Ensuring you have adequate rest and recovery time between training sessions is vital for anyone who exercises regularly. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to suffer from a range of health problems or injuries as a result of inadequate rest and recovery between your training sessions.
How long you rest between sets, such as the rest time between hill sprints or the rest time between weights, can also positively or negatively affect your overall progress and performance.
Resting too little can lead to fatigue, which may lead to an early end to your workout. Resting too much is poor time management and can lead to a loss of endorphins that gives you a rush of power during exercise.
Recovery after exercise is essential to muscle and tissue repair and strength building. This is even more critical after weight training. Muscles needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working out again too soon can lead to tissue breakdown instead of tissue building.
So how can you ensure you are providing your body and mind adequate rest in between sessions? Here are our top tips:
- Include a cool down at the end of each session to remove lactic acid from your muscles, reduce feelings of stiffness and slowly lower your heart rate back down to its resting rate.
- Replace fluids.
- Sleep – during sleep your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which is responsible for tissue growth and repair.
- Eat properly. Energy stores are depleted following exercise. Refueling allows your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for your next workout. This is even more important if you are performing endurance exercise each day or trying to build muscle. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of your workout, making sure to include high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates.
And the most important tip: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! It is vital you develop an awareness of your body, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you are feeling tired, sore or you notice decreased performance, you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. In most cases, if you pay attention to your body, it will let you know what it needs and when it needs it. Trouble can arise when we don’t listen to those warnings or we dismiss them, for example, “I can’t be tired, I didn’t run my best yesterday” or “No one else needs two rest days; they’ll think I’m lazy if I go slow today.”
Remember more is not always better. Optimal results are encouraged through hard work, adequate rest and recovery and good nutrition. Balance is the key. Always listen to your body.