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The importance of rest and recovery

We often hear people say “no pain, no gain”, when really we should be saying “no sleep, no gain”! Recovery and training go hand in hand, without rest you might be limiting your progress significantly. It is during recovery when muscle growth occurs; it’s also the time when our sympathetic nervous system relaxes.
But aside from sleeping you should also have rest days from training. These are days when you don’t workout and maybe only do some light activity such as walking or yoga. But sometimes is can be difficult to skip your workout and that can lead to overtraining. This is more common than we might think and if not addressed can become dangerous.

What do we mean by overtraining?
Someone who is training 7 days a week, or even someone who trains multiple times a day without sufficient recovery. This can easily happen when people really enjoy their training or simply love being active.

How do you know if you are overtraining and why you should take some time out?
If you can’t skip a day in your exercise schedule, that’s the first sign that there might be something wrong. When your need to train occupies you so much that you can’t go about your normal life, you should question your relationship with exercise. And of course there are the physical signs as well:
– prolonged fatigue
– extended muscle soreness
– injuries that don’t heal
– problems with your sleep
– workouts that you normally perform without any problems feel more challenging
– your performance decreases, this could apply to strength, endurance or agility.

What can you do about it?

The obvious answer here is to take some time to recover properly, give your body the opportunity to repair itself. But when you are in that state of mind it isn’t that simply to just stop. My recommendation would be a step by step approach:

  1. Try and swap one training session with some gentle yoga
  2. Swap a second session with a low intensity walk
  3. Schedule to meet a friend on another day when you would normally go to the gym/train.
  4. Add another day of gentle mobility instead of a workout
For more mobility videos head to Instagram @fitness.refinery

Eventually you will have a few days where you are doing some very light activity giving your body the chance to repair itself.

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