Everybody talks about the positive feelings you get after exercise, that they feel energized and those endorphins are rushing through their body, but the fact is that many people who are undergoing a lot of exercise feel like they’ve been hit by a truck! Exercise should be a stressor, and it hurts your body, which prompts a physiological response. Whenever you try to lift heavy weights, this is sending a signal to your body to say that it needs to be ready to deal with the situation next time, which is why you become stronger or more efficient. But we can cause issues by doing too much. If we are doing too much intense exercise or it is too strenuous, we need to recover properly, but how?
It’s something that everybody knows, but it’s something that you don’t understand until you feel like you’ve been put through the wringer. When you feel absolutely exhausted after a high-intensity workout you don’t just feel fatigued for hours afterwards, but the effects could linger days afterwards! This is why it’s important to avoid any heavily regimented diet programs. The fact is that when you are undergoing a lot of exercise, you have got to avoid the temptation to reduce carbohydrates too much or fast, because your body will not thank you. One solution to this is to listen to your body, but you also need to make sure that you are getting enough calories to recover. But this means balancing your macronutrients.
If you do not have enough protein in your diet, you could lose muscle mass, and if you have too few carbs, you won’t be able to perform as well in other parts of your life. Protein is vital and you need to get the right amount for your needs. Luckily, these days you can do this while on the go. Suppliers like the Eat Protein Store provide protein bars and protein shakes. But if you are doing a lot of intense exercise, if you notice you feel very weak the next day (and even the day after that), you have to eat more!
Sleep is the biggest thing we need to get right. If you undertake strenuous exercise but you don’t sleep properly, you are going to incur sleep debt. This will have an impact on your abilities to work out more intensely and it will stop you from recovering properly. Sleep is crucial because this is when your levels of human growth hormone are at their highest. Human growth hormone is what will help you the most in recovering from your workouts.
There are things you can do to help speed up this process, for example, by consuming leucine before you go to sleep, but this is not essential as you just need to make sure you are sleeping properly. If you are not, then you’ve got to look at the stresses in other parts of your life. If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety, you may not want to exercise as intensely as you think you should or you should factor in more recovery days, which leads nicely onto the next point…
Giving Yourself Enough Recovery Time
While there are a lot of resources that will tell you that you need to get back to exercise within 48 hours or you risk losing muscle mass, this is not true in the slightest. Listening to your body is the most important factor in terms of recovery. And when you undergo a very strenuous workout, it’s not just the physical aspects that need to recover but you have to remember that you are also placing a lot of stress on your central nervous system. It can take a lot longer for your nervous system to recover. Some believe it takes 48 hours for the nervous system to recover but you’ve got to look at what is happening in your life after you’ve worked out. And this is why there is nothing wrong with additional recovery days.
You may need up to 7 days to recover, and in some circumstances, you may need longer. But recovery time is the most important thing because if you only recovered by 90% and you go back to an exercise you are not giving your body the opportunity to function at its optimum, which is the goal. Many people believe that they just need to keep exercising in order to reap the benefits, but this is not true. Your body is a machine that was built to bounce back stronger, but only if you give it enough time.
If you have seen any athletes having a sports massage, this is definitely something that you can do too as it will relieve tension in the muscles and relax you enough so you don’t feel incredibly stressed after your workout. You can try to have a sports massage once a week, but there are ways for you to do this at home.
One of the best ways to do this is to get a foam roller which can help you notice certain tension points. This is especially helpful if you are lifting a very heavy weight and you notice an issue with a shoulder or your knee. In addition to a foam roller, you can also use a massage gun, as this works in a very similar fashion to a deep tissue massage.
We live in an age where we think we’ve just got to keep exercising or we fall behind. But people that are working 50 hour weeks and try to hit the gym 3 times a week are going to suffer from the effects of overtraining after a while. While strenuous and intense workouts are one of the best ways to help you build up stronger and healthier, you’ve got to remember that recovery is the most important piece of the puzzle. Exercise is only the stimulus; it is the recovery where you actually build stronger, healthier, and lose weight!