Recovery time is where the magic happens. Building and programming in recovery time is essential. This is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and allows the desired adaptation to be produced.
Furthermore, whilst resting the physical state is important, resting our mental state is equally as important.
What is a de-load?
A de-load is a short planned period of recovery where you ease back your training for a week. This can be done a number of ways but the most common way to do so is to cut your sessions back slightly and drop your load back to around 50-60%.
More advanced lifters will have a better understanding on when a de-load may be needed based on how their body may feel and how their lifts are moving. For beginner and intermediate lifters it is essential to program in de-load weeks every 8-12 weeks.
If you are noticing the following signs it may be time for a de-load:
- Body feels tired and fatigued
- Constantly sore muscles
- Sore joints
- Getting weaker
- Hitting a training plateau
- After a comp
It is important to remember that a de-load week is not a week of zero
movement. Maintaining movement patterns and neural stimulation is still
required. It is also important to consider if a de-load week is actually
Fundamentally, the key to improving body composition and performance over long periods of time is to regularly push your body slightly beyond its limits in order to produce an adaptation (known as “over reaching”), however, some people simply don’t deliver this in their training.
Something so simple yet so often overlooked. Do you or your clients constantly wake up foggy and tired? Is the 7-8 hours you are sleeping every night actually quality sleep?
Sleep encourages recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release (amongst many other biochemical processes!).
Through a process involving adenosine, the brain has a chance to recover by shutting down and recharging. We all live busy lives with many commitments. It is important to recharge our brain to ensure that we are alert the next day to make appropriate decisions. With the four stages of sleep widely researched, based on the amount of REM sleep, 7-9 hours per night is recommended.
How can we achieve that?
- Set sleep routine
- No technology after 9pm
- Protein before bed
- No caffeine after 3pm
- No stimulus before bed including inappropriate reading material and electronics
- Deep breathing techniques
- Stretch and yoga routine
Energy is our most precious resource. Learning to manage stress and overall energy output is the currency that allows growth and high performance. If stress and energy is ill managed, growth will suffer.
Where does stress come from in your life? For a lot of people, common areas of stress revolve around work and family.
We must first ask ourselves if the stress in our lives is actually as bad as we think? Stress addiction and the identity around that “hustle” attitude is becoming more common in our fast paced life. Stressful events in our lives can be managed. The way we perceive experiences can have us finding enjoyment and happiness from that event, or it can cause frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed depending on how we look at it.
Just like improvements in our physical state, balancing stress and recovery is something that must be worked on to make improvement.
The real focus in which to send our efforts can therefore lie in a few areas that in turn impact our perception of life and our surroundings.
If we are constantly in a state that is nervous, stressed or anxious, any events, however minor, can appear as stressful.
When we are under a high level of stress for a long period of time, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) becomes dominant and the functions of the parasympathetic (PNS) are proportionately shut down. Over time, this over-stimulation of the SNS can lead to clear cut signs of imbalance. These signs can include things like poor digestion, anxiety, shallow breathing, increased heart rate, poor quality sleep, restlessness, fatigue, nervousness, and increased sickness to name a few.
In areas that we experience feelings of stress, we are all looking to gain some form of control. Setting rituals & routines can help to gain this control. Restoring energy and calming our SNS through management strategies takes a conscious effort to implement in our lives.