Busting your ass off and not getting results?
If you have taken the time to come to this page and read this then I assume at some stage in your life you have felt you had tried everything but hadn’t got the results. If I’m right maybe you didn’t track your recovery properly? Could it be you were over working yourself? It may have even been you weren’t doing enough?
Why is tracking your recovery important?
Tracking your recovery can be an extremely useful tool for any athlete or even the average Joe to use. It can mean the difference between getting the results you want or working your butt off only to be making little or no progress! It could also be the difference between you getting injured or not. When you track your recovery it means you get to see what works best for you and your body. How much volume or intensity can you handle, how much sleep do you need to recover or what foods help you recover?
It goes hand in hand with Yin and Yang, what you put out you must put back in, so if we track your Yang or output then shouldn’t we also track your Yin or rest and recovery?
Heart rate variability HRV
Your resting heart rate does not stay at the same beat all the time and the difference variation of time between beats is called your heart rate variability. What tracking your HRV can tell you is how stressed the nervous system is or your body. If your body is under stress your HRV will be very erratic, this would indicate your body being in the sympathetic nervous system. If your HRV is calm and steady it will indicate the body being in the parasympathetic nervous system.
I have a pretty cool toy I like to use from heart math which is a Heart Rate Variability tracker. I do five minutes every morning to check up how my body is handling the workout loads, sleeping at night and if I’m ready for a hard workout or not.
Knowing how recovered I am can then show me that the program I’m doing is right for me right now, do I need to spend more time resting and recovering or is everything right for me to push hard and get the results I’m after!
Now in a perfect world you would be training hard when your body allows it, sometimes I’ll come to the end of a program and I’m not fully recovered or I am getting a low score on my HRV but I know the rest is coming and the adaptation will come in that rest period of a week. Instead of not working out I’ll drop the volume of the work out and keep the intensity up. I know I also need to do everything I can to increase recovery.
How do I increase recovery?
Firstly I set a bed time and I go to bed at that time religiously unless I have an event on.
I don’t stay up late playing PlayStation achieving nothing goals on PlayStation.
I finish my day with 3 things I’m grateful for so I go to bed happy!
Get early morning sunshine. This has been shown to reduce effects of blue light throughout the day and help melatonin release at night.
After I get my oura ring which is much more then just a sleep device I’ll have lots of data to show you on the different things I do or try and how it impacts sleep.
Spending 10 minutes each day sitting outside and just working on the breath is something I use everyday. Yes this is meditation and meditation has been shown to change neural pathways by just doing 10 minutes everyday. This will help reduce your bodies cortisol and can help with inflammation and many things that will help out with recovery. There are so many different breath routines you can try so you don’t get bored. I love Wim Hoff and his techniques I recommend going to one of his seminars he does and do the breath work and jump in the ice bath.
Here’s an easy one to start off with it’s called a box breath, breathe in for 4 seconds hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds and hold for 4 seconds. Try that and see how relaxed you are!
Soft tissue work
I have the best masseuse ever and I hope she reads this! Apart from massage there are lots of things you can do including foam rolling, acupuncture or mobilising joints with bands. Usually in my day off working out I will do extra stretch and release work and I will get a massage as often as possible.
Other ways to track recovery
There are other cheaper ways to track recovery and using a combination of them can really help.
Grip strength – it’s quick and easy if you have a grip strength tool that is relatively hard, if you squeeze it and you’re weak that day and can not close it all the way or comparable to what you can normally do, maybe you need to change it.
How do you feel – keeping track of energy levels and moods. If you’re constantly tired lacking energy, grumpy or have a low libido then you will need to try and improve your recovery. Keep a training journal and record all your weights. That will allow you to see yourself improving or if your not. If you’re not improving then you need to improve your program or your recovery. In that journal write how you feel and your energy levels of every session.
Get a sleep app on your phone or other tracking device – they might not be 100% accurate but nothing is! So what you want is to get enough data from one of a couple of sources and you will be able to start to tweak things to get better sleep.
Track your resting heart rate – that’s an easy one. When you wake up, take your resting heart rate and if it is elevated it could be possibly because of your recovery not being as great.
In conclusion, start recording data on yourself, get to know yourself, everyone is different and react better to foods and some recover faster than others so I encourage you to find out what works for you and the start is tracking your recovery.