Saturday, November 23, 2013

Recovery from training a big concept but what is it actually about?


 Very often I hear people talking or asking about recovery and most of time they are just very confused of the concept. Recovering from your training routine is very important. It not only makes sure you can give your best in the next workout session but also prevents any injuries due to fatigue.

So what is recovery actually?

Recovery is the time your body essentially the muscles take to recover, rebuild, recoup from the last workout. In my opinion with almost 3 decades of training sleep is the best form of recovery. If you are training daily then a minimum of 8 - 10 hours sleep is required to recover completely. Every body is different and over a period of time one could be able to manage with smaller recovery intervals but it still does strain the body. So better sleep well than not being able to train later due to injuries. If for any reason you have not been able to get a good number of hours of sleep then better avoid the workout than train and invite pain.

Am not too fond of supplementation and prefer to stick with natural nutrition. However there are recovery supplements available in the market and I do not recommend them unless you are competing professionally at national or international level. Nutrition is another important factor in recovery. We are what we eat. So make sure you get in all the food groups, vitamins and minerals to get your recovery on track. Most people working out have this misconception of having more protein and end up literally negating carbohydrates from their diet. Every food type is necessary for a good recovery. However their ratios will vary depending on your kind of workout and its intensity too. There are numerous health foods out there each one claiming to be good. My suggestion is try all of them in rotation that way your body gets a bit of everything.

Setting a well thought out workout plan or routine is also a key factor to recovery. Say you are a runner and you just keep running daily or 3 - 4 times a week you are bound to get injuries. When you keep running and do not focus on building muscle mass by doing exercises using weights or using the body weight and if your core is weak you are in for big trouble. Your body starts toning but not through muscle build up but by draining the body. Soon the muscles will not be able to handle the constant drain and the strain falls on the joints leading to all sorts of injuries. Always make sure you have covered all aspects of fitness in your routine to ensure wholistic fitness. One sided fitness is bound to bring an imbalance in the body and soon injuries follow. If you plan your workout well then each muscle group can get enough rest before they are used again.

Building stamina and endurance is good however one has to be able to understand the difference between exhaustion and fatigue. Most people do not feel they are different but when you are exercising / training they are surely very different. Exhaustion is your body being or getting tired temporarily due to the intensity of the workout. This is good to an extent as every time you push your self a bit beyond your comfort zone you work on building your stamina and endurance. Fatigue is tiredness of the muscles due to the strain or lack of recovery from the previous workout. I have seen many trainers who can not differentiate between the two may be because they do not know the difference. Such trainers are dangerous to people they train as when their clients / students complain of a pain instead of trying to find out whether it is due to exhaustion or fatigue they push them more and injuries follow. 

I try to keep my workout well balanced with a lot of rest time for recovery. Will list my usual workout below to give a general idea of setting a routine. I do change the workout routine every 3 - 4 months. My workout may not be suitable for you do not try it without consulting a qualified trainer. I have lots of time through the day for my body to recover you may not so go slow. I usually get time to sleep a bit during the day which allows me to train in the evening too. The morning workouts work on different muscle groups the evening workouts work on different muscle groups so there is no strain.

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday - Morning workout - 5- 6 km jog followed by some martial art techniques and sets of push ups and squats and end with 15 - 20 minutes of body conditioning.

Sunday - Hill jog of  7km  followed by some burpees.

Monday & Thursday - Evening workout - Power and strength training using rocks as weights for upper and lower body.

Tuesday -  Morning workout - A combination of cycling with jogging. 

Tuesday & Friday -  Evening workout - light weights for remaining muscle groups along with core workout.

Saturday - Holiday from any form of workout.

For setting up a personalized workout routine to suit your goal, fitness level or sport needs you can get in touch with us.