Looking to Grow?
This is part three of our five-part series on how to grow, avoid plateaus and experience adaptation over a long period of time.
You can only grow as much as you can recover and the harder you work, the better you need to be at recovering between training.
There are eight key areas we utilize when optimizing recovery.
Low intensity, concentric-based movement such as walking, swimming or biking is important for increasing circulation of blood in your system and aids in the detoxification process. Other benefits include increased oxygen delivery to the muscles, improved lung efficiency and better fuel utilization.
Taking in enough water is necessary in supporting the benefits that come from low-level movement. Every cell in our bodies needs water to function properly, and without adequate levels of water our bodies are unable to process lymph (the fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system) and therefore have a difficult time excreting toxins. Just a 2% decrease in hydration can hinder performance by up to 20% because the cells are not able to work at maximum efficiency.
Sun exposure is necessary in circadian rhythm optimization. When the sunlight hits your retina it will send a response to the hypothalamus in order to regulate various neurotransmitters throughout the day and night. When our body is efficiently working in the manner in which it is intended, recovery improves and performance skyrockets.
Sleep is a huge influence on how quickly and efficiently our body can recover from the day-to-day. For anyone looking to optimize continued adaptation in the gym, sleep needs to be a major focus, and both quality and quantity as well as consistency are necessary in improving health and continued growth.
The food you eat can either support or decrease your body’s ability to recover. It is no longer “you are what you eat” but more accurately “you are what you digest”; having good hygiene will allow you to process and assimilate the nutrients necessary for a quick recovery.
The goal with intentional breathing is to teach the body how to move from a sympathetic (fight or flight) state into a parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. When discussing the body’s ability to recover, we are really talking about how fast the body can return to homeostasis, and breathing is a powerful way to accomplish this.
Smart training plans that are dependent on the client and his/her experience and background are important for supporting recovery. An inefficient or random fitness plan can create burnout and/or overtraining, which will eventually halt the ability to adapt and grow stronger. Understanding the importance of who needs a full body workout versus who needs an upper/lower split or someone who just needs to walk more is necessary for continued growth. Every person is different (training age, neuromuscular efficiency, background, goals, lifestyle, stressors, etc.), and the training plan should be one that takes all of that information into consideration.
With advances in technology comes a greater ability to track not only your habits that correlate to recovery but also the body’s state of recovery. The Fitbit is a cost-efficient watch that tracks the metrics involved with enhancing recovery such as movement, water and sleep. The Whoop Band is another watch that uses heart rate variability and sleep patterns to accurately track your body’s actual state of recovery.
A series of in-office testing that all Central Athlete coaches conduct in each client's initial consultation will shed light on which method(s) are best for you. If you’re tired of spinning your wheels or you want to know which method will serve you best, then click the link below to schedule a FREE strategy session with one of our health and fitness consultants.