If we want to get fitter and stronger, we need to train hard enough to get our body’s attention.
But training itself doesn’t make the magic. The rest between training periods is what actually improves our fitness. Only while we rest can our body adapt to compensate for the stress we’ve put on it. In other words, recover.
One of my unbelievably wise teacher, Paul Chek (@paul.chek ), taught me a phrase: Work hard, rest hard. Meaning, the harder you train, the harder you need to take care of recovery.
Think of training like making withdrawals from a “body bank account.” The more intense the training, the bigger the withdrawal.
Training stress can also combine with other life stressors — such as work, relationships, chemical load, circadian stress, financial stress… the list goes on and on.
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Rest and recovery is a deposit into that bank account. And hopefully, you’re putting in a good — and regular — salary of purposeful rest and recovery protocols. Otherwise, you risk overtraining and over-reaching, i.e. “going beyond your account limit.”
Step 1: Eat more – especially carbs
To address persistent weakness, first try increasing calories, particularly before or during an exercise session.
If your diet is low in carbohydrates, this is a good time to reintroduce some quality carbs.
Step 2: Focus on the basics, consistently
So, immediately re-check your habits:
- Are you getting enough quality sleep?
- Look at your training blog, when was your last de-loading week or was there any?
- Are you getting enough quality nutrients?
Usually, following this “fundamentals first” prescription for a few days – and then committing to maintaining it – will improve your symptoms.
Step 3: Stimulate your “calm down” system.
Engage in activities that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, such as yoga, breathing drills, cold/hot showers, meditation, and massage. Also very low intensity cycling or walking in nature will do.
Step 4: Supplement wisely
If you’ve tried the three rest and recovery strategies consistently for several weeks and you’re still constantly dragging, consider supplementing.
What and how, you can find more tips on Mikkos Instgram account @mikkopaunonen