A Brother’s Guide to Rest and Recovery

Jul 27, 2017 | Intelligence | 0 comments

As Athletes, we value our performance. It is our intention to train and to keep getting better and better. What separates athletes from the laymen, is prioritising rest. We don’t improve by consistently performing high intensity workouts, failing to rest and wondering why we’re feeling off or not performing on certain days. For those of us who, being an Athlete, isn’t our profession, we need to be even more cognisant of the need to rest.

What happens when we train?

Typically, we train to condition ourselves. As a result, we often train beyond our lactate threshold, as we train anaerobically. Consequently, we enter into a catabolic state. This is where the body breaks itself down. In this state, catabolic hormones such as cortisol are released. These hormones help liberate energy from carbohydrates and fats, depleting our nutrients. As a result of this, there is a build up in waste chemicals and an increased demand for oxygen. Another characteristic of being in this state, is that tissues are broken down and damaged. Finally, the brain is also fatigued, as performing at these high levels requires a significant amount of mental power, to take ourselves to the next level of athletic performance.

What needs to happen after we train

After training, we need to enter into an Anabolic state. This is where the body builds itself back up. Hormones such as testosterone assist here. Moreover, waste chemicals are gradually removed, the ‘oxygen debt’ is repaid, and damaged tissues are repaired. The Central Nervous System (Brain and Spinal cord) also needs to recover, so that we can train again to high intensities, without the brain ‘shutting down’ by using its protective mechanisms to bring on feelings of fatigue and reduce nerve impulses associated with the activities we’re performing.

What do we need to do to ensure we don’t burnout

1) Schedule in your Rest Days

Training 3-4 times per week? Make sure you take a rest day in between each workout. Rest means rest. Not another intense activity! That said, there are some activities that are relaxing and energising. These include:
• Yoga
• Meditation
• Tai Chi
• Sauna
• Jacuzzi
• Listening to Music
• Chatting with Friend

2) Get Quality Sleep!
You should be sleeping for 7-9 hours every night. There are 5 sleep cycles, lasting around 90 minutes each. Each sleep cycle affects how your body and brain regenerates. You cannot afford to miss any of these as an athlete. Make sure you’re getting to bed in good time to arise fresh and ready to take on the day.

3) Pay careful attention to your nutrition

Our bodies are comprised of around 70% Water. But what comprises the other 30%? If we remove water- the body is made of protein. The body needs protein in order to make structural (muscles, ligaments, tendons) and functional (enzymes, hormones, antibodies etc) elements. We need to ensure we are prioritising protein in each of our meals, to help us ascend to the next level.

We also need a good source of fats and carbohydrates. These are best found in minimally processed, natural wholefoods. The added benefit is that these foods, such as fruit, vegetables and nuts, contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that assist in optimising our recovery and performance.

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