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Understand the Timing of Recovery

This is an excerpt from Smarter Recovery by Pete McCall.

One of the most important components of a successful exercise program is the ability to be physically active every day, which is why you should begin your workout knowing exactly how you will recover once you’re done sweating. There are four time periods to consider for recovery: the rest period after completing a set of an exercise (or series of exercises when circuit training) during a workout; immediately after the workout or competition is over (in the coming chapters, the terms workout and training session will refer to any type of vigorous physical activity, including competition); the day after a workout, when muscles are still in the process of repairing tissue as well as replacing energy; and long term. Any workout program should be designed to allow for periods of rest so the body has time to completely recover and be ready to go.

Within-Workout Rest

High-intensity exercise, whether metabolic conditioning or strength training, should be performed to a point of momentary fatigue, which is an indication that no more energy is immediately available in the muscle cells. Exercising to a point of fatigue necessitates a brief period, up to five minutes, immediately after the completion of one bout of exercise to allow muscle cells to regenerate ATP in order to be properly fueled for the next. The rest period immediately after completing an exercise is essential to allow muscle cells the time to regenerate and replace energy.

The Day of a High-Intensity Workout

Immediately after a high-intensity workout is over is the most important time to focus on applying specific recovery strategies. The primary goal should be to replace energy and hydration lost during exercise. The secondary objective is tissue treatment, such as using a foam roller or percussion gun or sitting in a sauna or cold bath to promote the mechanical repair process. Postexercise nutrition, tissue treatment, and rest are all important components of recovery immediately after a workout. Chapter 6 will address specific methods and strategies you can use to promote a return to homeostasis once a workout is complete.

The Day After a High-Intensity Workout

A low-intensity bodyweight workout to emphasize mobility, tissue treatment with a percussion gun followed by a long walk, or low-intensity strength training to move joints through their structural range of motion while elevating circulation are among strategies that could be used to promote recovery the day after a high-intensity workout. Rest is an essential component of recovery, but low-intensity exercise can provide important benefits that help promote a complete return to homeostasis. Chapter 7 explains the key components of recovery the day after a hard workout.

Planning Workouts for Long-Term Success

High-intensity exercise is popular because it delivers results for both aesthetic and health goals, and in limited amounts, it is good for you; however, the challenge is that the same high-intensity workouts that deliver results could also cause soreness and limit your ability to exercise the following day. In addition, too many high-intensity workouts without the proper time for rest and recovery could result in OTS. Therefore, to achieve optimal results, it is important to design a workout program that alternates between low-, moderate-, and high-intensity exercise. Chapter 8 explains how to create a periodized plan for yourself that alternates between low-, moderate-, and high-intensity workouts. In addition, you will learn specific strategies and healthy habits that can help you avoid OTS so you can achieve and sustain an optimal state of fitness.

More Excerpts From Smarter Recovery



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