Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rest and Recovery

Rest? Who has time for that? It turns out that all of us need to make time, if we want to improve our fitness level.

This past week I had two very sweet women tell me they wanted arms like mine, then they proceeded to ask if I lifted weights every day. I said thank you first, then lectured on the importance of letting your body and muscles rest. 

If you lift heavy enough weights and lift correctly, your muscles are going to break down and rebuild after your strength training session. Notice I said, after. You need to allow your body time to complete this process before you lift on that part of the body again. As the muscle rebuilds it becomes stronger. If someone is doing biceps curls every day that muscle is not being allowed to rebuild and the person is hurting themselves and essentially wasting their exercise time. 

Every body is different but usually one to two days between strength training sessions is enough, unless you are really trying to build mass. 

Another important component of recovery is sleep. I usually have between one and four boys sharing my bed with me each night. It doesn't make for fabulous sleep! I know, I should make them stay in their own beds but they're so dang cute in the middle of the night! I am definitely lacking in quality sleep (I'm sure many of you can relate) and that isn't a good thing. 

The stress hormones your body releases when you’re sleep-deprived leads to a loss of lean tissue, a gain in fat mass, a sluggish metabolism, and slow recovery. (i)

So, if you can, try to get to bed on time each night and don't share that feather pillow with a cute, little head. 

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