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Recovery and Why You Need It

Recovery cycle for athletic training

Recovery: one of the most overlooked and underutilized aspects of any training and fitness program. It’s rare that you will find articles in the magazines on this topic, or any real good books on the subject.


Why?  Because recovery and telling people “ to do less” isn’t marketable and hard to sell these days. We all want to go, go, go, and push , push, push until we reach our goals. However this will be counterproductive to your goals at some point, and will actually slow down your progress significantly.


Often times we see people coming to our Calgary Bootcamp who are in a big hurry to get in shape , and they  want to come to classes 6 days a week. Well, more is not always better. When you come to our bootcamp classes, you’re getting a full body workout that is going to affect every major muscle group.  Recovery time is a very important factor and understanding how to space out your workouts can help you get to your goals faster.
First off, you need recovery time for one main reason. During workouts your muscles are actually damaged. Yes, doing that deadlift at bootcamp actually rips your hamstring muscles apart. How does that make you stronger? It’s a principle called Progressive Overload, which can only be achieved with adequate recovery outside of your workout. When the body rebuilds the muscle tissue, it builds it to be stronger than it was before in response to the increased demand. Over time, you are able to increase your weights you lift at our Calgary Bootcamp. If this recovery time isn’t taken, over time strength gains will slow down, plateau, and may even drop off. You also run the risk of an injury or pulling a muscle, because you are training in state of full recovery.


Recovery Graph



Working out also increases the stress hormone, cortisol. Stress comes in many forms, like work, relationships, family, and finances. Exercise is also a stress on your body and, when combined with other forgotten stressors like poor nutrition, lack of sleep and short recovery time , it will produce the same stress reaction in your body as it would if you lost your job, your spouse and your savings. Cortisol will clear out of your system on its own, but if you don’t allow enough recovery time you will end up weaker, fatigued, experience poor sleep, frequent weight loss plateaus, and even weight gain.  When your body is stressed and overworked, the last thing it cares about is losing weight. Its main priority is recovery, rest, repair, and preventing further damage. Because of this, weight loss will always come to a screeching halt.

So how can you enhance recovery?


1. Leaving enough time in between workouts is key. We recommend 48 hours between your Calgary bootcamp workouts.
2. Indulge in regular massage or acupuncture to increase bloodflow to your muscles, which will get rid of waste products and lactic acid. Also consider adding in chiropractic care to ensure proper alignment and stability through your joints.
3. On your off days, consider doing some gentle exercise such as yoga, stretching or a gently paced walk or bike ride. This will help increase your blood flow for recovery.


stretching photo
4. Get high quality sleep. Aim for for seven to nine hours a night, ideally going to bed around 9 or 10PM instead of midnight.  The earlier your get to bed before midnight the better quality sleep you will have.
5. Drink a post exercise protein shake which can help give your body the resources it needs to rebuild. Following a well balanced, highly nutritious food plan will also enhance recovery time too. Oh and don’t forget to drink lots of water too!
Women – aim for  2-3L/day minimum
Men –  aim for 3-4 L/day minimum
6. Schedule your training sessions appropriately. So, if you’re coming to bootcamp classes three times a week, schedule yourself with a day in between classes. Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday are common patterns. If you’re coming to bootcamp classes four times a week, try doing your classes with 2 days back to back then a day or two rest, then your last two bootcamp classes. Try Monday, Tuesday then Friday, Saturday or even Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
Our Calgary bootcamp trainers are always available to help answer any recovery questions you may have. Post your questions in the comments and questions below!

Always here to inspire and motivate you,     David Macdonald

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