Maximizing Recovery

I was having a conversation with a client Wednesday morning, and the subject of sleep came up. When I inquired how much sleep he had been getting per night, his response was “around 4 hours”.
I’m pretty sure this was a pretty accurate description of my reaction if you asked him ha!
Recovery can be a tricky subject.
Ask any ‘guru’ about recovery and they’ll most likely start spewing some bullshit about the latest supplement with proprietary ingredients or some indigenous plant grown on the island of Mali, BUT it can only be plants who face east…
Yeah we’ve all heard it before and I’m telling you its complete and utter BS.
I’m not knocking nutritional supplements. Most have a time and a place, but just as when looking at your diet, the meats, veggies and good starches need to take priority NOT how much CLA you are consuming.
Same goes with allowing your body to recover between workouts.
The two recovery modalities, that provides the biggest bang for your buck, is sleeping and eating.
If you are training intensely, and not sleeping enough, or not eating enough, to sustain your training, you’re results will be crap.
It’s literally that simple.
Sure you can go for short periods when your body will adapt, but eventually you will become weaker, you will become slower, and you will get injured.
If your goal is to get stronger… get leaner… get faster… or anything in-between, you need to get plenty of sleep and eat enough to support your training goals.
If I were to prioritize one more important than the other, it would look like this:
1: Sleep
2: Food
I’m going to discuss the ramifications of not eating enough in my next message so the point is, sleeping an average of 4-5 hours a night ain’t going to cut it.
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed the amount of sleep we require as adults really hasn’t changed from the time we were kids.
Kids between the ages of 8-16 need an average of 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night to maintain adequate recovery, and 16-22 need around 9 hours per night, but how many of us remember pulling all-nighter’s in college?
From the age of 23 on the recommendation is 7-8 hours per night, UNLESS you participate in physical activity regularly.
We’ve heard how not getting adequate sleep can affect alertness, cognitive memory and reaction times, increases the risk of diabetes and obesity, and is directly related to balancing hormones and emotions so I’m not going to beat the drum here.
However as athletes, we need to address our sleeping requirements a little differently.
The sleeping patterns of 307 athletes were evaluated between 2011 and 2013. These results showed those sleeping 8+ hours a night reported feeling “better”, whereas those who slept less than 7 hours reported greater irritability and less than satisfactory sleep.
These findings were consistent with previous studies demonstrating a relationship between increased performance in intercollegiate athletes and greater sleeping habits.
So what does this mean for you?
Simple, every hour counts.
Sounds a bit ironic coming from me I know, but the last two years I attempted to make it a priority to get 7-8 hours sleep every night, along with a quick power nap in the afternoon when needed, and I can definitely tell the difference.
Make sleeping and resting a priority in your recovery program, and I guarantee you will not only feel better, but you will see your training elevate to levels you haven’t seen before.

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