I wanted to share an age old concept in the strength and conditioning world – “train hard, recover hard”.
Strength and conditioning is based on a simple concept called progressive overload. It is absolutely true that progress and then continued progress requires a never ending quest to do more, get better, get more efficient, etc…
So, if you haven’t already started, you aren’t getting anywhere sitting on your butt, worrying, wishing, and wondering. Taking just one step into the gym or at the park is progressive overload, relative to what you normally do. When it comes to starting your journey, the laws of physics remain true. Inertia is the hardest thing to break, but at some point all your worrying, wishing, and wondering will build up and push you off the fence into action.
This message is to let you know that once you start you do actually have an uphill climb.
It’s natural for it to feel tough. It’s natural for you to feel sore and have some aches and pains, but it’s not all bad. You have to keep going, and I want to let you in on a strategy that is going to help you feel good and proud of yourself!
I once had a client ask me if the strength training sessions ever get easier, and I said, “no…not really.” The act of lifting heavier weight and the increased difficulty of exercise selection does not make things easier. What does get easier is the habitual nature of creating time to exercise and of wanting to progress and keep coming for more.
Here’s the (counter-intuitive) good news: You don’t always have to work hard to be progressing! Something that often gets buried under the glam of getting stronger, looking more fit, and climbing Goal Mountain is the other side of the exercise and physical change process – recovery. When you are pushing hard to get results, an equal part of those results must come from rest and recovery.
Train hard. Recover hard.
The extent to which most people recover is taking a day or two off from the gym. While that is popular advice, it (along with most popular opinions in the health and fitness world) is not good advice.
There are many ways to recover, but the one I think is most accessible to you is active recovery. Resting for one or two days after a tough workout is what we call passive recovery.
You should expect to be sore after a workout. However, instead of simply taking a day or two off and wallowing in your soreness, try getting up the next day and going right back to the gym for a recovery/off-day training session!
Here’s how you do it:
- Perform all 5 of the basic human movements through full range of motion – push, pull, squat, hinge, and locomotion.
- Keep the weight very light.
- Keep the reps under 10 even though the weight is light.
- Circuit 4-7 exercises in a row to increase your heart rate to 115-135 beats per minute.
- Perform the exercises for 20-30 minutes and go home!
Afterwards, you should feel light, refreshed, flexible, and sweaty but your soreness will probably be completely gone.
If you do not have access to a gym and the equipment needed, then spend 10-15 minutes stretching and go for a 20-30 minute brisk walk. This is just as good. I just prefer getting back into the gym because we work full ranges of potion and muscles that are not exercised on a regular basis.
That’s all for today!