The Art of Recovery: Part 2 June 13, 2014 16:33

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or total beginner, rest and recovery are key components to any successful training program. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon can actually be counterproductive to your goals.[1] In order to maximize your fitness gains and enhance your overall performance, here are some tips for how to fill the time in between workouts.

Rest

Skipping rest time is worse than skipping a workout. When you train, your body is breaking down muscle tissue. When you rest, your body begins the biochemical process for muscle-fiber repair and synthesis, which is essential for getting stronger.[2]

"Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself," says Felicia Stoler, RD, an exercise physiologist and registered dietitian in New Jersey. "If we don't get enough sleep, we don't perform well."[3]

Not only can sleep deprivation over long periods of time weaken your mental drive during training sessions, but it can also be dangerous. Studies show that sleep-deprived people who are tested by performing a hand-eye coordination task perform as badly as or worse than those who are intoxicated.[4]

The ideal target is to consistently hit between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.  

Self Massage

During exercise, your muscles and fascia, the connective tissue running throughout the body, become knotted. Rolling out muscles is proven to loosen tight knots and correct muscular imbalances. It can also help speed recovery, increase blood circulation, and reduce excessive swelling.[5]

The Ensō muscle roller by EvoFit is great for massaging hips, backs, legs, quads, calves and the IT band. Its unique design makes it simple to rejuvenate muscles by releasing toxins and flushing waste from muscle tissue to allow oxygenated blood to flow into congested areas.[6] It’s also small and portable, making it convenient to relieve muscle tension anytime, anywhere.

Hydrate

Hours of sweating means losing large amounts of water. Training requires lots of fluids, and proper hydration in between workouts is an easy way to boost recovery.

“As little as a two percent loss of hydration will effect performance in the weight room, so you want to make sure that you hydrate before and during your session,” says Dan Trink, C.S.C.S, Director of Personal Training Operations at Peak Performance NYC and founder of TrinkFitness.[7]

Generally speaking, you should be drinking 7 to 10 oz. of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes.[8] Those amounts should increase if you are competing in extreme climates or altitudes.