What is recovery and why is it important?

December 20, 2023

One of my favorite topics to discuss in all of fitness. I think it’s a loaded question and something that can be different for everybody. Also, probably the most overlooked aspect of fitness and wellness. I like to break this down as it’s easier for me to approach. There’s a mental, emotional, and physical aspect of recovery and each are not only important, but affect each other.

As a coach and athlete, the physical component of recovery is just necessary. If we want high level results then we typically need more recovery. We can’t expect or demand more from the body without aiding or supporting it. It’s unethical and the risk of injury increases. This can consistent of foam rolling, massage therapy, cold plunge + sauna, mobility, physical therapy, acupuncture, taking supplements, or overall any low intensity exercise like walking, yoga, tai chi etc. Active recovery is meant to restore the body to support your higher intensity work. Nutrition and sleep are two major factors of recovery as well. They also impact our emotional and mental recovery. Physically…sleep, water, and nutrition are your biggest allies. Nutrition and sleep are key factors in recovery.

The mental and emotional aspect of recovery is the most overlooked when it comes to training and goal setting. I know it’s wild to think about in the context of training, but trust me, if you lack active recovery in these areas it will inhibit you from getting to where you want to be and how you want to feel. I guarantee you. This can look like going to therapy, meditating, breath work, going for a walk, taking a day to yourself, stepping away from your computer or phone, getting 7+ hours of sleep per night, reading before bed, taking a bath, etc. Emotional and mental recovery is another way of decompressing or relaxing the mind. This seems to be easier said than done for most. However, this is extremely important for your overall health, but for training as well.

Each component of recovery plays a role in training and ultimately your goals. Whether you want to improve your health, lose weight, gain weight, build lean muscle, or improve your overall movement and posture, recovery is a non-negotiable. It also helps us reduce the risk of injury. Many seem to acknowledge that these seem optional when we are younger and to a certain extent that’s true. When we are younger, we can get away with doing less or many even nothing at all. As we age and take on more life responsibilities, that will not be the case. That doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of achieving what we want, it. simply means that it has to be more intentional.

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