Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rest & Recovery - The Most Difficult Part of Your Training Plan

Do you want to get bigger, better, stronger, faster and more fit? Then take a load off. Literally.

As a chiropractic physician credentialed in sports medicine, I've seen my fair share of athletes and 'wannabe' athletes over the years. There's no doubt that exercise and training is a good thing but there is a point where you can do yourself harm. Typically it's the pampered housewife that goes to 2 hours of aerobics classes 7 days/week and works out with a trainer.  They come to me at some point down the road when they start getting little pesky injuries, they feel like they're working harder and getting less accomplished and just fail to see the correlation between exercising 7 days/week and their injuries and poor performance.

Today happens to be a Wednesday. As a triathlete and triathlon coach, my training plan designates Wednesday as "Rest-Recuperation & Adaptation Day".  It's actually a written part of my plan. It's also a written part of the training plan the coaches I work with use for their athletes. Why?

Although it's psychologically difficult for athletes, rest is a necessary part of the training plan because it is when your body adapts to the stresses of the exercises and training that you do. That's why it's not just called a rest day, or recovery day, but rest, recovery and adaptation. Although  you want to get back out there and hit the gym or do one more day of training, what you really need is to take it easy and work on your mental game while your body makes the changes you've been asking it to with your training.

If you don't, you're asking for a breakdown.  When will it happen? Good question. But, it will happen, probably at the most inopportune time.

A rest, recovery and adaptation day should be a specific written part of your training plan.

Here's what my plan looks like for my rest/recovery/adaptation day:

  • Rest
  • Chiropractic Adjustment
  • Normatec Compression Boots (thigh, lower leg, feet)
  • StretchZone Stretch Session ( 
  • Hydration
  • Massage
  • Contrast baths
  • Pool floating
  • Meditation & visualization

Rest, recovery and adaptation is the basis of periodization training. This type of training has been shown to improve an athlete's performance of his or her competitors that don't periodize their training. It's the specific reason the Russians were kicking out butts at the Olympics for the longest time. They used periodization training for all their sports and it paid off big time. And a specific part of that plan is a planned day off.

Rest/recovery/adaptation day is a great day to review your workout plan, catch up on your office work and errands, prepare meals for the week or get some reading done. But whatever you do, take a break because your body needs to adapt to the changes you've been trying to achieve with your exercise and training.

Try to get your head wrapped around the concept that rest after a block of exercise is the part of your training plan that actually helps you get bigger, better, stronger, faster and more fit.

Yours in Health

Dr Todd Narson

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Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.


Jon Williams said...

This is a great read and i find it to be very true! Great job!

Adam Banks
NYSportsMed & Physical Therapy

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