Have You Ever Felt This Way?
You wake up, you roll over to turn your alarm off and you can already tell when you sit up everything is going to feel sore and tight. As you find the strength to twist to the edge and slowly stand up you are greeted by your sore muscles reminding you how hard you’ve worked this week. You think to yourself “There’s no now way I can workout today”, or “Ugh this workout is going to be rough”. But as the morning progresses you start to feel slightly better and you decide to give the gym a try. Even though you feel tired and sore you make the tough decision to stick to your commitment of regular exercise.
Recovery At The Gym
Regardless if you go to the morning workout, lunch hour workout, or evening after-work workout chances are you will still be tired pulling up to the gym. You know from past experience that after the warm up you’ll start to feel better and ready to workout. But that doesn’t happen today. You begin and end the warm up still feeling tight and more fatigued than usual. You look at the workout you have for the day and immediately know it’s going to beat you up. That movement is difficult for you, the weight seems heavy, it seems super long and your head just isn’t in the right place today.
These are good signs from your mind and body that a recovery day is just what you need.
Why You Need A Recovery Day
Your body is already not feeling up for another intense workout. A great way to help your body recover is to lower the intensity, get a good sweat going, and increase blood flow to the sore muscles. This gives the body a chance to slow things down and focus on better movement, increase mobility, flush out lactic acid, and practice different skills. Recovery days are needed to maintain healthy progress and stay mentally focused in your training program.
What To Do On A Recovery Day
If you’re at a group class and unsure what to do, talk to your coach. Tell him or her exactly how you’re feeling, what muscles are sore, and that you want to take it easier today. A good coach will modify the workout to your exact needs.
Lighten the weight in the workout more than you think you should. If the workout calls for heavy lifting, lower that weight to something you can move easily with amazing form. If the workout calls for power cleans at 135/95 lbs, don’t drop it by 10 lbs. Drop it by 20-30 lbs to insure you’re focusing on better movement.
Less Reps or Less Time
Shorten the workout to something you’re confident will get you sweaty but will not mentally destroy you. A workout with high repetitions can be shortened so your muscles feel the stimulus but are not pushed to far too many times. If it’s too many reps at once, too long of an AMRAP, or too many rounds then modify the workout to your needs.
Focus more on practicing movement and not so much training and forcing adaptation. Practicing 2-3 reps at a time of something difficult can help develop a better motor pattern. This could be overhead squats with a PVC pipe or empty bar, turkish gets ups, handstands, or anything you want to improve. Pick something and ask your coach for some progressions and spend 5-10 minutes practicing that movement. You will benefit from more mindful practice. Everyone does.
Keep in mind, the goal is to recover so you can feel better tomorrow. And recovery days can still be productive to your overall health, wellness, and fitness.
If you have ever felt this way or feel a friend might benefit from this please like and share!