Rest is something that we all need, yet many of us tend to be hesitant about taking it.
Social media bombards us with catchy slogans often demonising rest days and implying that rest is for the lazy and the undedicated. However, rest is absolutely essential to your goals!
Here are some science approved strategies to ensure your recovery is optimal!
#1 Get enough sleep
This is one of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of recovery.
Our bodies repair themselves while we sleep, yet due to modern lifestyles where we are on-the-go and constantly frazzled with work and social commitments, many of us are not getting adequate sleep. This is a sure fire way to hinder your progress.
✓ Studies have shown that those who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to fat gain than those that do. You also can’t expect your body to perform optimally at training if you are exhausted from lack of sleep.
✓ It is also worth noting that your body secretes more hunger signalling hormones if you don’t get enough shut eye, so make sure you aim for at least your eight hours per night. This may mean hitting the sack a bit earlier and having to get more organised, but your body will thank you for it!
#2 Ensure to eat enough calories
Many of us are so concerned with overeating, that we don’t always consider the fact that we may be under eating for our activity levels.
It is well worth keeping track of your intake to ensure that you are getting enough calories in on a daily basis.
✓ If you are under eating, it will affect your body’s ability to both grow and repair, and this will hold you back from your goals.
#3 Enjoy treats in moderation
Balance is the key here. Having some treats is perfectly fine and healthy, but only if your diet is providing you with all the nutrition you need. It is no use to build your daily calorie intake around sweets and chocolate and expect great results.
By all means indulge in that doughnut, but just make sure you are hitting your fibre and micro-nutrient goals at the same time. Without doing this, you cannot expect to have a healthy body that will perform at its absolute best.
You also need to ensure that you are taking in enough protein to allow your body to repair itself. Aim to have protein at each meal through the day. If you are having trouble hitting your figures, consider adding a supplement to your diet such as whey protein.
#4 Stretch after training
Allow stretching the same value and importance as the rest of your workout.
✓ Many people power through their training in the morning before work with little consideration for stretching afterwards, but this is a mistake.
✓ Stretching post workout will aid in recovery and also reduce post-training soreness leaving you fighting fit for your next session!
#5 Take some time out
We are often so caught up in the hustle and bustle of deadlines and stress that we rarely allow ourselves time to unwind. This should not be considered a treat; it should be valued as a necessity!
Even if you can only afford a half an hour before you sleep at night, or even on your lunch break at the office, do something for you.
✓ If you have some time at night, consider doing a few yoga movements before bed or even just relax and read a book you enjoy. Many people find colouring really relaxing, but even simply writing some thoughts in a diary can be very helpful in reducing stress.
✓ If you are on lunch in work and the weather is fine, head on a short walk just to clear your mind of stresses in the office.
✓ The important thing is that you book some time into your busy schedule just for you, so that you can distress and take a time out.
Take home message
Recovery is essential if you want to get the best results possible from your training and nutrition.
Try follow these simple tips to improve your recovery!