If you’re not treating recovery as an important part of your training, it’s not too late to start. Recovery can be the difference between securing a place on the winners’ podium or a seat in the stands nursing an injury.
In a nutshell, when you train you’re putting resistance on your muscles, which can cause microscopic tears in the muscle tissue, especially if you’re training harder than you have in a while, or ever. The body rushes to heal these micro-tears by sending satellite cells to the area to heal the tissue and form new muscle protein strands. These cells are responsible for rebuilding muscles, which grow stronger to ensure you will be able to cope with similar activity and levels of resistance in the future.
Recovery is a simple equation
The body needs two things to build these muscle fibers, sleep, and fuel.
Recovery = Nutrition + Sleep
Without the proper nutrition - carbohydrates, the right proteins, healthy fats, hydration and vitamins, and minerals - the body cannot repair effectively. If these aren’t present in the right amounts, the body can seek out nutrients from other sources by breaking down healthy tissue, such as from muscle and fat. The body also needs time to repair, and this time is typically when we are sleeping. Building tissue takes time, and you should aim to give your body 6-9 hours of sleep each night to repair, recover and prepare for the next day.