Recovery 101 - How to get the most out of your Training and Life
When we hear the word recovery, we often think about relaxing massages, binge watching our favorite Netflix show, or catching up on some lost hours of sleep on the couch. All of these are great forms of recovery and are uniquely important for all of us. When talking about recovery, what we are really looking at is our ability to recover from stress.
It’s important to understand what stress is and how it affects us personally. Stress is both physical and emotional but the most important thing to understand about stress is that it is personal and different for all us. You get physical stress when you crush a great workout but also if you get rear-ended in a car accident. The emotional stress is how you feel about that physical stress during and after the event. Stress is also really positive and not all of it is negative. Stress is the reason we can increase strength in the gym and feel endorphins after a great run. We need to take ownership of our stressors in life and have a game plan in place to cope with it that works for you.
The American Institute of Stress (www.stress.org) does a great job explaining stress with the roller coaster analogy.
“A good example is afforded by observing passengers on a steep roller coaster ride. Some are hunched down in the back seats, eyes shut, jaws clenched and white-knuckled with an iron grip on the retaining bar. They can’t wait for the ride in the torture chamber to end so they can get back on solid ground and scamper away. But up front are the wide-eyed thrill seekers, yelling and relishing each steep plunge who race to get on the very next ride. And in between, you may find a few with an air of nonchalance that borders on boredom. So, was the roller coaster ride stressful?”
I really like this because we need to understand what stresses you may not stress your closest friend, significant other, or co-worker. This matters a lot if you are trying to help someone with their stress and provide solutions. This graphic does a great job showing the types of stress we encounter and is identified as the four major categories of stress both good and bad.
Check out some of the ways not recovering properly can affect your body and mind.
When we are putting together a game plan for recovery, there are more pieces to the puzzle than just how hard you worked in the gym that week. We need to take into account all of your physical and emotional stressors that have impacted your ability to perform during your week. To identify what form of recovery works best for you, you need to try a wide variety of modalities to see what impacts you the most physically and emotionally or have more than one option available. Recovery doesn’t have to be complicated and can be as simple as going for a walk to decompress and get moving.
Here are some of my favorite ways to manage stress, see what works for you so you can feel rejuvenated for your next big week.
Sleep - We know how important sleep is and how it affects every function in the body from weight loss to high-level performance. Start tracking your sleep and see if you can get more of it.
Nutrition - Taking care of yourself from the inside out is a fast way to feel great and have the energy for each day. It’s hard to handle a stressful week when you have no energy.
Exercise - “I regret that workout” - said no one ever. Exertion works great for a lot of people when they are highly stressed. Give it a try and see how it can help you. This is one of my personal favorites either in the gym or going for a run.
Massage or Fascial Stretch Therapy - Getting self-care in the form of touch is very powerful whether its a therapeutic massage or table treatment. This is a big favorite to a lot of our athletes and can help recharge your batteries.
Communicate - This may seem obvious but venting to your closest friend can be the best thing for you. Not everyone likes to talk about their stress but it’s a game changer for a lot of our athletes to have somebody that will simply listen with no judgment. Our Elevate family has some really great listeners.
Mental Isolation / Meditation - This one works great for me personally. I am naturally an introvert and workaholic. What helps me recharge the most is going to a place alone and just let my mind melt with no phone or distractions. I could be golfing by myself or sitting in a dry sauna. This is my form of meditation and it really helps me clear my mind and get ready for my next day.
Netflix and Chill - There are several Sundays where you can find me holding a 4-6 side plank on my couch catching up on Designated Survivor or watching The Office reruns. Find something that gives you enjoyment and allows yourself to be “unproductive”. It’s OK and good for you.
The next question to ask yourself is what gives you the most stress in your work week? Sometimes it’s actually “not” doing certain things that give us the most stress. Try and identify some of the major stressors in your life and put together a game plan for your personal recovery. Being great at managing your stress could be the one big speed bump from a personal record in the gym or even losing the extra 5 pounds.
Do you want to put together a game plan for your recovery? Or do you have any questions on how to help identify or manage your stress? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Elevate family. We are here to help you.
Get out there and work hard, but don't forget to rest, relax and recover,
Just in case you missed our article on Fascial Stretching Therapy and how it aids in recovery and eliminating those nagging aches and pains, here's the link.