Our training is often something we focus all our efforts into, when infact that's only a small segment of what makes progress. Recovery plays an enormous role in muscle and strength gain and these 5 tips will help you optimise and speed recovery.
An adult is around 60% water with the brain and heart being comprised of up to 78% water. As little as 1.5% reduction of hydration can cause headaches and brain fog. What's also surprising is a 1-2% reduction of hydration can cause a 20-30% decrease in performance. Water is crucial throughout the day with recommendations being at least 2 litres of water, but with frequent excercise is recomended up to 3 litres. This may sound alot but only means you need to consume 200ml an hour on average. Although drinking alot if beneficial, ensure you increase the amount of water you drink over the course of days or weeks. Too much water too quickly can mean you flush essential electrolytes out of your body which are key for brain function as well as a multitude of other functions. Supplementing electrolytes is recomended. Click here to find out more about electrolytes.
Quantity and quality of food both have enormous effect on recovery. One great tip for eating well is to stick to single ingredient foods. Simply meaning if the food is made by mixing ingredients (by a company, not yourself), typically preservatives, sugars, salts and E-numbers are likely to be present. Making your own food is a much healthier and also cheaper method to fill your muscles with nutrients. A great example is an omlette. A mixture of single ingredients is far superior to shop bought meal where they add extra ingredients to extend shelf life.
Quantity of food is simply dependent on your goals. If you eat more calories than you burn, you'll put on weight. This doesn't mean it'll be all fat, but likely to include some fat as well as lean muscle. Often bodybuilders will make this sacrifice to build muscle, then shed the fat as needed. If you eat less than you burn, you'll lose weight and decrease body fat. Its that simple.
Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of recovery. Sleep is the main time your body takes to repair and grow. The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is 7-9 hours a day. These numbers shouldn't behard to hit and its advised if possible to stay on the upper end of this when frequently training with intensity. Sleep quality is also important too. You may have had a full 9 hours but if you've woken up several times or had broken sleep, this can detract from sleep quality even through the amount was great. Here's a link to an article we found helped us sleep better on a night.
Prevention is better than a cure. Preventing the amount of damage you do to your body is a key factor in the time it takes to recover. Metabolic damage has to occur to force adaptation. But this only needs to happen to the muscles, tendons and ligaments. To help limit stress on the body, knee sleeves work wonders in keeping the knee joint warm and compressed therefor sending more blood and synovial fluid to the area and reducing the strain applied. This helps us keep the stress on our muscles and not our joints. Muscles are made to endure micro tears to grow, the joints need a little more protection.
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5. Less is more
We all get told to work harder, train longer and train more intense. But that's not always the case. Overtraining is more than a myth, and certainly not only reserved for the elite. The google definition of overtrain is; 'Train or cause to train excessively'. Overtraining is very subjective and very different per person. Person A could find 3 sessions a week to be the perfect amount, yet person B could comfortably train 5 times a week and still recover. It's about finding the right amount of volume and training to push yourself enough without leaving any gains on the table.