Ever stopped to wonderwhy exercise is so important?
There came a day when I decided to muse on this question. The answer might surprise you: Exercise is important because exercisehurts. And when our body is hurting, it works harder so that it hurts less in the future.
In other words, when we exercise, our body becomes stronger and fitter so that it can handle our subsequent workout sessions.
That’s pretty cool.
But did you also know that if you keep going hard without ever stopping to rest, your body simply won’t have the recovery time needed to get stronger and fitter, or to repair itself? That’s when things fall apart and you burnout and get injured.
I take recovery seriously and I believe you should too. In this article, I’m going to show you what you should be doing during those rest periods.
I believe it’s difficult to get adequate rest when we’ve got no structure. It’s a good idea to put in place a proper plan so that you know what days you’ll be working out, and what days you’ll be taking off.
This is key because, as well as not taking enough time off, it’s also dangerous if you taketoo much time off. As such, when you put some structure around your recovery and pinpoint the amount of time you need to take off, you’ll find it easier to get the balance right.
I can’t stress enough how fundamental sleep is to your workout goals. “Sleep is for the weak” might sound badass but it’s terrible advice. Sleep is for beasts. If you’re the kind of person who feels physically and mentally knackered at the end of the week, your body is telling you to sleep more.
Go to bed earlier. Switch off all distractions at least an hour before bed. Make sure your room is at room temperature. Turn off all lights. Maybe spend a bit of time reading a light book before you nod off (avoid high-octane novels such as thrillers or horrors as they will play on your mind, preventing you from sleeping).
How much water do you currently consume? Chances are, whatever your answer is, you could always consume more.
The advice is that we should all drink atleast 2litres of H2O each day. Water is nature’s greatest gift and staying properly hydrated after a workout session istheway to recover like a beast.
I know, I know - Mr. Boring here is being boring. But alcohol prevents your muscles from recovering properly after a workout session. Nipping to the pub after the gym is all fun and games until your body is so riddled with toxins that you’re not seeing the results you wanted.
Drink alcohol now and then. But stay off it after a workout session.
Lastly, bodybuilders eat lots of protein after a workout for a reason. Protein builds and repairs muscle. Simple.
Not just that, but carbs are key, too. Carbs improve your performance and lift you up. Without enough carbs, you will get tired.
Make sure to cram as much fruit, veg, beans and grains into your diet as possible - all the good stuff, in other words. You want to get your macros and your micros in equal measure.