Exercise is the fun part of changing your health and body. It’s the exciting bit that gets our adrenaline pumping, blood rushing and allows us to feel the joy of challenging ourselves to do just a little bit more.
The workouts are the part of the process that we all like to focus on. The thing that the outside world sees, and we assume is responsible for our success in having a good looking, fit, healthy body.
However, the workout is only half of the equation. You see, there is something even more important than the workout. If you get this right, it will ensure your success.
Get it wrong, and you are left confused and frustrated about why you’re working hard, but seemingly not getting anywhere.
What is this important part of any good fitness routine we are talking about?
You might be thinking I’m talking about diet, but I’m not.
Well, diet is a part of it, but not the entirety. Diet is important, but it is only one of various factors that impact…recovery.
You do not get stronger or fitter when you are working out. You get stronger and fitter when you recover from your workout.
That means the recovery is just as important, if not more so, than the actual workout. Without the correct recovery, you are really not getting the benefit of the workout.
Of course we should be focusing on training consistently and working hard, but we also need to pay attention to the rest of our life. To ensure we can recover from our workouts and make the most of the effort we are putting in during our training.
For our body to adapt, it needs to be challenged. We apply a stimulus (exercise) that pushes it and it grows back a little bit stronger and fitter to compensate. Do this right – get the correct balance of pushing and recovering – and over time our body gets stronger and fitter.
If we fail to challenge our body, it stagnates and we do not progress. Meanwhile, if we push too hard and exceed our capacity to recover, it breaks down and we end up getting ill or injured.
Finding the right balance is important. If we’re Type A “go-go-go” type people, who like to do everything at 100 miles per hour, we need to put a big focus on our recovery, to ensure we can sustain that level of stimulus challenging our body.
A well balanced fitness routine will place equal importance on both sides of the equation and ensure that we can progress consistently and safely. Avoiding periods of burnout or injury and allowing ourselves to remain consistent over the long term, to achieve optimum results.
If you are waiting until you get injured or burnt out to focus on rest, recovery and regeneration, you are missing the boat. You need to take a pro-active approach to managing your body to get the most out of it.
Incorporating some simple habits into our routines can go a long way towards keeping us healthy, happy and allow us to train to the best of our abilities, long into the future.
In part 2 of this series I will discuss the specific ways you can place a focus on your recovery, to maximise the results you are getting from training.
After recently having surgery and being out of action for a while myself, this is something that I am more acutely aware of than ever. Trust me when I say you do not want to wait until you get in this situation before you start paying attention to looking after your body.
Check back in to part 2 for the specific strategies you can employ to maximise your recovery.