This post originated over the summer; however, I believe it’s integral to any exercise routine. If your workout isn’t working, lack of down time between workouts may be the reason.
You’ve been hitting the gym, pavement, and/or the DVD workouts 5-6 days a week. If this statement falls into the category of “things that make you go huh?” this post is not for you.
However if you are working with a high intensity routine most everyday, you may be wasting your time. UNLESS you are inserting a recovery day.
Recovery days are essential. They are the “pause” if you are in a state of constant “play.” Exercising everyday at moderate to high intensities, you will burn calories. Your body will also demand more calories. Translation? You will want to eat more food. Yet this isn’t unusual, nor does it necessarily mitigate your workout. It simply means your body requires additional fuel for additional work. It can become a problem though, if you are overdoing either.
Sore muscles or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) may be an expectation if you haven’t worked out consistently. If you have overextended yourself or tried a new routine, it also maybe the price. Yet if you have trouble staying awake by midday, achy muscles are a constant companion, and headaches are becoming a part of your post-exercise routine–you are overdoing it. Yes, these symptoms can be attributed to dehydration (more common than you realize among the diligent). Hydration issues aside, if these sound familiar or persist–slow down. A check-up may not be bad idea either, if you have not had one. Your body at this point, is not making a polite request.
RECOVERY–What does it really mean?
Recovery days run the gambit–just like sports. They mean different ideas to different athletes. If you are an avid runner, a recovery day may be a “recovery run.” Check out http://running.competitor.com. “Workout of the Week: Recovery Runs.” I found this article very useful, providing insight into recovery as well as running past fatigue.
If the thought of running makes you run the other way–recovery could be that “day off.” Working towards constructing that chiseled physique? Check out http://2buildmusclefast.com. “Importance of Rest and Recovery in Muscle Building.” This should be of particular interest to bodybuilders. Why? In part, the article stresses the need for rest, if you want to become sculpted faster. No rest, no gain, appears to be the theme here.
What if your workouts are here, there, and everywhere? Not a problem–here are a few suggestions from my “toolbox.”
If you’re a consistent follower of my posts, you realize my workouts vary: running, INSANITY, gym, hot yoga, as well as ballet inspired. Because of this, my recovery needs vary as well. Therefore, a day off for me, literally is “a day off.” While my teenage son may be into recovery runs (he runs cross-country & track), running is no longer my only form of exercise. It once was–and still remains my favorite. However, because my body started to “maintain an even strain” unless I upped my mileage, I had to find something else to get the results/weight loss I once derived running.
Recovery first and foremost–has to entail adequate hydration as well as nutrition. You will not achieve your goals without either of these. Yes, eating to fuel “your habit,” is a balancing act. If you take in more calories than you’re burning, you will gain weight. And, it may not be the muscle hypertrophy for which you are striving. My advice? Start with adequate hydration. See my post “Not enough? Too much? A little guidance please…” Once these needs are met, realize your body is going to demand–not request–higher quality food. While potato chips, ice cream, and French Silk pie may not be totally eradicated from your thought process, they will not fuel your transformation. Therefore, be prepared.
On my high intensity days (hard/long run, INSANITY, hot yoga) my drink of choice is electrolyte replacement, supplemented by H20. My meal? ONE–not all, of these days includes a meal I really really like. Otherwise, I make sure I have plenty of salads, fixings for fresh tostadas, chicken breast, & roast beef around. I am not a fish eater or a vegetarian; nor do I have any plans to become either. Therefore, my meal plans/snacks include protein in the form of chicken, roast beef, some pork, legumes, or protein bars. Vegetables, especially snow peas, green onions, mixed frozen, broccoli, and carrots are usually found in my fridge.
Lower intensity days (ballet inspired workout, light run, run/walk) H20 is my drink of choice. Meals are lighter; and usually DO NOT include a splurge on these days. My philosophy is lighter workout, lighter food. While I haven’t the scientific data to purport this rationale, it works for me.
Whether you lift, run, dance, kick a soccer ball, walk, or are a diligent chair exerciser–keep it up. Keeping it up however, means keeping your body from giving up. Giving it the rest, hydration, and nutrition it requires are ALL part of RECOVERY.
All for now. Keep up and keep at it.
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