A Post About Recovery and The Importance of Taking Breaks from Your Exercise Routine by Brackenfell Personal Trainer Kevin Anderson
Every time a new member starts with us at ForeverStrong the first thing they have trouble understanding is that we schedule recovery weeks – weeks in the year where we don’t let our clients have recovery workouts! This is a foreign concept to most people. Believe it or not, it also eludes most trainers. However, taking breaks from your exercise routine is critical for maximal gains…
Working In vs. Working Out
Exercise of any type or duration requires you to spend energy outside of your body. It is a physical stressor that activates your sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for our “fight or flight” response.
Paul Chek, founder of the C.H.E.K Institute promotes a concept of working in vs. working out. Working In supports organ and glandular function, cultivates energy in the body, makes our bodies more efficient, and resets natural biological rhythms. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the side of our nervous system responsible for “rest and digest.” Working In creates energy in our body versus working out which spends that energy.
We spend much of our day in “fight or flight” mode and not enough time in “rest and digest.” Exercising or working out intensely without a break for recovery continues to drive a negative stress response in the body. We then become more energy depleted and are more susceptible to infections & injury.
The key is to balance working out with working in. Working In includes but is not limited to…
- Leisure Walking
- Foam Rolling & Stretching
- Core work
Working In also includes adequate restful sleep (7-9 hours) and providing your body with nutrient dense foods to build it back up. Working In includes activities or movement that you do not have to recover from.
You don’t get stronger from the act of lifting weights; you get stronger by recovering from the act of lifting weights.
Benefits of Taking a Break
Have you ever put in extra hours or trained extra hard before you went on vacation?
I know I HAVE!
For example, before our holiday last year I trained intensely 5-6 days per week to get in great shape. Hey, I wanted to look good at the pool! What can I say? ;-b
Anyway, Hester and I were able to push a little extra, as we knew there was a break coming.
When you do it right and take a break, you come back with new motivation and can train at a higher intensity.
You are more excited to GET AFTER IT!!!
Our bodies are not machines that can perform at the same intensity and efficiency for years at a time. Not taking a break from your exercise program can be counterproductive to achieving your goals. Exercise induced muscle damage needs healing time. If your muscles are not given the proper time to heal you miss the benefits of muscle adaptation, and the increases in strength and fitness.
In addition, it’s important to note that our muscles can recover much quicker than our cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and joints. They run on a different time frame. Your joints will THANK YOU for a taking a break from your normal routine.
Won’t I Lose Muscle if I don’t Workout?
Research shows that it takes 3 weeks of inactivity for the first signs of muscular atrophy to emerge. According to one particular study, “the effects of retraining after short-term cessation on muscle growth are comparable with those observed during the early phase of training.”
What this means is that taking a short break will yield better results. If you remember, when your first started to exercise consistently you saw quick results and then those results slowed down. The key is not to continually do more; instead, you need to take a break to stimulate results again.
So work hard, rest hard and get the hard body you’re after…
GREATEST VICTORIES ARE BORN IN THE HEART
Kevin Anderson – Owner of ForeverStrong
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