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Optimise Your Recovery

No matter how hard you train, whether you are an elite athlete, club sportsman or simply someone concerned about general health and fitness, you will not gain the optimal benefit from your training without adequate recovery.

Adequate recovery processes serve several functions. In the short term they speed up the transportation of by products produced during exercise out of your muscles and into your bloodstream where they can be transported to the kidneys, liver or lungs for processing. They return your heart rate and blood pressure back towards normal and keep you sweating slightly so your body can get itself back to a temperature suited to normal activities.  In the medium to long term a well planned recovery programme will ensure replenishment of glycogen stores, appropriate levels of protein for muscle repair and development as well as sufficient rest prior to subsequent intensive training. 

Full recovery from exercise can take up to 48 hours depending on the intensity of your exercise session, your current level of fitness and adaptation to training, your post exercise nutrition and various other factors.  However, the first hour following intensive exercise can be said to be the most important time in ensuring you recovery fully and more quickly.

Below are a few tips to ensure that you recover adequately from your exercise sessions and optimise your adaptation to training.

1.  Warm down
First and foremost, you do need to warm down at the conclusion of your exercise session.  If you run, walk for five minutes at the end of your run.  If you work out with resistance equipment, spend a couple of minutes recovering on an exercise bike or rower.  If you swim, float and paddle for a few minutes.  Make sure you follow your main training phase with low level activity.  This will help to reduce your heart rate, remove by products, reduce your blood pressure and generally assist in starting your bodies return to normal levels.

2.  Ensure adequate nutrition
Adequate nutrition is vital to recovery.  Adequate nutrition includes  eating correctly both prior to and after bouts of exercise. 
The pre workout meal is crucial in terms of having the required energy to fuel your workouts.  Approximately 2 hours before exercise, a meal comprising slow release carbohydrates, plus some protein should be consumed.  This is to ensure you fully saturate your muscle glycogen stores.   

During the first hour post exercise you need to take on board some form of carbohydrates to start replenishing the loss of glycogen stores you have incurred during the preceding workout.  If your appetite is reduced following your workout try juices, fruit or a sports drink initially, until your palate can handle a more comprehensive carbohydrate and protein meal. 
Sports nutrition books recommend consuming at least 50-100 grams (200-400 calories) of carbohydrate within two hours after hard exercise.  If you aren't sure how much carbohydrate is in foods, simply choose higher carbohydrate foods and eat until you are full. 

Additional protein may also be needed post exercise in order to promote muscle adaptation during recovery from exercise.

3.  Ensure adequate rest.
Firstly, you need to ensure that you gain enough rest between exercise bouts.  If you are consistently feeling run down and out of energy with your training, or even during the day ... the first port of call may be to identify how much rest you are getting with your training.  This not only includes the amount of time between workouts, but also the regularity of rest days, as well as ensuring adequate sleep to allow your body to recuperate. 
Without adequate rest, you’ll be more susceptible to getting sick and will definitely not maximize your muscular and cardiovascular conditioning.

4. Plan your workouts
Planning your workouts goes hand in hand with ensuring adequate rest.  Be aware of the duration and intensity of your workouts.  Always ensure that you factor in days that include lighter workouts to enable your body time to recover from more intensive sessions.  A hard day followed by an easy day is a good rule of thumb to adhere to.  Of course, the fitter or more highly adapted to training you are the better your body will be able to handle a more intense workout.

5. Stretching
Although research on the benefits of stretching is somewhat inconclusive, generally it is viewed that stretching is beneficial as a post exercise recovery tool.  Not only does it aid in the flexibility of your muscles, it reduces the likelihood of injury during subsequent exercise as well as aiding in the transportation of lactic acid and other waste products from your muscles post exercise.

Do You Need A Personal Trainer?

Are you struggling for the results that you would like with your training?  Personal trainers aren't for everyone, but a trainer provides certain benefits that you can't find when working out on your own. Here are some reasons a personal trainer may be right for you.

One of the main reasons people benefit from a personal trainer is that they struggle with the motivation required to adhere to a consistent exercise program.  Quality personal trainers can provide structure and accountability, and help you develop a long term  change to your lifestyle.

Individualised program
A trainer will design a programme that is tailored to your individual needs and requirements.   A quality trainer will provide a more in depth programme and will make you aware of the benefits of completing each aspect of your programme.

Personal Trainers help you focus on results and stop wasting your time doing inefficient workouts. A personal trainer has a plan and will help you get maximum results in minimum time.

Improve technical skills
If you play a particular sport, the right personal trainer will help you improve your skill by showing you new training techniques specific to your sport. The Trainer will incorporate skills training into your program so you improve not only your strength and endurance, but your agility and mental focus as well.

You are new to exercise
If you are an absolute beginner, a personal trainer is the ultimate fitness coach. A good trainer will introduce you to a very simple, effective routine and build efficiently so before you know it, you have the confidence and knowledge to decide what is right for you.

Break through plateaus
Ok, you are already in pretty decent shape, but you've been there for years. If you are stuck in the same routine and want to break out of a rut, a personal trainer is the perfect solution. A trainer will jump start, not only your motivation, but your routine as well.

Workout Safely
A personal trainer watches your form, monitors your vitals and can provide objective feedback about your limits and strengths. Most of us tend to ignore some of the subtle signals our body provides. We either push through pain or give up too soon. Because a personal trainer can watch what you are doing while you are doing it, they can help push you or slow you down as necessary.

Lose Weight
There is a good reason that the number one reason people hire personal trainers is to lose weight and get into shape -- it works. If you made a resolution to lose the fat and build muscle, a trainer can keep you on track and help you realize that goal.

To find a personal trainer in your area search for one using our quick search function.  Simply select personal trainer and the area that you are searching in.

If you are a personal trainer in NZ and your details are not listed in our PT section click here