The Importance Of Recovery
Recovering from your workouts is just as important as those workouts themselves. You stress your body during them, but it’s during the recovery period that your body adapts to that stress. Recovery has a few different component including:
Letting your body rest physically. This includes appropriate rest period during the workout, proper workout split during the week and planning your training cycles over several months.
It also includes your sleep but more specifically the quality of your sleep. This is an absolute necessity to become stronger, fitter, leaner or whatever your goal is. Sleep is when your body repairs itself. You need to be getting AT LEAST 6 hours per night.
The food you eat before and after your workouts. Making sure you are running with optimal fuel and giving your body the nutrients it needs to recover is essential.
Drinking enough water throughout the day. We are made up of at least 50% water. This element is extremely important to us so make sure that you drink a minimum of 2 litres a day.
These 4 pillars of recovery are interconnect. You will recover the best if you do all 4 at a time. Many people fall in the trap of only doing 3 of those and not seeing results! Reaching your fitness goals is all about paying attentions to these basic details.
How long should you recover in the gym?
Depending on your workout’s goal, you need to rest differently. When you workout for size and mass, you break down your muscle cells. When you workout for strength, you stress your nervous system. When you workout for endurance you stress your oxidative system. These three systems are all different and require different times to allow them to operate properly.
Follow these rest periods according to your goals:
Training for size and mass: 45 sec-90sec
Training for strength: 2min-4min
The rest in between workouts in also very important. The nervous system needs days to recover. Your muscle cells regenerate quite rapidly and should be good to go after a day’s rest granted good nutrition is followed. Your oxidative system returns to normal after a few hours.
In general, follow these recovery times between workouts:
Strength workout: 3 days
Mass/size workout: 1 day
Endurance: 1 day
Note: for mass and size, you can workout different muscle groups in consecutive days. For example you could do legs on monday and chest and back on tuesday. You cannot do the same with strength workouts. If you do a strength workout on monday, you cannot go heavy on the chest and back on tuesday. You could do a mass and size workout on tuesday, but not a strength workout. You nervous system will not have recovered fully yet.