According to FitPro (and our business coach!) Alwyn Cosgrove, “the most ignored truth in fitness is that you don’t get better by training. You get better by recovering FROM training.”
When you exercise, your body is under stress. Training breaks the body down and the body responds via rest by adapting and becoming back stronger than before (literally and figuratively).
So, when someone shares with me that they workout 7 or more times per week at high-intensity, I’m not impressed. I’m sympathetic. In an aim to get better, they’re never giving their body a chance to actually get better.
Remember, results happen in the recovery.
If you don’t add in recovery to your workout program, you’ll never give your body the time or resources it needs to adapt and be (even more) awesome.
Here are a few ways we help our members prioritize recovery; maybe they’ll work into your life, too!
1) Program smart, structured, progressive workouts.
Alwyn shares, “Working harder or longer often just means that the recovery period takes longer. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t train hard, but doing more than is necessary to get the training response, just slows down your results.
Randomly adding an extra set, or an extra exercise to your program without considering its impact on the next workout/next week/next month is the usual culprit here.”
This is one of the reasons we’re passionate at Valeo about safe, progressive and smart programming. We’re Exercise Science nerds so you don’t have to be weighed down worrying about what’s effective – we’ll carry that load for you (unless you’re doing a Farmer’s or KB Rack Carry, then you carry that load) ;).
Aside from a slowly-progressed strength plan customized for each member, we sprinkle in exercises like foam rolling, dynamic stretching and deep breathing drills to prime the recovery process. What a difference this makes!
2) Don’t forget the Basics: Sleep and Nutrition
Sleep is king when it comes to recovery, which is why one of our Core Four values at Valeo is “Sleep Deep.”
Aim for 7-8 hours a night (if you have young kids, you are probably rolling your eyes…I get it!). But if at all possible, be diligent about getting that rest; it’s foundational for good mental and physical health.
Nutrition-wise, consuming protein soon after your workout will help provide your muscles with the building blocks (amino acids) needed to repair and rebuild. This is why we offer Protein + Smart Carb Smoothie pouches and Recovery Drinks for our members and one of our first questions when someone is struggling with results in the gym is ‘Are you getting enough protein?” Aim for 10-30 grams of protein shortly after your workout to fuel that fire! Lean beef, chicken, fish, wild game, eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, leafy greens, legumes and protein powders all are great source of recovery amino acids.
3.) Take an Epsolm Salt bath
Often, the things that allow for recovery are also considered forms of self care.
Epsom Salts are comprised of magnesium sulfate and, since intense exercise tends to deplete magnesium in our bodies, soaking in Epsom Salts can alleviate muscle pain, reduce swelling, relieve stress, improve circulation, soften skin and improve mood. These minerals are absorbed effectively through the skin, providing almost instant relief from aches and discomforts. We enjoy giving our new members a jar of Epsom Salts after their first session to start this healthy habit!
4.) Keep Moving
While taking at least one day OFF per week is awesome, sometimes complete inactivity can cause more harm to recovery than good. So, it’s important for some rest days to be “light activity days.”
Low intensity activity like slow walking can mean the difference between sore legs preventing you from being able to stand up from the toilet without agony (we’ve all been there!) and feeling refreshed and empowered.
Alwyn says, “It sounds almost counter-intuitive but an additional training session (if programmed appropriately) can actually speed up recovery.”
Think low-level aerobic work, more foam rolling, gentle strength exercises, getting up from your desk every hour, etc.
Remember – you do not get better by training.
You get better by recovering FROM training.
Exercise breaks down, you must rebuild. Breakdown. Rebuild. Breakdown. Rebuild. It’s the process of working out + recovering. It’s the process of Results.
What will you do to help your body recover this week?
Jess + Team Valeo