You can only train as hard as you can recover. Yet, too often, we wait until we are forced to give recovery the attention it deserves, to really prioritise it. As the saying goes, if we don’t make time to rest, our body will force us to in ways we won’t like!
There are several key factors which will impact how well we recover… and, as a result, how much we can give to our training. We’ve all been in situations where training performance has suffered because of poor sleep, being under the weather, not eating enough before the session, and so on. Many of us are going to gym day after day, not even realising that we aren’t even nearly maximising our potential because of variables we’ve neglected.
As with all every element of health and fitness, we need to get the basics down, then add supplements to reach the next level. Key factors are:
- Training smart
- Physical therapy
When we resistance train, we create tears in the muscle fibres. When we cause this damage, we force the muscles to repair themselves bigger and stronger. This healing process happens during rest. Therefore, more is not always better. For example, someone could train their lagging delts seven times a week but training an already sore and inflamed muscle again and again would potentially be doing that person a disservice, not to mention increasing risk of injury. We cannot just rely on soreness to judge the success of a session either. Remember that DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is not necessarily correlated to the success of a training session. Hypertrophy, or muscle growth, can be achieved through three mechanisms; muscle tension, muscle damage and/or metabolic stress.
Don’t worry- we’re not going to tell you not to train hard! Progressive overload (getting stronger over time) is essential to creating the stimulus that forces the muscles to grow. When combined with pump work (metabolic stress) the results can be even greater. Our point is that the hard work doesn’t end when you leave the gym. You need to create an environment that allows you to deal with the inflammation and stress on your body optimally.
Symptoms of overreaching in the gym include:
- DOMS lasting longer than usual
- Decreased energy in day to day life
- Decreased motivation to train
- Drop in training performance
If you follow a powerlifting style of training, you may already have programmed deload weeks at certain points during or between training blocks. For bodybuilders, this is less common, but it pays to be mindful of the feedback your body is giving you and know when it is time to drop back a couple of sets, reps, weight or just take an extra rest day or two. This reduces our total training volume over the course of the week, to give our body an easier time.
Training Volume (V) = Sets (S) x Reps (R) x Weight (W)
This doesn’t have to be something that takes a lot of time and money… unless you leave it too late. Something as simple as dynamic warm ups before sessions and foam rolling and stretching a couple of times a week can make a difference. More specific treatments such as acupuncture, cupping and/or cryotherapy can be implemented if desired, although there is conflicting research and varied opinions on the effectiveness of respective treatments.
If any muscles or joints are giving pain or discomfort, rather than working around them, consult a physiotherapist or sports rehabilitator for a plan of action. Your body needs to last your entire life. It is worth investing in it the same way you would supplements, food and gym memberships and accessories.
Sleep is an incredibly underrated component of training recovery, probably because it seems blindly obvious. Despite this, many of us regularly don’t obtain the recommended 7-9 hours a night recommended for adults. Also consider that, for athletes, who have increased recovery needs, the goal should be towards the higher end of this scale.
During sleep, bodily functions are slowed, and energy output is less. Over this time, around 40% of the blood flow usually directed towards the brain is sent to the muscles. Furthermore, growth hormone is released during sleep. Growth hormone contributes to muscle growth and repair, bone health and weight control.
Sleep more… so that you can train longer and harder the following day.
A few simple tips that you can implement right now to increase time and quality of sleep include; creating a night time routine and sticking to a bed time, reducing screen time, opting for reading instead and, finally, cutting out caffeine later in the day and opting for herbal teas.
Meals around training are incredibly important. This is the best time for our bodies to make use of high carbohydrate meals. Make food selections that digest well and make you feel energised. Options such as; rice cakes, whey isolate, chicken breast, or even less ‘clean’ choices such as low fat cereals and reduced sugar jams can be incorporated around this window.
Read more on our Glucose Disposal Agents to find out how to best partition nutrients for training performance and recovery!
Pro Recover alongside Pro Tect is an excellent stack to cover both post-workout recovery and general/preventative health.
Pro Recover has been specially developed with your post workout needs in mind. With specific amounts of high glycaemic carbohydrates, and easily absorbed di and tri peptide amino acids, Pro Recover is quickly absorbed to begin the first phase of recovery.
The Protein blend in Pro Recovery is made up of Hydrolysed, Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate, supplying easily digestible and fast-acting sources of Amino acids. These are the building blocks of protein and are essential for the synthesis of muscle protein, allowing for greater growth and repair.
Pro Recover also features 46g of carbohydrates per serving. This is delivered in High-Glycaemic forms to deliver and replenish the fatigued muscles with glycogen. In addition to these main components, Pro Recovery also contains Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, which acts to mop up free radicals that can cause the muscles undue stress.
We would recommend taking a serving with you on the gym to consume upon finishing your workout.
CNP Pro Tect is a premium joint care formula to prime your body for strenuous exercise. This includes; heavy loaded workouts, jumping movements and high impact sprinting or sports, all of which can make our bones and joints especially vulnerable to injury.
It is widely understood that we put our joints under a lot of stress when working hard, so it’s important to keep them in good healthy working order. Why put so much effort into diet and training if you’re not going to look after the frame on which it is built?
Pro Tect contains ingredients such as; Chondroitin sulphate, Glucosamine sulphate, Hydrolysed Marine collagen and supportive vitamins. These are all designed to work in coordination to bring about a hard-hitting supportive formulation, to keep your joints in tip-top condition.
On top of this, CNP Pro Tect also contains Turmeric. This is a bit of a miracle spice containing curcumin, which acts to block or slow down the release of biproducts in the body that contribute towards inflammation. After a hard session you may feel like your joints feel quite ‘angry’. This is likely due to inflammation which can be painful and set back your training. Pro Tect aims to limit this and allow you to keep your training volume high!
If you follow some of the advice given in this article, you can hopefully start to reduce the time your body needs to recover fully. This will allow you to enter every session feeling fresher and more ready to bring the hurt all over again. To achieve goals, training needs to be consistent, so by recovering strong, you limit the chance of breaking this consistency, and increase the chance of you reaching your potential!
By Savannah Westerby