the stress hormone. High Cortisol levels have also been found to prevent weight loss.
Clearly, sleep is your biggest tool when it comes to recovery. So try to get more of it!
Note: if you get less than 8 hours of sleep per night, you don’t get any points for sleep. If it is impossible for you to get more sleep due to work or kids keeping you up, then you can try to make it up with the other recovery techniques. For example: proper diet (0.25) + 15 min of range of motion work (0.25) + meditation (0.25) + 20 min gentle walk (0.25) will get you 1.0 in a day!
“But what about when our workouts don’t equate to 100% intensity?”, I hear you say. Well let’s be honest, very rarely will you actually reach that 100% intensity. So if you’re at 80% work, recovery will need to score 0.8 in order to reach full training effect.
If this doesn’t make sense to you I suggest reading it a few times over – that’s what I had to do the first time I saw it.
Here’s a summary of some of my favourite methods:
Sleep is a basic requirement for human health yet so many of us struggle with it. So firstly if you struggle with sleep I challenge you to come and do an hour of deadlifting and then not sleep well that night! Strength training is my number 1 recommendation for sleeping better. There are other methods such as breathing properly or meditation before sleep – oh look, you just got another 0.25 for doing meditation – see how this could work? Studies have shown that a loss of 30-36 hours’ sleep can lead to dramatic decreases in performance, that’s over a period of time as well not just a couple of days so if you miss an hour here and there it could be taking its toll.
- Eating like an athlete.
Now I’m afraid if you want advice on post-workout nutrition and the best supplements I’m not your man. Many people rush into supplements and technical timings without first mastering the basics but what’s the point of paying 100s of pounds on supplements when you don’t even have a solid nutritional foundation first? My advice to you……
MORE MEAT, MORE VEG, MORE WATER!
I’ve heard all the follow-up questions you’re thinking of now before, but they don’t matter: more meat, more veg, more water. If that doesn’t work: more meat, more veg, more water. As much as drinking your green sludge and eating sports team endorsed protein bars might make you think you’re recovering like an athlete, all you really need is to make sure you’re getting enough good quality nutritional food. Think of it like this, if you left in the morning with 8% charge on your phone it would be pretty useless that day, you would have to stick it on power saving and not answer those emails until you had WiFi etc., whereas if you left in the morning with your phone fully charged you could function throughout the day using your phone as you liked. You’re the phone by the way, and the battery life is your nutrition.
I always say to my clients that walking is the most underrated form of exercise. You will hear people say all the time “I only went for a walk”, but a 20-30 minute walk is great way of getting the body moving and get the blood pumping which is great if you’re stiff from training. It will flush the muscles, stimulate an appetite, and let you unplug from the world. It’s great way to spend some time with the family and just generally relax and chill out; you will almost always feel refreshed afterwards.
Other methods include foam rolling, 10-15 minutes mobility work (some people call this yoga), ice baths, contrast showers, breathing techniques (meditation), massage, or recovery workouts. These all have their place and can be used as great recovery tools.
To sum up:
You can never ‘over recover’, so in this case you can’t have too much of a good thing!
You can however easily under recover.
Recovery should not be used as excuse for laziness and bullsh*t excuses!
Yours in strength,