Think about the battery on your smartphone, your daily companion that keeps you connected, informed, and entertained. You rely on it for countless tasks, from its original purpose to making calls, seeing memes online or taking photos. Its batteries have limits. They drain as we use them throughout the day, and eventually, they need a recharge to continue functioning optimally — just like us.
Recovery is our battery charging. Life’s demands and challenges also drain our energy and deplete us mentally and physically. That’s when we need to plug in by engaging in quality time with our loved ones, pursuing our hobbies or simply sleeping.
If you exercise, you’re well aware of the benefits an active life brings to your physical and mental health. And you also know that there’s a critical component of fitness that often gets overshadowed by the thrill of the workout itself: recovery. But why is recovery essential for peak performance? Let’s find out.
What is recovery?
Recovery is the phase after exercising that allows your body to restore its energy stocks, primarily carbohydrates and fats, and rehydrate by replenishing lost fluids due to sweat.
When you work out, your muscles experience stress and even tiny tears. These microscopic tears are essential for muscle growth and strength development. However, for this to occur, your body needs time to heal and repair itself post-workout — and that happens during recovery.
Why is it essential?
You can be a regular gym-goer, improving your numbers and counting your calories but resisting the urge to rest can have serious implications on your overall fitness. It can severely increase your risk of injury, stifle your motivation, and even slam the brakes on your progress entirely. When people say that abs are made in the kitchen, what they’re saying is that what you do outside of the gym is as important as what you do in the gym. And that includes rest and recovery, fundamental components of achieving peak fitness.
How to recover properly?
1 – Get plenty of sleep
Goes without saying that sleeping is one of the most important ways to help your body recover from the physical and mental demands of training. Sleep is, in fact, a bit like training: During this crucial period, your body generates the majority of the growth factors and hormones essential for the daily processes of muscle repair and recovery. It’s time to revamp your sleeping routine with our tips.
2 – Good food
Food is good. Plus, it helps restore your body’s energy supply and provides the nutrients needed to repair muscles and promote recovery. Make sure your protein intake is adequate to support muscle repair, as well as complex carbs and lots of vegetables and fruit.
3 – Proper hydration
Exercise is thirsty work! You sweat and lose fluids during exercise, so replenishing lost water and electrolytes should be top of mind after your workout. According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), an adult man’s optimal water intake is 2000ml, whilst a woman’s is 1600ml.