Doesn't sound right does it? But if you aren't eating and sleeping properly your work in the gym might be wasted. If you aren't recovering you can't continue to push yourself and will eventually plateau or even have performance decrease! The gym is important and don't get it twisted, but if your diet is terrible and you don't ever sleep you will hit a wall at some point in your training. This is the exact reason most people aren't successful when trying to get bigger or stronger. They do a ton of work in the gym, but then eat a bunch of garbage and barely sleep and wonder why they are so sore and never improve. If you are going to work so hard in the gym why not eat right and sleep enough? Then you will actually see the benefits of your workouts. This sounds easy, but it is difficult and it takes a lot of time. This means you will have to plan out how to do this! You can't just fly by the seat of your pants and stumble into success unless you are some sort of incredible outlier, are you that amazing talent that doesn't have to work but still beats everyone? Probably not, and even if you are why not hedge you bets on yourself and put in the work and time to become dominant? The time you invest in recovery will produce noticeable results and can make an ordinary athlete far better.
So what to I have to do to recover?
Get Plenty of Sleep!
The first one is pretty simple, but not easy by any means: Get plenty of sleep. This means putting your phone on do not disturb, turning off the TV, and putting all of your electronics away. The blue light emitted by these screens prevents us from going through sleep cycles properly and can inhibit performance. Slowing your mind down to allow yourself to fall asleep isn’t easy either, but by watching TV you are doing yourself no favors. You are not only missing out on the sleep you should be getting while you watch TV, but you also aren’t getting the deep sleep you need to recover properly. Quality of sleep is just as important as quantity when it comes to recovery and it all starts with a good bedtime routine.
Eat A Lot of Nutrient Dense Food!
Next is eating enough: One of the most difficult things to do as an athlete is to get enough food to recover, the easiest way to counteract this and make sure you get a minimum amount of food each day is meal planning. Take one day out of the week to prepare a set of meals for each day. Most people that do this will take the middle or morning of their Sunday and cook 3 meals for each day so they have them ready to go when they need them during the week. You will not always have time to cook full meals so taking a few hours to do it all at once saves a lot of time and effort. It is also hard to think of what to eat each meal, but if you cook large amounts and mix together an assortment of meals for the week it offers options throughout the week and keep you from getting sick of eating the same things all of the time. Try to come up with a few breakfast, lunch, and dinner options and make 2 of each meal plus a special meal each week for each meal and that makes 3 meals a day for seven days in a week! If you want to track your food I suggest finding a macronutrient calculator you like. Counting calories can be deceiving, using a good macro calculator will ensure you maintain a more balanced diet.
Recovery Doesn’t Matter If You Have Nothing to Recover From
This all being said, you need to work to get better. Without hard work recovery won’t help, you can’t just sleep and eat and get better. You need to work hard to need to recover and you need to recover hard so you can continue to work hard for a long time. The best athletes in the end are the ones who can outwork the others for longer. If you work hard in the gym you need to also work hard to recover or wasting your time. If you are going to train hard take the time to work on your recovery as well or you are so wasting potential.