Growth happens when you rest, not when you are training. If you just train constantly with little rest you will slow down, weaken and eventually get injured. Rest is the key.
Many athletes (like me!) spend a ton of money on gadgets like heart rate monitors, power meters, GPS devices and fancy training programs, but in the end you will improve just as much by optimizing your rest and recovery as you will from optimizing your workouts. Good coaches focus on this – which is partly why I think the best money you can spend to improve your performance in a sport is on a coach.
How to optimize your rest?
- Get quality sleep in a dark room with no noise
- Take ice baths after exercising
- Alternate warm and cool showers in the morning to flush stale fluid from your muscles
- Use a foam roller and do self-massage
- Take in high quality nutrition immediately after finishing workouts (200-400 calories with a blend of sugar and protein – I like a dozen raw almonds and 4-5 dates with some water, or a smoothie made with Vega and fruit)
- Give your nervous system a rest by not watching too much TV or using the computer a ton
- Stay off your feet when don’t need to be on them
- Cut back on stimulants like caffeine and sugar, especially in the evening
- Learn yoga, develop a home practice and do it regularly (focus on your known tight/bound muscles)
- SLEEP!!!! Go to bed early and wake up early!
How do you optimize your rest and recovery?