It’s summer time. Other than the sundresses on Main and hearing your children all day on the weekdays, the buzz lines of ‘Lose 6 lbs now’ stalk me from magazine racks at the store. We all like to go fast and lift heavy. But we should remember that all of hard work is almost pointless without proper recovery. Listening to our bodies and even treating ourselves to a break (instead of a sugary sweet thing) can do wonders for us.
I wanted to recap the Ten Commandments of Recovery highlighted by Ruth a few years ago. I actually have this bookmarked to remind myself that it’s OK to take a break, because sometimes taking a pause can get us further in whatever training.
Dan John, one of the godfathers of strength and conditioning, wrote this article about the importance of recovery. Most athletes (this gym is no exception) focus on the other pillars of fitness (WOD and diet) and completely ignore the necessity of RECOVERY.
1. Sleep!! I know, between work, wod, packing Paleo meals, American Idol, and reading our blog, there’s no more time in the day to catch that obligatory 9+ hours, but the effects are as astronomical as the ‘juice’ without the shrinkage and back acne.
2 . The Body is One Piece: Dan says it so well I can’t even paraphrase it: “Don’t think you have an upper body and a lower body. Stick a fork in someone’s thigh while they are benching and it will stop the lift, even though some think that bench presses are for the upper body. If you play three hours of pickup basketball games, it will hurt your training. If you slam tequila shooters with the cute girl just back from the Mexico trip, it will hurt your training. Staying up all night with sick children will hurt your training. An infected toe will hurt your training. You are one magnificent piece, keep that in mind. The first line of defense against injury and over-training is monitoring your life as well as your training.”
3. Program and Plan: As coaches, we can carry the burden on this one. But, you have to do your part by planning your rest days, prioritizing your sleep, and taking it easy on your injuries. You also have to have short and long term goals in your horizon, pick your goats, and spend some time attacking them.
4. Eat your protein. Eat your fats. You need protein and fat to recover, grow and improve. Meat, Leaves and Berries Diet.
5. Minerals and Fish Oil: Fish Oil, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Zinc.
6. Hot tubs and cold showers: Mark’s Daily Apple posted about this as well.
7. Mid-line Stability: Chinese O-lifters consider the abs a “second” backbone: stronger abs=stronger torso=bigger lifts.
8. Splurge: Allocate some of that bar fund toward a hot tub, sports massage, chiropractor (Dr. Silva), or just a foam roller & lacrosse ball. Splurging can involve money or just time invested in your recovery process.
9. Don’t Over-train: Our fitness journey is a lifetime one. It’s not a race that ends when you reach the end of your linear progression, or when you hit a body weight snatch. Taking a rest day is GOOD and necessary. You also need to let the mind heal and recover. Active rest is good. Just don’t spend your rest day snowboarding, hauling rocks or playing six hours of basketball.
10. Choose wisely: Once you decide on a route to take in training, be careful of listening to every “whisper in the wind.” Magazines in the muscle field are one step from porn and cater to the fears and insecurities of adolescent boys. Vet every source-even us!!