There is often a misuse of the word “over-train”. As a whole, if our energy levels seem sluggish, workouts are struggling and we have more muscle/joint soreness, the first thought that comes to mind is that we are over-training. However, it’s much more likely that people are actually under-recovering rather than overt-training but exhibit similar symptoms. They get the diagnosis wrong. So what is under recovering and how can we prevent it?
Recovering doesn’t always mean lying on the couch and being inactive. Yes, we all need our rest and relaxation. But, the two biggest factors that contribute to under recovery are sleep and nutrition. Having a proper diet will ensure that you fully recover between training sessions. This should make sense, as food fuels our body for activity. If we train hard, we need to replenish our bodies afterward. Some of the top reasons people under eat are as follows: lack of preparation or planning, blunted hunger due to high stress levels and thinking you’re eating enough. So how can we combat eating more with going to the gym with our already busy schedules? Simply increasing a little of each meal may be enough. In addition, timing when we eat our carbs around workouts, and putting quality fuel in our bodies can go a long way. Tracking our meals to see how much we are actually eating helps to ensure we are eating enough of the right foods.
There is no escaping the power of a good night’s rest. 5-6 hours won’t cut it and 7 hours is cutting it close. If we train hard, we need 8-10 hours of sleep. How can we fall asleep and stay asleep? Avoid using electronic devices before going to bed. They emit what’s called blue light which tells our brain that we need to stay awake and decreases melatonin levels. Downloading an app called “f.lux” automatically turns our screen a different color at night, and allows us to use our devices (if we have to). It helps eliminate blue light and can help us fall asleep quicker. Reducing stress can also have a profound effect on sleep. Some ways to help reduce stress are: adding recovery time to your workouts with your personal trainer, counseling/talking to someone about issues that are pressing you, taking an hour of “you” time each day, or even listening to a podcast, reading a book or doing something for pleasure instead of doing something for work.
Pairing adequate nutritional support with enough sleep can do wonders for your body. Personal Training workouts will be stronger, recovery will be quicker, and overall energy will increase. Nutrition and sleep are both critical training factors that many people fail to adequately account for when they should be treating them with equal importance to training itself. If you want great results, then you need to ensure that you take these steps to adequately recover between workouts.