Stress & Recovery

In my previous post, I wrote about doing the basics at a high level and maybe this post should have been first but it does continue the theme of doing the basics extraordinarily well.

The basic piece I want to focus on today is RECOVERY.

The equation for improving any aspect of our lives is STRESS + REST = Growth.

This is a really simple equation and simple to see that if you remove either of the variables, the product is negated. Also, if one of the variables is weighted too heavily, the product will be compromised.

In terms of athletic performance, the primary stress is training, rest or recovery is time completely off, training at a very low intensity and volume in comparison to your normal load, sleep, and the use of recovery modalities such as massage, ice baths, compression therapy, and contrast plunges. Lastly, growth is your improvement toward your goals.

Here’s the tricky part for most of us though, our stress is not limited to our training and your brain and body do not and cannot differentiate between intervals on the bike and running late for work while stuck in traffic.

Our modern lives run deep with stress on a daily basis, and this over abundance of stress is likely the reason you aren’t getting faster, aren’t losing those last 5lbs, aren’t building muscle. Besides elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which causes weight gain or maintenance), the use mental energy to deal with stress reduces our ability to make good choices and perform cognitive functions (put down the Oreos).

So what can you do to help yourself your reach your goals?

  1. Improve your sleep quality and duration (remember my last post about adding 30 min, more on this is in a future post).
  2. Plan breaks from training and work when you go fishing or lie on the beach (cross training is not a break)
  3. Track your performance both at work and in training to try to notice a pattern of when your performance starts to deteriorate and use this knowledge to communicate with your coach about when you need breaks or plan your vacations.
  4. Don’t try to use recovery modalities to overcome a lack of sleep, time off, or a high quality diet

Focus on you to truly unlock your potential!

– Coach Mike