Pushing yourself every-time you hit the gym is a great habit to establish, and the presence of a personal trainer is a quick-fire way to make sure every session counts. But working hard is only one part of the story. You see, improved health and a better physique also depend greatly on two things: rest and recovery.
It’s absolutely vital that the body is given the time it needs to recuperate after an intense period of exercise. This is especially true if one of your personal health objectives is to build muscle. But what is rest and recovery? And just where do you get started with it?
Start with sleep
The starting place with rest and recovery is sleep. It’s often overlooked, but the amount of quality sleep a person gets can drastically affect the success they experience at the gym.
One reason for this is the hormonal release a period of sleep provides for the body. While you’re asleep, your body will produce its highest concentration of growth hormone in the body’s 24 hour cycle. This growth hormone plays a major part in muscle growth, which of course occurs after most intense gym sessions.
It’s a similar situation with the body’s repair process, as it’s most effective when we’re sleeping. Imagine you’ve just completed a personal training session, which focused on building core strength by performing bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. You will create micro-tears in your muscle tissue each time you overload your muscles with weight. When those micro-tears are repaired, they grow back stronger and bigger in size. The more sleep you get, the more time your body will be in an optimum condition to repair itself.
Nutrition plays its part too
Adequate nutrition is key to rest and recovery. It’s vital not to under-eat when undertaking an intense programme of exercise. For example, a common mistake made by people who want to reduce their body fat is to consume far too few calories during the day.
This is dangerous because it can put the body into starvation mode, which then encourages the body to hold onto fat (making weight loss more difficult). The bottom line is that you need to eat enough calories to provide energy for your body.
Depending on your personal fitness goals, the amount of calories you consume may be slightly over or under your basal metabolic rate, but the body should never be starved of nutrition. Competent personal trainers can tailor individual nutrition plans and identify the number of calories you need to consume in a day.
In addition to eating enough calories, eating the right foods is also important. It’s actually not that difficult to eat healthy, it’s just become over complicated by the latest diet crazes. Keep things simple by eating foods that are consumed in their natural form, like meats, fish, nuts, vegetables and fruits. Ditch the processed foods which have come from a factory product line, they’re full of sugar and don’t serve the body well.
If you eat the natural foods listed above, your body will get all the nutrition it needs to recover after intense exercise. Again, based on your individual goals, you may be required to eat more protein or cut back on certain carbohydrates, but this is where your personal trainer can help.
If you need further advice about the importance of rest and recovery, please contact MK Health Hub in Solihull and ask to speak to one of our personal trainers.