Sports science has grown leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Years ago it was even common thought for athletes to avoid any strength training because of the fear of becoming stiff like a bodybuilder and losing their athletic ability. Research has since suggested this wasn’t only a fallacy, but strength training actually AIDS our recovery, improves flexibility, and optimizes our athleticism!
After that came nutrition. Our diet was not thought to be important in performance. It was common knowledge that you only needed enough food to provide energy and it didn’t really matter what you ate. Over the past couple of decades we have found out how important nutrition is to performance. Sports nutrition has become a billion dollar industry. I think we can all agree: “You Are What You Eat.”
So what is the next on the frontier of sports medicine? Over the past couple of years the science of recovery has started to gain some serious traction, not only with high end sports, but with the everyday athlete.
Most would agree, if we take an untrained human and go too hard for too long, something bad will eventually happen. So we need to give our bodies time to recover to avoid injury. All we need to do is take breaks, rest, and relax… right?
This generalizes what recovery should look like. Recovery is much more than just rest. It’s about creating the optimal environment for your body to repair and regenerate. The recovery should be equal to the training itself. You need a training stimulus to start the process but if you follow up with a half-assed recovery, your performance is going to slip. All it takes is a couple steps and you will double your results without having to train any harder:
1. Make it a Priority
If your recovery only consists of “a rest day,” you are not making it a priority. Recovery is an ACTIVE process, not a passive one. “Rest day” should not consist of vegging out on the couch and watching Netflix. It should be a “rest from your training day,” but by no means doing nothing. I like to call this an active rest. You should be decreasing your intensity of training to decrease the load to the body but set the body in motion. Take the time to look at the forms of recovery that compliment your training. This could be as simple as researching nutritional methods that apply to your specific regimen (e.g., Mat Fraser is going to have different nutritional demands than Lebron James), to finding a yoga class that focuses on the body parts you are training.
2. Record recovery as you would your training
Keep yourself accountable! We’ve seen the power recording what we are doing for training has in enabling us to properly progress and change that program. We need to treat recovery the same way. We need to record what and how we are performing recovery so we can learn from mistakes and modify our recovery program as needed. If “winging it” isn’t good enough for training, why the hell would it be good enough for recovery?
3. “Cross Recover”
Most of us know the importance of cross training. We need to do variable training methods to avoid overuse injuries. Same principle applies to recovery. There are many different ways to promote recovery and in today’s world it is extremely easy to find an array of methods. For example, yoga can benefit a great deal with the recovery for CrossFit athletes, but we wouldn’t want to only perform yoga as a recovery method. That same athlete could also incorporate meditation, cryotherapy, sauna - you name it! Find multiple methods that work for you.
In today’s training and working world it’s all about production. This can be a good thing, but has its side effects. To keep up with this highly competitive atmosphere we are always looking at ways to ramp things up. This may be a pre-workout drink, caffeine, or other supplementation to tap into our endocrine system and fits our lifestyle turning our adrenaline on 24/7. All these are designed to improve performance. Buut, if we are in this highly stimulated state all the time we never actually give our bodies time to calm down and heal. Over time this will actually have a negative impact on performance causing our bodies to break down. This is where down regulation comes into ,. Down regulation is tapping into our parasympathetic nervous system which is designed to calm everything down or “feed and breed.”
In this case, saying “less is more” is an understatement. Training takes sacrifice, time, and resources. Incorporating a well-designed recovery system needs to support our training goals. This is a pillar of what we value. We can bring to you what we’ve brought to the thousands of athletes that have walked through our clinic doors through our daily sets in our Primed to Perform routine. Each day is designed to prep the body for your whole workout and bring your training goals to life. We even have incorporated our Saturday Set, which is specifically designed to help the body recover holistically. And, all this for less than 50 cents a day.