Strategies to Optimize Recovery and Performance

The ability to adapt and make positive gains in your fitness is entirely congruent with your ability to recover from stressors.
By Dave Lipson ,

The ability to adapt and make positive gains in your fitness is entirely congruent with your ability to recover from stressors. When we introduce the stress of working out, the body goes into a state of excitement to accommodate the stress. Systems in the body compensate and need time to return to normality and homeostasis. Allowing proper time to recover and applying the right amount of stress is an art that, when optimized, can give you the greatest return on the work you put in the gym.

Hormonal levels are essential for providing good results in the gym. We can manipulate them with the right levels of stress in exercise. For instance, after a heavy weight-training session, there will be a drastic drop in growth hormone and testosterone. The degree of the drop is equivalent to the load and intensity of the session. Likewise, there will be a huge rebound of these levels hours later, followed by a leveling off before the next session … hopefully. But, if not enough time to recover hormonal levels between sessions is allowed, athletes can end up in a constantly depleted state of anabolic (muscle-building) hormones, leading to such disorders as adrenal fatigue and overtraining. Here are some tips to maximize recovery:

  1. Keep sessions short and intense Try to limit sessions to 45 minutes of hard work. Train hard and train fast. After 45 minutes the central nervous system is fried. Any high weight or skillful lifting movements will be greatly diminished. Also keeping sessions short and intense provide a large hormonal response.
  2. Restore your fuelMake sure to feed the machine. Strength athletes should try to get roughly 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight to maintain and build lean muscle mass. Your muscles are composed of almost 70 percent H2O. WATER IS THE GREATEST ANABOLIC!! Being dehydrated is catabolic. Make sure to always drink water before and after training sessions. Glycogen stores fuel metabolic activities like most CrossFit conditioning workouts and long strength-training sessions. Consume good fats and clean carbohydrates to fuel these activities.
  3. Sleep is where you grow! Get enough sleep. That means eight to 10 hours straight. Sleep is when the body truly heals and recovers. Extra points for an afternoon one-hour power nap! Use supplements like melatonin to get deep restorative sleep.

So those are the major ones. Literally eat, sleep and train! If you can nail down the big stuff, you should have everything starting to move in the right direction, and you can refine the details from there.

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