The four main components that we address when building a high-performance program are mindset, movement, nutrition, and recovery. With this post and the few to follow we are going to look at some things that you can do to influence an often overlooked but vital piece of the performance puzzle, recovery.
First up, here is a general overview.
”Every training element has a point of diminishing returns. Our job (the coach’s job) is to find it shift emphasis and cycle back at the optimal point in time.” ~ Derek Hansen
It’s important to understand that physical (and mental) exertion is a stress input that requires a recovery process and ultimately triggers a particular adaptation. Within the training realm, your workout is the stressor event. After a difficult session, there is an alarm reaction in the body caused by working out that results in a mobilising response, creates an inroad to your recovery and an acute performance decline. After this, a rebuilding period is required for the body to build back up to baseline and beyond in order to withstand future training inputs.
The rebuilding or recovery stage is made up of the physiological events that occur between workouts and is helped along by good nutrition, enough sleep and various other activities that we’ll talk more about later.
If you’ve done enough to recover from your training inroads and adapted to a higher ceiling of resilience, you’ll notice a small increase in performance (faster time, longer distance, heavier weight etc). It can be said then that you’ve completed the cycle and gained a positive adaptation from your training.
You’ve gotten a little better, and so the cycle continues. Apply an appropriate and recoverable stimulus, and repeat.
Stress + Recovery = Adaptation
Work + Rest = Success
As you can see, improving performance is a delicate balance of measured training and healthy supporting habits to maximise the result of your efforts. Recovery is the necessary bridge between the work that you do and what you get out of it. You don’t progress from simply training alone.
There are two parts to recovery: Rest and Regeneration.
Rest is an entirely passive strategy, involving a deliberate attempt to minimise planned movement and the mental and emotional duress associated with aiming one’s efforts at a long-term training plan.
Rest is aimed squarely on achieving physical and psychological recharge.
Regeneration involves active, movement-based strategies used to minimise fatigue, replenish energy systems, encourage tissue healing and function, re-sensitise to the training stimulus, and speed up the recovery process.
Some of these strategies include manual therapy, stretching, low-stress aerobic activity, and cold therapies to name a few.
We will discuss some of the strategies in the next instalment.