Monday, January 14, 2013

Rest Periods: Recovery and Rest vs. Lazy

“Tomorrow I’m going to actively recover from my awesome workout today.”`

You take that extra sip of water. You go chat it up with your buddy. You go chalk your hands, because you know sweaty hands must be chalked frequently. You lay around on your couch eating chocolates or watching t.v.

Alright, reality check, taking obscenely large breaks during a workout are reserved for people who do balls to the wall olympic training. People who do olympic or competitive training, meaning those who sprint like a cheetah or can lift your car plus you in it.

The disadvantages to taking long rest breaks (greater than 2 minutes) is that your heart rate falls from where it is supposed to ideally remain in a workout (depending on what you are trying to achieve, a 50-85% range for target heart rate). What’s the point of maintaining a target heart rate? Maintaining a certain number of beats per minute allows you to either be in a steadier fat burning state or cardio mode.

So the next time you go for that extra five minutes to get some water or towel off your brow remember that you are robbing yourself of consistent training. A good rule of thumb I like to use is if you are able to have a full conversation while working out (as in you’re not working much besides your jaw from talking) then you should be dropping the chatter and working harder. It’s fine and great that people like to have a good time working out, but it’s going to take you much longer to reach your goals if you don’t make efficient use of your workout time.

The other kicker is taking “rest” days. Yes, you should avoid overtraining, but a rest day is a far cry from helping you recover. What you should aim for is taking 30 minutes to an hour on recovery/rest days and stretching out, rolling out, gaining mobility and flexibility. If you don’t invest time in recovering progress in your runs, lifts, or jazzercise is going to be stunted.

So ladies and gents, please consider how many rest breaks you take (limit them to 30 seconds-2 minutes absolute max) and actively recover your muscles for maximum performance.

Hi I am Katie, and here’s me in a nutshell. I love to eat, and used to live to eat. Now I eat to live. There is never a day that goes by that I am not reading a new scientific article about gluten intolerance and fitness or perusing a blog on gourmet paleo cooking ideas. I Crossfit and am on the Couch to 5k running series. Hit me up with your nutritional, health and fitness based questions.

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