The importance of recovery and regeneration during training is just as important as the exercise itself; some would even argue it’s more important. Recovery is absolutely necessary to prevent any overtraining and the only way for the human body to get to its fullest physical potential. When you exercise, your body is put through stress that damages and tears your muscles. Those muscle tears are what lead to muscle growth, but the body needs to recover and regenerate for those muscles to be repaired and come back stronger. The best time for muscles to repair and recover is during your sleep so getting ample enough sleep is necessary.
Recovery through Movement
Recovery doesn’t solely mean the rest after training, but active-recovery after immediate exercise, like a cool down. Active recovery is a low intensity exercise done after a high intensity exercise to help increase blood circulation. During exercise, your muscles contract and create lactic acid (think about the feeling in the muscle during your last couple reps of a tough exercise). In order to get rid of lactate, you need to increase your blood circulation. Going for a walk after a long distance run is great for an increase in blood circulation, as well as self-myofascial release with a foam roller after a big lift. Rest days are necessary for your body to recover, but that doesn’t mean you have to lay on the couch all day. If you’re looking for an active-recovery exercise, going for a nice walk, swimming or slow yoga are great options.
Signs of Insufficient Recovery
It can take anywhere from 24 hours to a week to fully recover depending on the type of exercise. If you don’t allow yourself enough time to recover, your sleep, stress, performance, and physiological functions will all be affected. Some specific examples of insufficient recovery would be the inability to complete a workout because of the loss of motivation and/or physical ability which can then lead to sleep disturbances. Recovery will also be impacted if there is a lack of hydration. Your body sweats while you exercise so you need to properly hydrate in order to replenish the loss of fluids. You should always start your workout hydrated so it lowers the chance of dehydration. Although it is recommended to drink around 30 ounces of water within 3 hours of training, if that sounds unattainable try focusing on increasing your water intake overall and making sure to have water available while you exercise.
If there isn’t enough recovery time between workouts, there is a chance of overtraining. Recovery is most important so you don’t overtrain, but how do you know if you’re overtraining? Overtraining is when you don’t give your body enough time to recover. Some symptoms of overtraining would be fatigue, staleness, overheating and unusual soreness. If you feel yourself overtraining, you need to give yourself a few days of rest and/or active-recovery. Practice being in-tune with your body and being self-aware, if your body is telling you it’s tired and needs rest, then take the rest! All your hard work won’t go down the drain and the gym will be there tomorrow.
Regeneration through Nutrition
Nutrition plays a big part in your regeneration and having a well-balanced diet will help your body recover more efficiently. While there is no magical food that is the secret ingredient in recovery and regeneration, eating well balanced meals and foods rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Omega-3 can help aid in regeneration. Healthline has a great list of foods that help to improve immune function and properly fuel your body for physical demands. When you start to eat right, your body starts to perform better because of its ability to regenerate. Whether you’re recovering from an injury or a long run, regeneration in nutrition will be one of your better options. Below is a list of foods made by Precision Medicine that help in regeneration and the benefits of those foods.
“1. Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries - their antioxidant and flavonoids content reduce inflammation and repair cellular damage
2. Broccoli - promotes liver function, reduces inflammation in the blood
3. Ginger Root - combats inflammation
4. Nuts and Seeds - contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and plant sterols
5. Mushrooms - detoxify liver cells
6. Fish and Seafood - through their omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory”
Here at Garage 1880, we pride ourselves on recovery and regeneration. We make sure that you get enough rest between sets, between training days, and you’re both physically and mentally ready to train. Set your consultation with us to learn more!
About the author: Veronica is a personal trainer at Garage1880. She recently moved from Miami with her husband and dog Chica. Veronica specializes in strength training and is a certified pain free specialist.