Taking your recovery to the next step will help take your performance to the next level. For more information check out my website tmnutrition.net for more articles, ebooks, and online training/nutrition plans.
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The ability to recover fast from workouts is key to continuing to make gains and grow week to week. Recovery is not only how well you recover day to day, but also you ability to withstand more and more on a week to week basis as you up the intensity, frequency, and volume. Some key factors to aid in recovery are:
Sleep is extremely important in that it helps your body regulate back to normal functions, it helps reset and bring down stress levels aka cortisol, helps with GH release, and adapt to the training stimulus. 8-10 hours is ideal for an athlete along with 15-20 min power naps throughout the day. You want to keep the naps short in duration as a longer nap will stimulate sleep inertia, which is a period after the nap that impairs performance and alertness.
Researcher Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory has studied the effects of sleep and athletic performance. Mah noted that sleep is a “significant factor in achieving peak athletic performance.” Mah continued that many athletes accumulate a large sleep debt by not obtaining their required nightly sleep, which can have a negative effects on cognitive functioning, mood, and reaction time. Not surprisingly though, Mah’s suggested that the “negative effects can be minimized or eliminated by prioritizing sleep in general and, more specifically, obtaining extra sleep aka naps to reduce one’s sleep debt.” This sleep debt can’t be made up with one good night of sleep it takes weeks to turn it back around.
“After sleep deprivation, plasma cortisol levels were higher the next day by 37% and 45% increase and the onset of the quiescent period of cortisol secretion was delayed by at least 1 hour.” As stated in a study by the Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine, Vol 20. You put your body through so much stress daily that night time is when you need to relax and reset your cortisol.
A few simple things to improve sleep are blackout curtains which you can get at Walmart, removing all electronics from your room, having a bedtime routine routine, staying away from TV or loud action packed things that will elevate your heart rate, read a book that doesn’t get your mind racing, and a little meditation which is invaluable in and of itself.