Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about recovery.
Like most working age Americans, we are focused on progress in someway. Whether it is improving our fitness, furthering our career, strengthening relationships, or expanding our experiences. Much like a man who would rob an Arby’s to go to Disney World, we are always looking to go the extra mile.
We all have drive, especially if you are someone who goes to a gym. Part of you is pushing for that next step.
We also have the need to look like we have drive. It is ingrained in us from an early age. If you aren’t working or look like you are working, you are viewed as a slacker. It’s a non-personal health centered view point that has been around in this country for a while.
While this thinking has led to us going to the moon and making Walmart a thing, it has also created obesity and mental health problems that are greater than most of our 1st world country counterparts.
We are humans and humans are animals that require quality rest in order to grow. Without this rest we make poor decisions, stress increases, we gain more weight, and a litany of other malign effects.
Our days are stressful, it doesn’t matter how much you earn or what you do, work is work and it takes a toll on all of us. Add together all our other activities and we exhaust ourselves by the time we get home (or change rooms #COVID).
But, what do most of us do when we get home for the day? Do we stretch, eat enough food to replace what we have lost, and go to sleep so that we have 7-9 hours of sleep? If you are like most people I meet, the answer is no to the latter question. We all usually stay up and do more work, are on call, watch Netflix to catch up with what our friends are watching, or eating the fastest thing we can get our hands on so we can go back to those previously mentioned actions.
You aren’t alone at all on this! Even though I’m a CCFT, own a gym, and am writing an article about this very subject, I also would have to answer no when asked if I do what I am supposed to for recovery.
My reasons are work and stress. Ever since the lockdowns started I have gone from an average of 8 hours a night of sleep down to 6. This sacrifice of quality recovery comes from the American ideal. If I work harder than anyone, success is all but inevitable. If I stay up and do every bit of work I can to make the gym better, the future will be better. But at what cost?
The cost from a lack of quality recovery is that my training improvement has slowed, I have not eaten as much as I need to resulting in even more fatigue, my body fat % has increased, and I’m more sore than I ever have been.
I’m not saying anyone should regret these choices, more acknowledge the consequences that they bring.
So how do we overcome this obstacle? How do we take care of ourselves while still striving for progress?
We prioritize our rest. Not cold turkey, but how we suggested in our story about goals.
We also have to acknowledge that we cannot put our best effort into our work without feeling our best. Take care of yourself so that you can help others!
Of course it will be one of many priorities. Think of it like the “Islands of Personality” from Inside Out. We gotta get the Island of Self Care up and running so the rest of the brain can do it’s best and not become like Bing Bong (I’m not crying….you’re crying….okay I’m crying).
When we do this we can start to notice changes in our mood, eating habits, choices, and overall fulfillment in our day.
What can we do this week to start get the Island of Self Care up and running?
This week I am going to set an alarm that is 30 minutes ahead of the time I normally go to sleep during this pandemic. When that alarm hits, work stops and will just have to wait until the morning. All screens will turn off and I will start my night time routine early. I’m going to do this for a week and then next week try to increase it to 45 Minutes. In a month I’m looking to have 90 Minutes added to my sleep. While this is still not where I was, it will be better. I’ll note how I’m feeling when I wake up and when I go to sleep.
All I’m doing is going to bed just a little bit earlier and tracking a small bit of data that should take 4 total seconds each day.
What this does is that it will make sure that I am being more efficient in my work (putting a time cap on work tends to make the work session more efficient, much like it does with MetCons) and it gives me a small reachable goal to go with. The small 15 minutes jumps after give me time to adjust and learn how to get better at what I do.
If you are having trouble recovering in other ways such as not stretching enough, not eating the right things, etc… set a goal with me. It can be stretching 10 minutes 3 days a week, adding 1 veggie to each plate, or any number of small goals you can try to accomplish. Even do the exact change I’m doing and we can compare notes! Let’s make a small jump towards building or repairing that Island of Self Care.
If you end up liking this, then join me on the Nutrition Challenge as well. It’s not as fun to go on a transformation without some community support.
Our Fall Forward Nutrition Challenge begins September 12th! Read more HERE.