Exercise is a stimulus for change, but it’s the time in between your workouts during which your body adapts and makes progress. In order to take your training to the next level, you must optimize recovery time.
3 Ways to Optimize Recovery
- Stress: Stress is an undeniable part of life. There are good and bad stressors. Too much of anything can throw us out of balance. Stress can stimulates appetite, increase abdominal fat, disrupt sleep, increase risks for disease and even play a role in our intimate relationships. So, in order to continue seeing progress with your training, remember that you need a healthy amount of stress from your workouts AND also time to recover the mind.
- Nutrition: Intense training depletes the body of important nutrients like magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and B vitamins. All of these need to be replenished. To do so, focus on consuming whole food sources such as dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds.
- Rest/Recovery: If training is the spark to the flame, then rest and recovery are the oxygen that keep it burning. Intense workouts break down muscle tissue and use up stored nutrients, so rest and recovery help us repair and replenish. This means time away from intense training, but also getting adequate sleep each night, depending on your training.
A Note on Sleep
How much sleep is enough sleep? If performance and health are priorities, getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night is crucial. But, that answer will depends on a lot of other factors. Take a look at this blog series that we wrote about sleep to get all the answers.
Think of it this way — You may need to focus on getting more recovery, rest, and sleep if:
- You feel like you need coffee to get through the day
- You’ve hit a plateau, or performance is decreasing in your workouts
- You no longer feel motivated to train
- You’ve noticed recent changes in your mood and/or appetite