Training recovery methods. Not central to the conversation. There is so much hype with training online and social media. And it always looks like we have a Rocky Balboa montage in our heads as we crush our bodies over and over, pushing boundaries to do things we never achieved before. It’s always about taking more punches and moving forward.
We all want to be that guy or gal — heroic, unstoppable, able to push through the pain.
Seemingly, in watching the average fitness feed, the glamour is in hurting ourselves. But what about healing ourselves?
We forget the flipside to this script. We forget that we are all biological beings bound by certain realities of chemistry. (And, remember, Rocky got pretty punch drunk by Rocky V.)
Here’s the reality —you actually tear your body down while you train. It is the recovery that builds you back up in such a way to be stronger than you were before.
In this light, in fact, recovery is just the second part of your training plan. Maybe the most important. So why not treat it with the same intensity, Mr. or Mrs. Hardcore Spartan?
You can’t crush it all the time. Just ask all the folks on the sideline with injuries, chronic fatigue or mental burnout.
We don’t talk about recovery as much as training because it seems to put a chink in our air of invincibility. We don’t get points for bragging on social media that we just crushed a 10-hour sleep session.
Well, maybe it’s time to change that. Maybe it’s time to humble brag about recovery like we do about our recent PRs. Maybe we should own our recovery training like we do our HIIT training.
My fitness life changed the minute I got as hardcore about my recovery as I did my training. One day I suddenly took on the challenge to be a badass in a different way, a more humble way.
Afterall, no one seemed able to do it. Everyone around me was great at hurting themselves but sucked at healing themselves.
I was gonna sleep more than my competition. I was gonna do more ‘less’ than my competition.
I was gonna own it. And it changed everything.
When recovery goals become the same as training goals, and you bring the same intensity to them, get ready for some of your best performances.
Like anything, when it comes to training recovery methods, recovery takes practice.
So practice it hardcore.
Training Recovery Methods #1: Hardcore Sleep
Put your workouts on your calendar, but also put your sleep schedule on there, too.
Own that sleep like you do your workouts. Get angry about missing sleep.
View missed sleep the same as missed training.
Schedule your sleep and work your ass off to make it happen. Yes, it takes work to get to bed on time.
Consider 8 hours your baseline. But every once in awhile go for more. Personally, I like a 12-hour sleep session after a brutal week of training. I go to bed early on Friday night and sleep in on Saturday.
Nothing raises my training to the next level than a night or two a week where I go after sleep like a new PR.
Even if I’m not asleep I just lay still with my eyes closed. I don’t get frustrated. I just lay there enjoying the sensation of relaxing and doing nothing. I enjoy the sensation of healing.
I don’t watch Netflix. I don’t read. I don’t socialize.
I sleep. Maybe you should too. If you are hardcore enough to make it happen. To practice it despite all the difficulties that get in the way. Make time for sleep just as you make time for exercise.
Training Recovery Methods #2: Hardcore Nutrition
Think about all the money we invest in training. Gear. Apparel. Memberships.
Then suddenly when it comes to eating some healthy food we pinch pennies.
Think about all the time that goes into training. Those long hours over weeks and months. Then suddenly we use the microwave to make dinner.
Go and get yourself a fine meal. It starts with fine ingredients. Then you cultivate it with heartfelt preparation. Then mindful consumption of the foods.
Training tears your body down. Eating builds it back up. The quality of the rebuild is dependent upon the quality of your construction materials.
The gym is 1 hour of your day. Eating takes place during the other 23. It takes a hardcore person to nail nutrition. It’s not easy.
Training Recovery Methods #3: Hardcore Meditation
Everyone is somehow psyched about scheduling a HIIT or maximum power session in their day. They’ll happily let you know about it (if you are interested or not).
But to plan on sitting still and being aware of your body and thoughts for 10 minutes? No one is ever interested in that. No one talks about it. Not sexy or hardcore enough, I guess.
However, one day I realized that maybe meditation was the hardest workout going.
The reason everyone avoids it is because it’s intense and difficult. They just call it stupid and a waste of time because they can’t handle it.
Put it on your calendar. Treat it with the same seriousness you do your WOD. Mediation is practiced. It doesn’t just happen.
If you are truly hardcore, you can sit still, breath and be with your thoughts and sensations for 10 minutes. Right? You should have no problem doing this daily for a month.
Bet you can’t. Bet you aren’t hardcore enough.
You see, it takes outrageous discipline to be still. It takes intensity to relax at this level. It’s the next level of dedication, far harder than scheduling that extra workout in your week.
Training Recovery Methods #4 Hardcore Vacation
No training. No structured exercise.
That is what I mean by a vacation in this context.
I recommend one month a year should be totally clear from training goals.
Or, maybe here is an easier way to put it: the training goal is to not train.
It’s kinda zen, I realize, but that’s the beauty.
You have to work really hard at not working. Particularly if you are a Type-A Spartan personality.
So plan some travel. Plan some time with family and friends. Lord knows your training is probably making you a bit self-obsessed. Undo that mindset for a month.
You might find that it takes an extreme person to do this. Someone who can step outside their comfort zone when they are most comfortable with training all the time. Try it.
Need something to recover from? Here’s our Get Fit Fast training plan.