Strength, endurance, health, the love of the game…
Whatever your reason for training, striking a balance between fitness and recovery is key.
You want to challenge your body enough to stimulate growth, but not so much that it can’t adequately repair itself for the next training session or competition.
This balance is what allows you to make gains while minimizing the risk of injury and maximizing performance.
But how do you achieve it?
The answer is complicated because everyone’s body and way of exercising are different. But in today’s article, we’ll be exploring some best practices to help you stay in peak condition while prioritizing recovery.
To improve our fitness, we have to train our bodies to withstand a new type of stimulus.
If you’re a weightlifter, that could mean adding more weight, sets, or repetitions to your workouts.
For endurance athletes, that could mean adding extra time or distance to training sessions.
This concept is called overload, and for your body to adapt to these changes, you have to maintain this new level of training for a sufficient amount of time.
However, when there’s too much overload and not enough recovery, you run the risk of overtraining.
Overtraining occurs when the body can’t keep up with the physical demands placed on it, and — left unchecked — can lead to minor complications, overuse issues, and even acute health problems.
This is the million-dollar question, but it’s a loaded one.
The amount of recovery your body needs depends on a few key factors.
In the words of Barbara Bushman, Ph.D., FACSM, in an article for the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal:
“The right amount of training must be individualized, taking into account overall training load and other variables, including nutrition and rest. When training intensity is not balanced with adequate recovery, needed cellular repair may be hampered.”
In short, the amount of recovery we need varies based on how much we train, eat, and rest.
But thankfully, scientific research provides us with some guidance on how much we should recover based on how we train.
For weightlifting, the recommended amount of rest is 48 to 72 hours between workouts of the same muscle group.
So, if you train your legs on Monday, waiting until Wednesday or Thursday to hit them again will allow your body to recover optimally. And the same goes for any other muscle group you train.
This concept is why weightlifters often use routines that allow them to work out multiple days in a row by targeting different muscle groups. For example, push (chest, shoulders, and triceps) on the first day, pull (back and biceps) on the second day, and legs on the third.
When it comes to endurance training — like running, swimming, cycling, etc. — you can get away with a little more activity.
For moderate aerobic exercise, as long as you rest for at least 24 hours between workouts, you can go for three to five days without a rest day. If you perform vigorous aerobic exercise, it’s recommended to take more frequent rest days.
As much as we might stick to the recommended guidelines, issues can still come up from time to time.
From something as simple as a crick in your neck from sleeping the wrong way to previous injuries acting up, your need for rest and recovery can change from day to day.
That’s why it’s important to do some daily self-evaluation.
Before you workout, ask yourself questions like:
And if you want to take a more structured approach, you can take this short fitness quiz by Andrew Hamilton, a sports nutritionist and athletic coach for over 30 years:
“Simply rate each statement on a 1-5 scale as follows: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = neutral; 4 = agree; 5 = strongly agree.
Evaluate yourself in this manner each morning when you are ready to start your day.
If your total score is 20 or above, your overall state of recovery is pretty good and you have probably recovered enough to carry out a high-quality workout on that day.
If your total score is below 20, it is probably a good idea to rest or work easily until your score rises again.”
If you’re looking to balance your fitness and recovery, BEMER can optimize your rest and performance in just two eight-minute sessions a day.
BEMER is an FDA Class II cleared consumer medical device that sends a low-intensity pulsed electromagnetic field to the body.
This signal safely stimulates healthy muscles, which temporarily enhances local blood flow, resulting in better delivery of oxygen and clearance of carbon dioxide within the target tissues.
Daily BEMER use may also reduce stress, improve quality of rest and relaxation, optimize physical performance, enhance muscle conditioning and physical fitness, and lead to a better overall feeling of wellbeing.
Whether you’re at home or on the go, BEMER has a device that can fit into your lifestyle, allowing you to optimize your recovery wherever your fitness journey takes you.
Get in touch with your local BEMER distributor today to learn more!
BEMER does not provide any medical advice or services. This device is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It should not be used for any purpose other than as described in the user manual. Please consult your own healthcare provider if you have any medical issues.
BEMER USA LLC is a leader in the field of microcirculation. BEMER Group North America, 1989 Palomar Oaks Way, Carlsbad, CA 92011