People work out for different reasons. They work out to stay fit and healthy, or to lose weight, or to build up muscle and endurance. Depending on your current level of fitness and your desired results, your workout routine may vary massively. A high-level athlete in training is going to have a different routine to someone trying to maintain their physique.
However, every workout routine has one thing in common that shouldn’t be neglected or forgotten about. Rest and recovery.
You could argue that rest and recovery occurs outside of the work out routine, but it’s actually what helps your body to build up strength and even helps your mindset. Even more importantly, neglecting your rest day can actually have negative effects on your body.
How the Recovery Phase Works
When you exercise, you put your body under stress. Different exercises stress different parts of your body and in different ways. This causes muscle tissue to break down. For your muscles to adapt to this stress and to rebuild your muscles, you need to give it time to recover. During this recovery stage, your body will rebuild your damaged muscles to make them stronger.
There are two different types of recovery phases. First, there’s the short-term recovery phase which occurs immediately after any intensive exercise. This involves low-intensity exercise as you cool down, then consuming the correct foods and drinks to replenish your energy stores and fluids.
Then, there’s the longer-term recovery phase, which could take a day or two, depending on your routine. You can either engage in passive recovery or active recovery. Passive recovery would involve a day without any exercise, while active recovery involves low-intensity exercise. Active recovery can help to repair soft tissue and to remove the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.
Both of these types of recovery are important, and you should try to implement them both in your routine. But even more important is proper sleep. This is when all of the damage gets repaired and is vital for an efficient recovery.
The rest day gives both your mind and body a break, and frees up time for other activities. Slot in hobbies or social activities during your normal exercise time and if you need to, add them into your schedule. A healthy life needs balance, and if working out makes your life less healthy, there’s a problem.
The Consequences of Neglecting Recovery
The importance of a proper recovery phase is most obvious when you consider what can happen if you neglect it. One harmful idea around exercise is that “taking a day off” to recover is a sign of weakness and that you should “push through the pain.”
To an extent, pushing through the pain is a part of the exercise. Your body will become accustomed to a certain level of stress, and you want to push your body for an effective workout. However, if you’re in actual pain, then that’s your body’s way of telling you to stop. Pushing too hard, whether during an intense workout or by neglecting rest days, can result in an injury.
An injury can set your progress back by months, so even if you discount the pain involved, you should do whatever it takes to avoid an injury. Pushing it that bit harder simply isn’t worth the risk.
Also, the recovery phase isn’t like “taking a day off” because you’re lazy or unmotivated, rather it’s an integral part of improving your performance. Even if you don’t get injured, you will still slow or even halt your progress by overtraining. Your body needs that time to build up.
Without providing the building blocks your body needs, you can’t progress. On a similar note, consistent sleep deprivation will severely impact your training. It can increase cortisol levels, making you more stressed, while decreasing the level of hormones that help your body to heal.
How Supplements Can Help
Something that might help you to take full advantage of your recovery period is supplement use. These supplements can provide your body with nutrients that encourage muscle growth and repair, maximizing your recovery period. You can find supplements geared towards your specific needs at steelsupplements.com.
This is especially important if you have an intensive exercise program, as you might not have a huge amount of time for recovery and rest. You will still need to take some time out, but increasing the quality of this phase suddenly becomes all that much more important.