How long does it take you to recover between workouts? Are you only training 3-4 days a week because you just don’t have the energy to train more? Do you work out every day, but as the week goes on you feel like you are dragging more and getting more sore?
There is a good reason for all of this. Actually, a number of reasons exist that could be causing this. Let’s discuss some of them…
How long have you been training?
If you are new to exercising and training, the body will take time to adjust to the activity. You can’t expect to go from being sedentary to being active and beginning to train without your body saying “WTF!!!” in the process. This newfound activity is a shock to your system, essentially. Your body needs time to adjust to what you are doing.
Along with that, changing activities or sports can create the same response. To give you an example, I have been active all my life: I played soccer growing up, started running and lifting weights in high school, and then started CrossFit 8 years ago. When I started CrossFit, my body felt destroyed frequently and I was requiring more rest days because I was doing movements my body was unfamiliar with. There is no way I could have trained like I do now – 6 days a week, 3 of them being doubles – when I started. That took time to work into.
Do you take rest days? Are you getting sleep?
Rest days are ESSENTIAL! Sleep is ESSENTIAL!
Our bodies recover when we allow it to. Meaning, if we give ourselves time to recover, we will recover.
The number of rest days needed is a very individual thing. Most times, I take one rest day a week, but I have built my body up to be able to tolerate that. Other people I train with require two rest days a week for their bodies to recover and perform well. Take time to learn your body and decide what works best for you and your performance.
Rest and recovery days can also be a week to week thing as well. There are some weeks that my workouts may be a little more intense, my sleep may be less, and/or my life may be a little more crazy. Those weeks I may require an extra rest day to be thrown in midweek. If you are noticing your performance is lacking or you are unmotivated to train, take an extra rest day. That is your body asking for one.
What does your nutrition look like?
We also have to look at what you are doing when it comes to food intake.
First and foremost, how much are you eating? You need to be taking in enough food (aka fuel) to support the requirements of both your day to day life as well as your workouts. It is very easy to think we are eating enough but actually significantly undereating. The longer we undereat, the less and less energy we will have. Eventually, workouts suffer!
Next, what are you taking in after your workouts? The first 20 minutes after training are essential for the body when it comes to repairing and recovering. Getting in protein to start the muscle repair and muscle growth process as well as carbs to replenish the glycogen stores that were depleted is helpful for proper recovery.
The better fueled your body is to provide you energy as well as help you recover, the better you will feel during your workouts.
Have questions about your recovery or energy? Email me at email@example.com.
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Excellent advice. The part about rest being an individual thing has freed me from obsessing over deviating from my marathon training plan. Hal Higdon offers a lot of grace in this area as well. Thanks!
That’s great to hear! It is so hard to allow yourself to deviate from a plan, but so much more beneficial when you listen to your body. Love that you have been able to do that.