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Why optimal recovery is key for optimal performance

Why optimal recovery is key for optimal performance

Many of us set new year resolutions. Whatever they were, they aimed to improve our functioning as human beings. However sometimes we get ahead of ourselves, always pushing on at work, at home and in the gym.

We forget about recovery.

Recovery is fundamental to our health and gains. It should be a priority.

Here are 6 tips to keep yourself in top condition:

1. Sleep.

Sleep is so important and yet it is one of the first things to go from our routines.

Even a small sleep deficit can lead to a huge decrease in cognitive and physical performance, which will hinder your progress towards your goals.

If for a period you really (I mean really - not another episode of a Netflix series really), are unable to fit enough sleep in (7 – 8 hours a night) at least make sure your sleep hygiene and quality is as good as it can be. Make your bedroom just for sleep. No TV or phones in the bedroom (sorry!) and make it dark and make it cool.

2. Food

Food, glorious food, and the magical way it nourishes your body. Nutrition is key when it comes to recovery.

Weight loss may be the goal but for it to be sustainable you’ve got to be able to keep it up in the long term. And you still need to be able to function.

Crash diets have been shown to time and time again to be unsuccessful, so just slowly reduce your food intake, make smarter choices where you can and don’t deny yourself anything.

Everyone knows more vegetables is a good thing; more cake isn’t.

Be honest with yourself about your food choices and think about how what you eat will affect your body.

3. Water

Water is fundamental to our existence. Dehydration can affect our physical and mental functioning significantly.

Water is involved in metabolic processes throughout the body, so make sure you always have a water bottle on the go. Yes you might have to go to the toilet more, but just think of it as extra steps.

4. Supplements

Supplements should do exactly that, ‘supplement’ a healthy diet.

There are a few vitamins and minerals that have been proven time and time again to have beneficial effects on our bodies, mainly because we don’t get enough of them through our diets.

Vitamin D, Omega 3s and Magnesium have huge roles in the body and can be a good added extra once you have a good diet going.

5. Listen to your body and train smart.

Your resolution is to go to the gym 3 times a week? Great! Then the kids have sports clubs, you’ve got some big deadlines at work and it’s your mum’s birthday at the weekend.

Don’t force yourself to exercise, but at the same time if you feel great and can get a 4th session in, go for it.

20 minutes of stretching before bed or taking a longer walk to the shop may be just as beneficial during a busy week as trying to smash out an hour of HIIT training.

6. Self love

A wonderful way to think about looking after yourself and making sure you have time to recover is using the child mentality.

If you wouldn’t let a child do it, don’t let yourself do it.

For example, smoking or drinking to excess. You wouldn’t let a child do it so why do it to yourself?

Same goes for eating 4 doughnuts, or staying up late to watch more TV on a school night.

Psychologists have used this method of self love and listening to your body for years.

Sometimes you need to take a step back and focus on yourself. By making recovery a priority you are more likely to achieve your goals and avoid burning out on the way there!

So go to bed half an hour earlier and have an extra portion of vegetables here and there. Pick a couple of things to work on and let me know how you feel!


the author

Izzy Jeffs

Izzy is a British champion javelin thrower and has competed in two Commonwealth Games finals. She has competed for Great Britain on several occasions. Izzy is a personal trainer and spends a lot of time training in the gym, building muscle. When she is not training at the track or in the gym, she is eating. You’ve got to eat big to get big! .