By Kevin Hirose – BKin, CSCS
Understand the importance of Recovery/Regeneration
So the more you put in, the better; the harder you work, the more benefits you reap. Yes and no. It is true the more quality training put in, the more potential benefits an individual can receive. However, there is a large “but”. But…in order for the body to realize the physical adaptations, there must be adequate quality recovery/regeneration. Without sufficient recovery, the body will only become
over-stressed and an eventually weakened instead of strengthened and/or improved. Okay, so leave some time between workouts and you’ll be fine. Well, perhaps…recovery can be more complicated than just not training/exercising for a few days, especially when life is complicated. Take a few moments to figure out what factors, other than the passage of time, could effect recovery/regeneration.
RECOVERY = THE TIME REQUIRED TO REPAIR “DAMAGE” OF THE BODY FROM TRAINING OR COMPETITION
REGENERATION = Can be synonymous with RECOVERY. According to the EXOS definition, “Regeneration comprises all the PLANNED ACTIVITIES AND NUTRITIONAL STRATEGIES to help your body physically and psychologically overcome the stress of training.” (EXOS 2009)
Other than the passage of time and the physiological processes that occur in the days after training, the following factors are key in the recovery phase:
– proper nutrition (daily)
– sufficient quality sleep (daily)
– light exercise/activity = active recovery (between more intense workouts)
– physical and mental rest & relaxation = passive recovery (whenever possible)
– massage = massage therapy and/or foam rolling (whenever required or on a maintenance frequency)
These aspects listed are key in quality recovery for the body to maximize the benefits of training and also the enhance the speed of recovery. The quicker the body recovers, the sooner the the individual will be fresh for next scheduled training session. And the ideal recovery is generally a combination of both active and passive recovery. In essence, the quicker the recovery, the more potential quality training sessions can occur within a given time period. Therefore, more physical adaptation could occur for the client/athlete resulting in reaching their goals whether it be performance-based or aesthetics. Recovery is just as important as the training itself as they work in tandem to achieve balance of the human body. Intense training over a period of time without adequate rest/recovery will lead to plateauing and eventually declining performance and injury. It can also lead to Overtraining Syndrome, a state in which the body cannot perform to its fullest for a short or even a long period of time due to dysfunction of the nervous system. To help illustrate the cycle of training stimulus to recovery to adaptation (supercompensation) have a look at the diagram below:
In order to avoid Overtraining and make training progress, an individual must allow itself to progress beyond the recovery phase before do the same type of training or same muscle group. The term “Supercompensation” is simply adaptation of the nervous system and/or muscular system, meaning that it has become stronger or more efficient. And as seen in the diagram, progress can be lost if the training stimulus is stopped or delayed, eventually returning to baseline or thereabouts. Recovery is SUPREMELY important and absolutely necessary for maximal training benefits, long-term progress, and injury reduction and prevention. Try to practice recovery or regeneration as diligently as your training and you will have an healthier and fitter body and mind than you ever had.