It’s a little like going to party hungover. You’re body just doesn’t enjoy the crisp taste of a gin and tonic in quite the same way it would if you were fresh from a good nights sleep. Strange comparison? Maybe. But it’s the same concept.
If you train hard the day before, and wake up feeling a little worse for wear your body will not enjoy the next days session, or more importantly reap the benefits of training without a little resting and stretch.
Now I’m not saying we should rest every other day, I would be a hypocrite if I did! Especially in the nature of my interests and career, it can be difficult to rest. Events, social activity and even meetings often revolve around training, or the latest class on the market which can result in double session days. Of course sometimes this is unavoidable, but it’s about making sure you allow your body the rest it deserves on days training is not a feature of the work diary.
We all do it, we get carried away with the post workout feeling and sense of achievement upon competition of challenging workout, resulting in the desire to train every damn day! It’s not for everyone, but for us it’s our hobby, passion and height of our social lives. This makes it difficult to avoid! The bottom line here isn’t avoiding the training that betters our bodies and puts the smile on our faces, it’s ensuring we are refuelling and giving back to our bodies after pushing them through growth and change. This is just one of the many tricks my training at Six3Nine has taught me.
Overtraining can be just as detrimental as under training as without giving our bodies the time to repair they will not change. Now each of my sessions stars an element of stretching and focus on the suffering muscles. I’d gone through months of training giving little or no regard to the healing process. Yes, I vowed to attend a weekly yoga class and spend more minutes stretching but much to Dom’s disappointment these promises were never followed through. This has left my body a little battered to say the least. And so my six weeks spent with 639 paid special attention to reversing the damage done, as well as strengthening my stand and healing my hunch.
Over to Dom to explain the why’s and the reasons…
Rest days are of vital importance to ensure that body has time to repair itself from the stresses placed on it by workouts. This is especially pertinent if you are looking to make body compositional changes. If you are looking to burn fat or build muscle; adequate rest is fundamental as these stresses can result in a negative (catabolic) effect on the body. An example is the bodies response of producing elevated cortisol levels (a stress hormone) which causes inhibition of muscle repair and growth and an increase in fat storage to name a couple. Meaning that if you have a penchant for training day in, day out with little regard to rest and excessive muscle soreness this may have a detrimental impact on your training progress and health. To further this point, Gray Cook, aptly summarises this negative compound effect; “Movement habits, exercise programs, activities, occupational duties and athletics can all perpetuate faulty movement patterns. Consistently repeating these behaviours, even in the presence of corrective exercise, becomes a tug of war within the central nervous system.”
The provision of adequate rest varies from person to person with 48 – 72 hours being the general time parameter to allow the body to regenerate. These rest days can be put to good use with the focus on mobility in conjunction with myofascial releases. Increasing your bodies mobility has a plethora of benefits especially for weight loss and building muscle. If you take a squat, a staple compound exercise, executed through a full range of motion this will provide greater flexibility, strength gains, energy expenditure and muscular development. This is because the joints have to move through a greater distance which in turn means the muscles are under tension for longer duration and working harder as a whole as they are producing force throughout different points of the muscle. Working towards executing exercises through a full range of motion can be set in motion with an effective and comprehensive three step process which consists of inhibiting overactive muscles with the use of a foam roller or lacrosse ball to reduce excessive tension. Followed by the muscle tissue being stretched out in a static position will then help to rebalance the length-tension relationships between opposing muscle groups. Activation of the working muscles train the body to utilise the correct muscles when executing an exercise. In Hannah’s case, one of the overactive muscle groups that we look to inhibit are her hip flexors in which we spend time releasing tension with a lacrosse ball. We then stretch these muscles with a forward lunge quad stretch. Once these two steps are completed we then activate the under-active muscle group, the glutes, with 2 sets of 10 weighted glute raises. This works towards correcting muscular imbalances and providing better movement quality when Hannah is executing a squat.
I feel incredibly lucky to be in Dom’s capable hands as we begin to build my body back to stability and strength. We may even share some of our supple secrets some day… Keep your eyes peeled.