By Athlete Ambassador, Rene Unser / PACE Sports Fitness
It’s rest week. Some people can’t wait for some down time, to ease off their training and they have no problem filling their new found time with extra long coffee dates, firing up Netflix, catching up on work projects or cozying up on the couch to read for hours. More commonly however, others have a hard time backing off and simply don’t realize the detrimental effects of improper rest.
The truth is … training hard doesn’t build you up; it tears your muscles and tissues down, creates stress, depletes nutrient stores and ultimately, leaves you fatigued. The body then takes this powerful message and starts to adapt, build more muscles and make more red blood cells so it’s better prepared for the next round of challenges. The kicker is that our bodies can only change to meet these demands with proper recovery.
While there is a lot to consider when planning out your rest week, I have made a short list and a great starting point to build from:
- Reduce your weekly training volume by 20-50%. (gauged by your fatigue level)
- Develop a preventative rehab routine that can become habit, such as rolling, stretching etc.
- Eat 200-350 calories that contain carbohydrate and some protein immediately following exercise to replace glycogen stores. Try Hammer Recoverite or mix one of Hammer’s protein powders in a shake.
- Keep an open mind on yoga and schedule a restorative class if you have time.
- Water, water, water! Don’t get caught without a water bottle and if you’re having trouble remembering to drink, start a daily tally sheet. For each bottle you drink, add a line. Make a goal on how many lines you need each day, depending on activity levels. Check out Hammer’s purist water bottle. It comes in two sizes. (26oz & 22oz)
- Legs up on the wall: lying on the floor and putting your legs up the wall for a few minutes’ does wonders for blood flow and relaxation. (my favorite)
- Create a healthy sleep environment and bedtime routine. Sleep is the single most important factor in recovering and athletes who sleep eight hours a night are 87 percent less likely to get injured than athletes who sleep six hours.
It’s also important to look at your overall lifestyle and stress management strategies while following a regular exercise or training routine. Figuring out the best work/rest ratio takes time and patience and every athlete is different. Don’t be afraid to change it up and experiment until you find the right fit for you. Hammer Nutrition has some remarkable recovery products and they do a great job of breaking each product down with this handy chart and in their 5 secrets of success for endurance fueling PDF.
If you have any questions on their products, please email me at email@example.com and I will do my best to answer your questions or put you in direct contact with the experts.