I have done a webinar on recovery recently and some of the points that they have pushed upon was sleep. The topic of sleep have been out there for many years now and there’s a lot of information already on this but the things that I have learned in this webinar, I haven’t heard before. So I want to share the information here with you, dear reader.
I’m not sore after my workout
The one expert (1) who was presenting the webinar, said that when someone tells them that they aren’t sore after the workout, he usually ask them why they want to be sore? I like it when I am sore after a workout because then it feels that I have done something but this is the wrong type of approach to exercise. The expert said that when you are sore after your workout, that you’re probably not recovering well. He is spot on. Did you know that when you feel pain, that your body’s pain receptors are warning you that there’s not something right?
Pain receptors, also called nociceptors, are a group of sensory neurons with specialized nerve endings widely distributed in the skin, deep tissues (including the muscles and joints), and most of visceral organs. They respond to tissue injury or potentially damaging stimuli by sending nerve signals to the spinal cord and brain to begin the process of pain sensation. (2)
So in other words, when you are sore after a workout, your body is saying that you have trauma to those muscle fibers that you have been training (3). You have not recovered fully as of yet.
So how should I recover?
In this webinar, the expert made a good point on sleep. He said that although you might feel that 4 hours of sleep is enough, are you really getting by? This is a good point. So what does he really say when he asks whether you are really getting by? He is probably asking you whether you see progress in your exercise program? Are you sick a lot throughout the year? How does your body feel? Tired, sore? Is your mind fatigue a lot throughout the year? If you have answered yes on any of these, you are not getting enough sleep and this hinder the body’s recovery as well.
Things that influence the quality of your sleep
I know that many people will just skip this paragraph in total because they don’t want to hear it but this one is true. That drink or two or five that you are having at the end of your day to relax, isn’t going to help you sleep well and on the long run will hinder your recovery. Alcohol reduces the REM sleep (4) which happens 90 minutes after you have closed your eyes which are the time period in which you dream. According to Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at The London Sleep Centre in the U.K: “Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night. Alcohol also suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnea,” or pauses in breathing that happen throughout the night.”
Other things that can also influence sleep (5) is anxiety, lightning, medications, shift based work, body aches and pains.
Another thing that the expert mentioned, was your nutrition will also help in recovery. You need to look at what your lifestyle entails and what type of exercise program you follow. If you have a exercise program which are high in intensity, you need to follow a nutritional plan which will give you enough energy to sustain the workout program but also aid in recovery. Do research on what foods aid in recovery, foods that are good for your current health conditions and your current workout program. Or see a dietician if you need to.
Recovery time between workouts
This is also based on the type of training your do. If you are a high level athlete or someone who’s training is high in intensity, you will need more time in between workouts to recover than someone who are only training at a moderate level of say 2-3 times of week and lower intensity workouts. Again, look at your lifestyle, do research.
Have a recovery plan. Look at the things that have been mentioned in this article. See what other options you have or what else you can do to recover better. Recovery differ from person to person due to health issues, previous injuries, lifestyle and exercise programs. Also remember that stress is also a factor in recovery and can hinder your progress and recovery. Do research on stress management as well.
Recovery is important and factors like sleep, nutrition and the amount of time you take a break between your workouts, are important. Take the time to do your research and recover better to ensure a healthier and more efficient you.
If you need help herein or a plan, contact me via my website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) – National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) webinars
(2) – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/pain-receptor
(3) – How do muscles grow: Young sub Kwon; M.S. & Len Kravitz Ph.D
(4) – https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20130118/alcohol-sleep#1
(5) – https://www.resmed.com/in/en/consumer/healthy-sleep/factors-that-interfere.html