Life is full of stress. Some of it is self-imposed and intentional and other forms of stress come from inadvertent sources and sneak up on you. In either case, the body generally responds the same way. First, a cascade of stress hormones pump out of the adrenal cortex, then course through the bloodstream, and then activate a downstream sequence of events that can enhance physical performance, prepare the body for impending danger, and mobilize nutrients so the body can evade said danger. Stress comes in many forms:
• Physical stress from exercise
• Nutrition stress from poor quality food, eating too fast, alcohol, sugar, and food allergens
• Sleep deprivations stress from not getting sufficient hours and high enough quality sleep
• Mental stress from constantly being in thinking and problem-solving mode all day
• Emotional stress from our intimate, working, and social relationships
And the list goes on.
We are constantly exposed to this stuff every single day. Most of the healthiest people you know who you admire for how balanced their lives seem have found a way to manage these stressors better than others. We cannot avoid stress, nor should we. Without stress, we don’t adapt and grow. Without stress, we cannot evolve throughout our lifetime.
Without adequate RECOVERY we cannot adapt and grow. Without adequate recovery, we start to burn out and crash.
Here are two types of rest days that occur throughout the week as detailed by Revival Strength. The first is an active recovery day and the second is a full rest day. The intention is the same, but the execution is different.
ACTIVE RECOVERY DAYS (THURSDAY)
It’s important to make active recovery days have a unique qualitative feel to them. Active recovery days are a great midweek recharge. During an active recovery day, approach all daily activities with a little more mindfulness. Find times throughout the day to slow down and just breathe. When it comes to movement, be purposeful with not pushing yourself, but rather get into a flow state and allow the beating of your heart, the rhythmic respiration of your lungs, and the gentle movements of your body to become my meditation.
• Circulate Blood – choose movements and time frames that promote more blood circulation (think longer and slower)
• More cyclical movements (bike, row, run, swim)
• Avoid lots of eccentric contractions – these cause more muscle damage than concentric contractions
• Core isometrics and carries are your friends
FULL REST DAYS (SUNDAY)
1. Move Blood – Try to include some steady state movement that is very low intensity. Aim to get this in early on the day as it will help your energy for the remainder of the day and help you process your food better. Lower intensity steady state activities ensure you will move blood around the body but do not tax the nervous system. Swimming, walking, going for a hike, or hopping on the bike for an easy spin down to the farmers market all count.
2. Sunshine – If possible, get 20-30 minutes of direct sunlight. Sunlight helps with mood, Vitamin D production, and immunity. This is ideal to mix in with #1 above. Go on a shirtless hike in the sunshine if you can.
3. Hydrate – This needs to be a daily practice of course, but make an extra concerted effort to get my fluids in on rest days. Add in some pink Himalayan salt to your water to get some needed electrolytes and improve absorption.
4. Relationships – There are some relationships that feed our soul and remind us of our purpose. Think about what relationships in your life fill you up and which ones you have perhaps neglected a bit for the past 6 days while you have been busy working out or working.
5. Nourish – Get quality local and organic food whenever you can. Cook meat, chop veggies, prep potatoes. Plan to succeed for the week ahead. A home cooked dinner for the family and some friends is an amazing way to feed your body and soul in one event!
The way to win the long game in Health and Fitness means you have to balance the stress and recovery equation. If you don’t then you are NOT succeeding. We are here to make sure our members succeed and WIN in life!