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Key aspects of training that can often be put on the back burner or hard to prioritize are rest and recovery. To help you take your training to the next level, and understand the importance of rest and recovery, we talked with NBA Performance Coach and CEO of Great Day Squad* Ben Kenyon.
A rest and recovery practice will give you the ability to perform at your best for longer periods of time. As a competitive athlete or everyday athlete, we want to be able to thrive in all areas whether it is practice, at work, in games or a critical meeting. Being able to take action and execute are key to our success. Committing to an effective rest and recovery routine will give us the ability to reproduce the best results on a more consistent basis.
The three major areas that will improve rest and recovery are sleep, nutrition plan and “off-day” routine. I’ll dive deeper into each area later in this blog post.
Sleep plays a major role in the recovery process of our mind and body. Adequate sleep will improve our mental and physical health. Sleep improves, brain function, our ability to learn and retain information, muscle tissue repair, food metabolism and build a stronger immune system. Minimal amounts of sleep will be detrimental to our optimum performance, endurance and ability to recover because our stress levels are heightened. (Walsh et al. BJSM 2020**)
Nutrition plays a major part in our recovery. During exercise our body uses glycogen stores for energy which is exhausted with an increased time of physical activity. Restoring our blood glucose and repairing our muscles is vital after exercise. We want our post training supplement or meal to have a 4:1 or 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. This will replenish the depleted glycogen and start the muscle repair within the 30-minute re-fueling window. If you cannot eat a complete meal, the next best option is to grab a protein shake, smoothie with protein, or a Honey Stinger Cracker Bar with Protein or Protein Waffle . These are easily digestible and will satiate your hunger until you can consume an entire meal.
General rule of thumb is to eat for your competition/training goals. Eating food from these 7 categories daily will keep you balanced and on track. On a training or recovery day, eat:
The best time to start the recovery process is immediately after training or competition. Check out the Acute Recover Guidelines below.
There are benefits to both Active and Passive rest days. This is an amazing opportunity for you to listen to your body and choose the most efficient “off day” routine.
The main drawback of not resting is overtraining and causing unnecessary stress to your body. You will over train and exert unnecessary stress on the body. Overstressing your body will create a harmful ripple effect to you mentally and physically. Your body will stay in a catabolic state and breakdown muscle, cause dehydration and potentially lead to a significant injury.
As an active coach and athlete, I still struggle with taking days completely off. What has helped me feel productive is creating my own “day off” check list. My “day off” list consists of spending time with friends and family, napping, watching a documentary about performance, cooking or going for a long walk. Now it’s time for you to create your “day off” check list. Create a list of 3 to 5 activities that you can complete during your “day off”. “Day Off” Check List (Example)
The goal is to complete three activities on your day off, feel accomplished and call it a day. Athletes are very task-oriented individuals. Developing an extensive “day off” check list will allow them to be more efficient.
Every sports activity to rest ratio will be based on its specific preseason, in-season and offseason. The list below gives athletes and coaches general guidelines to developing their own activity to rest guidelines.