Stop Having Your Fitness Gains Stolen
From pro athletes to weekend warriors, training hard is a strong part of the culture of competition. If you want to improve, you train hard, so your body and mind can adapt.
But what if your gains are being stolen and part of that hard work is being wasted?
In a lot of cases, it is if you aren’t managing your recovery for fitness.
Stress Can Hold You Back
Among coaches in the world of elite sports, many know that a player that is too stressed won’t recover. Physically or mentally. This means so much of the time and energy put into practice and training end up wasted.
Just as an athlete has a training program, they also have a recovery program. It’s based on individual profiles and coordinated with training and competition. Its not static either and often changes through the season, month or even week to week.
Sport science backs this as well. A 2012 study in the respected journal, Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, demonstrated that psychological stress from life reduced recovery of muscle function.
In 2014 the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research published a paper showing that the more a subject experienced stress, the worse their recovery. In this study participants with more stress had worse recovery of muscle function, as well as how their body felt.
This is not exactly what you are going for in your training.
Measure and Manage
Today in elite sports, teams have a sport science and/or recovery staff dedicated to this. In many, systems are used to measure the player’s status on a daily or weekly basis. One of the most advanced is called Omegawave and has a history of several decodes in settings like Olympic teams and military special forces.
Systems like this provide information tells you about your recovery through both the autonomic and central nervous systems. It provides feedback on your level of recovery and how much “adaptation potential” your body has.
In other cases, good old fashioned self-reports provide a lot of insight. Usually, in apps or online, players can rate how they feel and are performing in various measures. Although relatively simple, if the questions are right, they can be incredibly helpful and scientifically valid feedback.
What can you do to get the most benefit from your training? The first step is to recognize that recovery is an important part of the training process. The training is the stimulus, but adaptation happens during recovery.
The next is to learn how you are adapting. Whether it’s getting Omegawave readings or just a self report, you need to start evaluating how you recover. Guidance from a knowledgeable performance coach or recovery specialist can guide you to the recovery methods that are best for you.
Measure your recovery, manage the process, and stop having your fitness gains stolen.
J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jul;28(7):2007-17.
Chronic psychological stress impairs recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations over a 96-hour period.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Nov;44(11):2220-7.
Psychological stress impairs short-term muscular recovery from resistance exercise.