Recovery Week & Active Rest
A few weeks ago I’ve written a post called ” How To Train For Best Results “, and as I already mentioned to get the best results we need to use periodization, meaning a period of high intensity training should always be followed by a period of low intensity training or full recovery. I usually train for 6 weeks, and then I take one full week for active recovery. In this article I would like to share with you how I spend my week of active rest.
First let me go over why we need this so called recovery period. The answer to that question is quite simple, our body has to rest to regain strength, and rebuild. If we always train and not take a break then not only do we hit plateau but our body will actually begin to break down the muscle that we worked so hard to build. Secondly, our mind needs a break as well. I found that the perfect peak of taking that break is after 6 weeks, you can go for eight weeks but I recommend six. You will also notice that during your training cycle you will push your self much harder knowing that you will get that well deserved break.
How I spend my Recovery Week
I am going to share with you my own approach to this, but it is also good for you to learn to listen to your own body.
After my 6 weeks of training is up, and trust me my body feels it like a clock, I take 3 to 4 days off completely. Depending on how I feel, sometimes 3 days is enough and sometimes I need 4, again, listen to your body. In those days I focus on my diet, drink a lot of water and eat a lot of fruits. I also try not to load my self with too much red meat, this way my body can really rest. You can also do a little bit of light stretching, I usually do that while I am watching TV, this way I am not just wasting my time in front of the television. I like to use those days to reflect on my training, such as: What did I achieve in my training cycle? Did I push my self to the max or did I slack here and there? I write down all of my thoughts, this really helps in watching your progress as well as motivation. What are your goals for your self when you begin to train again, really think about all those things, how do you want to improve? Look for motivation within your self.
After I take my full days of recovery, I begin to get back into the game slowly ;). I start by doing some very moderate cardio such as light jog or a long walk. Don’t over do it, you are still recovering, but by going for a light jog you will increase your circulation and that will help your body to recover faster ( only after you already took a few days off completely ). After a light jog, you can also do some stretching, about 20-30 minutes, longer if you like, as I said previously listen to your own body. On the 5th and 6th day of my recovery I would also do some core and abs exercises, which I will be posting this week. My plan is to have them filmed in real time so you can follow along.
Throughout my recovery week, I also try to do more meditation, I noticed it really helps my mind to relax and recover as well. Don’t neglect your mind, it needs rest just as much as your body. Meditation reduces stress and heals you in many different ways. I’ve written a post about ” How Meditation Can Change Your Life “, it definitely helped me to understand my mind more as well as listen to my body, I feel more tuned in. I also noticed that I draw inspiration and motivation from deep within when I meditate.
After you take that recovery week you will notice how much more motivated you feel towards training, you will regain strength and will be ready to start fresh. You will also be able to keep progressing in your fitness level without hitting plateau, and this is how you will be able to stick to a healthy life style for the rest of your life!