Tracking Personal Recovery to Improve Performance, Part 1
We all know that recovery is important to our training success. Understanding your own recovery will help you make informed decisions about your training. But what should you be looking for? How do you know when you might need a little more rest? Recovery needs to be constantly monitored using a series of indicators that will show trends in increasing or declining performance. Below are the indicators that can be monitored daily.
Resting Heart Rate
In times of distress (Flight or fight) the heart rate will elevate, this may be a sign of sympathetic overtraining. A decreased heart rate may indicate parasympathetic “rest and digest” stress, which brings the body back to homeostasis.Resting heart rate can be measured by taking the pulse on your wrist or neck and counting the number of beats in 60 seconds. The most accurate time will be before getting out bed (from a decent night’s sleep). Following 3 weeks of data, a change +/- 5% can be considered a negative response associated with fatigue or stress.
Drastic changes in body weight can have negative effects on performance and cognitive functionality. Weight can fluctuate because of loss or gain in body fat, muscle mass and/or insufficient hydration or nutrition. Monitoring weight will provide feedback on daily energy and hydration needs. A loss of body weight of greater than 2% is considered a negative response, and can negatively impact recovery and performance.
Sleep quantity and sleep quality are important markers to track in relation to performance. Sleep affects growth hormone and testosterone production and release; the immune system; and muscle repair, all of which can affect performance. It has been suggested that eight hours of sleep each night should be the target, and a good marker to set when tracking sleep quantity. While in a deep sleep, more oxygen, growth hormones and nutrients are delivered to muscles which will aid in better recovery. Measuring sleep quality can be as simple as: Did you wake up during the night? were you tossing and turning? Were you restless? There are also many apps you can download to help track sleep quality.
When the sympathetic nervous system is triggered due to stress such as increased training volume or intensity, appetite will decrease. This will negatively affect energy balance, hydration and performance. Proper consumption of macronutrients and micronutrients will affect recovery, performance, immune-system, and hormonal balance. This marker will also be directly related to body weight changes.
The effectiveness of a training program can be tied to the principle of overload. Challenging the body differently in each training session with adjustments in movement, volume and intensity to produce a positive training response. These variables if applied properly will damage muscle fibres and result in soreness. Persistent or severe soreness can indicate the need for further recovery.
Stay tuned for “Part 2” of this article next week!
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