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Nowadays people are so caught up in exercising until their limbs fall off that they forget about the other aspect of training that's just as, if not more important Recovery!

To understand the importance of recovery in training, we must first discuss the general adaptation syndrome (GAS). Don't stress if this sounds complicated, it is really quite simple. The GAS describes a 3-stage response to a stress placed on the body in this case the stress is exercise.When we exercise our bodies become acutely fatigued, and as a result there is a slight drop in our performance (i.e. our ability to exercise at our full potential is compromised). This is referred to as the alarm stage.

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Sufficient rest and recovery will allow our bodies to recuperate from this fatigued state, and the body then moves into the next phase the resistance stage. In this stage, normal performance levels return, but this time with a 'little bit extra' to ensure our bodies are able to better cope with the same stress next time around. The 'little bit extra' is known as super-compensation. Unfortunately, super-compensation only lasts a short time, and pre-exercise performance levels return if no further training stress is applied during the resistance stage.

The training stimulus needs to be intense enough to impose a state of fatigue if there is no fatigue, there is no super-compensation, and therefore no improvement. Also, sufficient recovery is required to overcome the acute state of fatigue if there is no recovery, there is no super-compensation, and again no improvement.The time between training efforts is vital to improving performance. If the time interval between training is too long, the super-compensation window will be missed; and if the time interval between training is too short, the body will not have enough time to recover and reach super-compensation.

Exercising in a fatigued state will cause even more fatigue, and an even greater decline in performance. This is the third stage, known as the exhaustive stage.

The key is to exercise at the peak of super-compensation, resulting in a gradual increase in performance.

It is now clear that the balance between acute fatigue and adequate recovery from training and exercise is important for improved performance. While most people probably do enough exercise to impose an ideal amount of fatigue on the body for adaptation, it is usually the appropriate recovery that is lacking. It is not uncommon for long-time exercisers and seasoned gym-junkies to increase their training load over time without compensating with increased recovery. On the other hand, those commencing a new training program also need to optimize recovery to ensure adaptation, especially if they've had no previous training history.

To ensure optimal recovery, firstly we should aim to sleep at least 8 hours each night, as sleep is a vital part of recovering from exercise. A well-balanced healthy diet, as well as adequate hydration, will also assist in our bodies' recuperation. Daily activities, such as work, household duties, gardening, etc., should be accounted for in our training programs. Physically demanding jobs place stress on our bodies, just like exercise, and as a result induce a state of fatigue. Exercising further compounds this fatigue, therefore more recovery is needed.

How do we know we're in a fatigued state? Listen to the body. Low energy levels, feeling lethargic, general muscle soreness, weakness, and illness are all signs of short-term fatigue, and our body is telling us we need to ease off and rest.

Recovery is just as important, if not more important than training. It can be the difference between improvement and long-term fatigue (overtraining). While most of us focus on the work we do in the gym or at training, we should place just as much emphasis on what we do between exercise sessions to ensure we get the best results from our training programs.

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Posted in Business Post Date 07/19/2018


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