Shape Up With Siobhan: The Importance Of Recovery

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Advanced Fitness

siobhan_sentry_headshot_1Our fitness expert, Siobhan Sentry of Advanced Fitness Education, speaks about the importance of recovery…

Recovery…. The easy bit! However it is often neglected.

All too often you see clients join the gym or begin personal training wanting to do to much too soon, almost feeling guilty when they take a day off.

It’s actually more beneficial to train 5 days per week rather than 7 and this is why:

As I was saying last week it’s important to overload the body to see results.

It is also just as important to give the body rest in between allowing the body to adapt to this overloading.

When overloading a strength training programme, muscle fibres will tear during this overloading period.

It is important that the muscles are then given enough time to repair themselves getting bigger / stronger before your next training session. Not taking this period of recovery will hinder your strength training gains.

It is also important to take time to allow the body to recover to avoid injury. Over training any of the muscle groups will eventually lead to injury or muscle imbalances that later on you will end up trying to correct with physiotherapy.

While I’m saying yes allow recovery, I don’t mean throwing the legs up every second day with a tub of ice cream and a Chinese, that would be one step forward and two steps back!

Build recovery into your training programme as a key component to your training.

Key Recovery Strategies:

• Sleep – getting at least eight hours of sleep each night.

• Hydration – drinking enough water to keep the body hydrated.

• Nourishment – eating the right foods at the right times to fuel the body to be able to train harder and see better results.

To help the muscles recover after heavy training sessions the following strategies are useful:

• Eat a good recovery snack right after training. Chocolate milk can be good. I’d recommend Avonmore over Yazoo as it’s natural milk over UHT, so you get the calcium gains also.

• Hot and cold showers. Start and end with cold showers with shorter bursts of cold showers. The contrast gets more blood flowing to the muscles helping them repair and recover quicker.

• For beginners I recommend to enjoy the recovery time and treat yourself to a massage.

I always tell beginners in the gym to make sure and reward themselves when goals are met. A common goal I would set with clients would be not missing a single training session in a month, this definitely deserves a reward and a massage is a perfect reward that aids training rather than hinders it.

Remembering that exercise is a lifestyle change rather than a short-term fix, building in rest days and enjoying them makes it more maintainable.

Changing your lifestyle is all about creating habits and recovery is just as important as training.

• Siobhan Sentry is Course Director with Advanced Fitness Education at Tralee Sports And Leisure Centre. She has eight years diverse industry experience. She has worked worldwide as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor and a top level wellness specialist designing and implementing health and wellness initiatives for multinational corporate companies. For more visit their website by clicking here

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