Rest & Recovery: THE BALANCE NEEDED FOR TRUE GAINS

As important as exercise is for health and well-being, rest and recovery is equally as necessary. Taking a rest day can be mentally hard! Trust me, I know how it can seem like you’ll regress after one day away from the gym. It can be quite the opposite. Overtraining without the proper recovery can put you at risk for injury or even cause your progress to plateau. If you feel like you’ve been overly fatigued lately or not feeling as awesome during your workouts, take some of these points into consideration and add them to your self-care routine!

Written by Jamie Susino

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January 28, 2020

REST & RECOVERY

Written By Coach Jamie

Every day here at NexT, we see people give it their all. Sometimes it’s during weightlifting, sometimes it’s cardio, and sometimes it’s twice a day. While we love seeing everybody work so hard, we also love seeing everybody practice self-care to ensure longevity in your training process. As important as exercise is for health and well-being, rest and recovery is equally as necessary.

Taking a rest day can be mentally hard! Trust me, I know how it can seem like you’ll regress after one day away from the gym. It can be quite the opposite. Overtraining without the proper recovery can put you at risk for injury or even cause your progress to plateau. If you feel like you’ve been overly fatigued lately or not feeling as awesome during your workouts, take some of these points into consideration and add them to your self-care routine!

1) SLEEP

Do you get a full night of uninterrupted sleep? Or do you wake up tired? I’m commonly teased for how early I tend to hit the hay! Laugh if you’d like, but I make it a point to get 7-9 hours every chance I can. Bottom line is that my best days and workouts follow a great night’s sleep. Sleep is important to recovery and will greatly improve your training sessions as well as overall health. Here are some great ways to improve sleep!

  • START A NIGHTLY ROUTINE.

    Face washed, teeth brushed, pajamas on by a reasonable hour. Make sure all tasks are completed and you have as much prepped for the next day as possible!

  • PUT THE PHONE DOWN!

    Try to give yourself an hour without screen time before bed! No blue light, no stressful e-mails, no social media.

  • PRACTICE MOBILITY OR YOGA!

    A little foam rolling or self myofascial release before bed can trigger the parasympathetic response (AKA Rest & Digest) helping the body to prepare for sleep. You can also try some gentle yoga stretches to help relax.

  • MEDITATE.

    Using a guided meditation like HeadSpace or Insight Timer can be a game changer!

  • CREATE A RELAXING ATMOSPHERE!

    A cold, dark room is the best for sleep! I also like to make my bed (like a hotel) every night BEFORE bed. It’s much more pleasant to sleep in. I use an oil diffuser (lavender essential oils are my favorite) for aromatherapy. It’s extremely calming.

2) NUTRITION

Are you eating to fuel your body? Are you choosing nutrient dense foods that your body digests well? Are you consuming alcohol the night before a training session? We can’t all eat perfectly all the time, and everybody enjoys a glass of wine or a good slice of pizza every once in awhile. The important factor is how is your food affecting your training or your sleep?

  • ALCOHOL.

    Not only is training with a hangover terrible, but it also affects the way your body recovers. You may be dehydrated and tired, which means you’re not at optimal training capacity. The liver may also be working overtime if you consume alcohol before bed causing the sleep to be disrupted.

  • DIGESTION.

    Most people have knowledge of at least one food that tends to have a negative effect on their digestion. Eating copious amounts of junk food can make you feel tired, bloated, and lethargic. No one wants to feel that way while they’re trying to kill it at the gym.

  • EAT YOUR PROTEIN!

    Protein is required to promote muscle growth, fuel workouts, repair damaged cells, and aid in recovery. If you’re feeling extra sore during your training program, make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of protein (.8-1g of protein daily per pound of body weight)

  • HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!

    Drink plenty of water! Not only can dehydration lead to a poor training session at the gym, but it also helps aid in cognitive function, muscle recovery, and digestion!

3) MOBILITY

Chances are at some point during your time at NexT, you’ve seen me out on the turf with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball working on mobility and recovery. I’m a big advocate of self myofascial release as a means of “maintenance” on the body. We take our cars in for oil changes and service checks to keep it running properly. The body is no different and should work as a well oiled machine!

  • FOAM ROLLING AND MOBILITY DRILLS.

    If you’re new to mobility, I highly suggest checking out www.mobilitywod.com or their MobilityWOD YouTube page. Dr. Kelly Starrett is an absolute expert in body mechanics and athletic performance. Here you can find exercises and drills to help improve range of motion, help joint and muscle pain, and promote recovery post-workout.

  • FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY.

    We are extremely lucky to have not one, but two, fascial stretch therapists at our facility. I highly recommend booking a session with Dmitriy or LeeAnn to help improve your mobility, decrease pain, and help you feel better overall.

  • SPORTS MASSAGE.

    On your next off-day, visit our friends at Hillsborough Massage Therapy! Take care of those tight muscle adhesions and release stress. You train hard and deserve to feel awesome on your rest days!

4) ACTIVE RECOVERY

If you’re not great with taking a full day off from the gym, an active recovery day can be an awesome option. Try to pick a non-stressful activity to do! Something you enjoy doing that will be a rewarding experience!

  • HIKING.

    This is always one of my favorites as the weather gets warmer! Find a trail that isn’t too challenging for a “rest day”, bring water and some healthy snacks, and get moving. As long as this isn’t too strenuous, you’ll likely feel rejuvenated without feeling guilty for skipping a gym day!

  • YOGA.

    As an avid yogi and yoga guide, I highly recommend this for recovery! You can improve mobility, flexibility, reduce stress, and gain mental clarity. Sometimes just breathing and moving is all you need. Check our class schedule for some of our awesome yoga classes!

  • SWIMMING.

    Summer is coming and pools and beaches will be available soon! Get out there, get some Vitamin D, and some nice low impact movement.

  • LISS.

If you’re one of my clients or have taken my classes, you might’ve heard me suggest Low Intensity Steady State Cardio or “LISS” as a supplementary activity to your normal classes or training sessions. While hiking or swimming can sometimes be considered LISS, you might also consider coming into the gym on your off-day and hopping on a treadmill or elliptical for 30 minutes. This shouldn’t be a sprint or run by any means. Just some light walking at a conversational pace. You get in a little bit of activity and you aren’t technically breaking your gym habit. It will keep you active, help burn fat, and reduce stress.

Remember, we LOVE seeing you at the gym, but taking time for yourself is important! Gym life is a marathon, not a sprint.

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