May 17

Do you know just how important recovery is?

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Recovery is the single most important part of any training or exercise program.

Recovery allows for improved performance.  It permits your body time to heal itself in preparation for the next training load, helping to decreases the risk of potential injury.

The factors that influence your recovery include:

Sleep – Lack of sleep increases your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.  Being tired can increase your risk of injury as your balance and postural control will be decreased, leading to poor technique, decision making and cognitive performance.

Nutrition – Optimising your nutrition has been shown to improve recovery, aiming to eat as much fresh food as possible and limiting the amount of processed and take away foods. Protein forms the building blocks of muscles, numerous studies show that eating sufficient protein can help increase muscle mass and strength. Consuming protein immediately prior to sleep, after strength training late at night, effectively stimulates muscle protein synthesis and improves whole-body protein balance during overnight recovery.

Hydration – Water makes up roughly 65 percent of the human body. Ensuring that you are consuming adequate amounts of water each day is important for many of our vital bodily processes and is essential to maintaining blood volume, regulating body temperature and allowing muscle contractions to take place. Most people do not meet their daily requirement of water. It is common for people to drink sufficient amounts of water during exercise but this is often forgotten post exercise and in the following hours or days. Every type of exercise you complete will result in some level of loss of fluid, and these fluids need to be replenished.

Alcohol can have a major effect on how the body functions, and significantly impair recovery.  Alcohol can affect the quality of your sleep, decrease your cognitive performance and compromise your immune system, making your susceptible to illness or infection.

Things you need to consider to help your recovery:

  • Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
  • It’s best to avoid alcohol after a training session, if you really must then limit it where possible.
  • Hydrate fully before and after your training sessions, ideally over the day as our bodies can only absorb a certain amount of water at any one time.
  • Plan your meals in advance, packing them full of nutrients, ensure you have enough protein based snacks to eat on the days you’ll be training.
  • Prepare your body fully for it’s training sessions by ensuring you warm up and mobilise before your session and cool down sufficiently afterwards.

How many of the above do you actively do daily, or weekly?

What can you work on to improve your recovery?


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