How To Maximise Exercise Recovery

Spending time going hard at the gym is great, but what you do between the workouts is just as important as the workout itself. Taking time in between exercise to allow your muscles to recover and build up is actually the time when you’re getting stronger, not while you’re working them out.

When the body is exposed to stress, it will begin a process known as the stress, recovery, adaptation cycle. When you workout your muscles, the stress produced causes them to tear and break down. When this stress is of sufficient intensity, it kick starts the cycle, and after the workout when the stress is absent, the body begins repairing muscles so that they are stronger than they were before and more capable of handling a similar round of stress.

This means giving your body significant time to recover; supplement intense exercise everyday for 3-4 days a week or one day on, one day off. The number of rest days depends on the amount of exercise you’re doing, of course, but the idea is to be giving yourself at least some rest days. Rest days don’t mean being completely sedentary, it means not pushing yourself so hard that you disrupt your body’s crucial muscle-building recovery process.

The two most important things for recovery are food and sleep. Your body needs plenty of fuel to build itself back up again. Depending on whether your training aims to lose fat or to build muscle (your body cannot do both at once), your caloric needs will vary. One central component is that you get enough protein during this time, as it’s the central macronutrient for muscle anabolism. Sleep is important too – when you sleep your pituitary gland releases human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, both of which aid muscle growth and repair. Missing out on sleep means missing out on this recovery time, so a minimum of 8 hours is good.

Using a foam roller is another treat way to reduce muscle tension post workout. Massaging your muscles with the foam toller breaks up scar tissue knotting in your connective tissue. If left unattended, this can lead to nagging aches and pains in your muscles and joints. Spending only a few minutes rolling the muscle groups you worked out can really help speed up their recovery.

Your body will surely thank you if you incorporate these tips into your exercise routine!



Commitment Over Motivation

When trying something new, for instance, a new exercise program, a new daily habit of waking up earlier, or a new diet, you often feel that intense spark of motivation. This gets you going, makes you excited about what it is that you’re starting and hypes you up to put all your effort in. Yet, somehow, after the new thing becomes not so new anymore, your motivation drops off and you find yourself making excuses not to get up early, not to go to the gym that day, or telling yourself that the extra serving of ice cream isn’t really that bad. How can we stop this from happening though?

If motivation is what gets us started, discipline and commitment are what allow us to continue. So many people rely solely on their motivation to keep them going on new endeavours that they start, but the problem with this is that motivation is fickle. It comes and goes as it pleases, and is not reliable in the least. In order to see results with what you are starting, you must commit to making it a habit. Habits we do automatically, we no longer think about them consciously as a decision to make. If we manage to turn our motivation for a task into discipline for always completing that task, then we are on the right track to make progress with our goals.

For many people, this occurs over and over again with exercise programs. They start off so motivated to be in the gym 5 days a week, and then after one to two weeks, that motivation drops off, until they find themselves paying for a gym membership 6 months later that they hardly used. I’ve been a slave to this situation before. I have tried to start new things often, especially in the gym, only to find myself no longer excited to do them, so I stopped. This year, however, I managed to turn my gym motivation into commitment, so that now I don’t even think twice about going each day. One way that I did this was by starting small.

If you take on a giant task to begin with, it is easy to say that it is too hard, make excuses, and then abandon it. If you make that task smaller, it immediately becomes much more manageable. I started with three days in the gym a week, and as I got accustomed to this, it increased to four, and now to six, which I find completely manageable due to slowly building it up. So, whatever goal you have, start small and then slowly increase it when you feel like the first steps have become a habit. This is a surefire way to keep you going if you have something new you want to achieve.

After you’ve mastered this, seeing results can also be a great thing to focus on to keep you disciplined. This doesn’t just include physical results – maybe you’ve changed your eating patterns and feel much better with more energy, or maybe you’ve been more productive as a result of getting up earlier. By focusing on these positives, you can see why what you originally decided is worth it, and this can help you to want to continue with it. If you find you aren’t seeing results, maybe you need to tweak your processes. Changing something up can also renew your motivation, and start the whole process over again!

So, if you find your lack of motivation leaves you hanging on every new endeavour, then try to remember to start small, and focus on the results! Create that constant commitment and it will no longer be a burden to you!


Tips For Increasing Brain Power

Relying on your brain’s neuroplasticity, brain training can improve attention span, intelligence and problem-solving skills. With that being said, here are some simple ways for you to boost your brain power:

Limit multitasking
(for more about this check out my previous post) You’d think that multitasking would be good for your brain, right? Nope – people who multitask actually reduce their attention span, have difficulty changing tasks and are often unable to recall information. In this way, people who perform tasks one at a time are more competent and efficient.

Eat well
You are what you eat – nutrition directly affects your brain function. Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish the brain and protect it from oxidative stress — the cell-damaging “waste” (free radicals) that gets produced when the body uses up oxygen.

Learn something new and exercise your brain
Just like a physical work out, learning something new stimulates and exercises your brain by creating new neural pathways. This allows your brain to develop and grow, increasing your intelligence and providing you with a new or novel experience. Novel experiences tend to give you a rush of dopamine, the reward chemical, which can increase your motivation and boost your mood. If you’re looking to try something new, why not take up a new hobby or expand your academic horizons and enrol in a course. Upskilled is an online education provider which is perfect for busy individuals who don’t have the time to study full time on campus. With over 90 Nationally Recognised Qualifications across most disciplines, you can learn a wide range of new skills at your own pace!

Ensure you’re getting enough sleep
As if you needed another excuse to spend more time in bed! During your sleep cycle, your body regenerates your brain cells so it’s very important to go to bed early and enjoy the benefits of that REM sleep!

Exercise regularly
Not only does exercise give you that endorphin rush, it also helps to improve your memory, reduce inflammation and encourage the growth of new brain cells, and stop the decline of IQ with age!