Training Recovery and Good Tax Practices

You can think of the relationship between training and recovery as a lesson in good tax practices.

You might be able to fiddle your books for a while, but eventually the tax office will catch up with you. The bigger the deficit, the more trouble you’re likely to be in, and the longer it will take to come back and recover from it.

There is no tax avoidance when it comes to your body. The results of trying to do so, can be long term and catastrophic.

I’ve seen many people with their events derailed, expeditions or trips ruined. All because they haven’t taken this concept on board. Rest and recovery are critical to your training. It’s actually a major part of your training, not a bloody inconvenience!

The relationship between exercise, (i.e. stress), and recovery, (i.e. when adaptation happens) is called the training effect. It’s the adaptations that make us stronger, faster, more enduring, not just the exercise itself.

It’s the exercise you’ve done AND the sleep you’re getting AND the food you’re eating, which stimulates the system.

Soft tissue recovery work includes; contrast showers, that’s extreme hot and extreme ice baths, and even sex. Did you know a bit of hanky panky is great for recovery?

During your training, you have fluid loss, muscle tissue breakdown, which is basically mild inflammation, and the depletion of energy stores (of muscle glycogen). Recovery allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. It’s also a time for removing chemicals which build up in the cells as a result of exercise.

Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to break down, leading to more severe inflammation. This eventually will get to the point of no return, which causes the degradation of the tissue fibers and leads to subsequent injury.

The vast majority of training injuries aren’t down to one single event, but an ongoing process until something eventually gives way.

This is why good sleep in particular is such an important part of training recovery. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It also leads to decreased activity of human growth hormone, which is important for tissue repair and decreased glycogen synthesis.

I like to use a recovery bank balance sheet. On one side, I’ve got credits. Things like sleeping seven to ten hours, is plus ten points. A stretch class, an ice bath or proper nutrition is plus five points. A foam roller, a nap, a bit of Hanky Panky that’s plus three points.

And on the other side we’ve got the debits. Excess alcohol, i.e more than two or three glasses, a shit diet, six or less hours of sleep, that’s minus five points. A standard run or workout of one hour, that’s minus 10 points. A long workout of two hours plus, an intense workout or metcon hard track work, hill work those are all minus 20 points.

Now over a week, we add up the credits down one side and your debits down the other. Make sure that by the end of the week, you’re in credit, adjusting your credits to cancel out your debits along the way.

It’s a great simple system that can really help keep an eye on your ongoing performance. Nipping overuse injuries, inflammation, performance downturns and overtraining in the bud before they even happen. Give it a go!

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