Rest & Recover

Ensuring you have adequate rest and recovery time between training sessions is vital for anyone who exercises regularly. 

The most common mistake I find when people are trying to improve their health and fitness is they place so much importance on their training and nutrition plans however they miss the third and often most crucial element - rest and recovery.

I know when you're on a fitness journey often the last thing you want to do is delay the process. You feel guilty if you have a day off. Well don't. Don't feel guilty for taking time off because rest and recovery time is just as important as training time. It is vital to listen to your body, to develop an awareness of your body, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you are feeling tired, sore or you notice decreased performance, you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. Optimal results are rewarded through hard work, good nutrition AND adequate rest and recovery. Balance is the key. Always listen to your body.


Hitting the sack is just as important as hitting the gym or running track. A lack of deep quality sleep plays havoc on our hormones which can not only decrease our motivation and energy levels it can also increase our ability to gain weight and age faster. Need more convincing? These five reasons why a good nights sleep is important when trying to improve your health might help encourage you to call it a day and get those much needed zzz’s.


It stops us over eating

Sufficient sleep helps your body to balance hunger hormones. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals your body to eat more. When you’re sleep deprived your body makes more of this hormone. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body it’s had enough food. Your body makes less leptin when you’re tired. Put the two together, and it’s no wonder sleep deprivation leads to overeating and weight gain.


It prevents excess weight gain

Without adequate sleep our ability to properly use insulin (the master storage hormone) becomes completely disrupted. When we become more insulin resistant, fats circulate in our blood and pump out more insulin. Excess insulin is eventually stored as fat. A quality sleeping pattern will help keep insulin levels regular and prevent fat storage.


You also get stressed when you are tired and without realising it, stress has a great ability to cause you to store fat. When you experience stress your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol makes you more likely to store calories as fat no matter how well you are eating. Therefore a poor sleep routine can result in your body treating a healthy diet like an unhealthy one.


It keeps your brain focused

Your brain functions differently without sleep. Sleep deprivation is a little like being drunk. When you are deprived of sleep you lack the mental clarity to make sound complex decisions, especially with regards to the foods you eat. This usually results in you making poor meal choices and consuming snacks you wouldn’t normally. 


Sufficient sleep also promotes mental and emotional health. These are very important factors when trying to improve food and exercise habits. A positive outlook and state of mind leads to better choices all day long, including exercise and healthy eating.


You get a greater benefit from your workouts

Lets face it sometimes just getting to the gym is an effort, but when you’re tired it’s even harder. What’s worse is the lack of effort you can put in once your there. If you are tired you are not going to be able to give your session 100%. Less than 100% effort means less than 100% reward. Don’t jeopardise your hard work because of a poor sleep pattern.


It helps you recover

For years there has been research completed on the effects of over-training and how often we should exercise each week before it’s considered too much. From my experience I believe the focus should also be on under-recovering not just over-training. Lack of sleep makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormone; your natural source of anti-aging and fat burning that also facilitates recovery. So there’s proof a good sleeping pattern can help keep you looking younger!


Although many studies have taken place to determine the ideal number of hours sleep we should be getting each night, it is important to remember that quality is just as important as quantity. Get yourself into a routine and create a sleeping pattern that can be carried forward each day. Ensure your place of sleep is a suitable environment where your body can be completely at rest. Comfort speaks wonders in encouraging us to get the rest and recovery we need. You want to look forward to going to bed each night. 


When it comes to improving your health and fitness, the four words; sleep better, live better, have never been more true. The importance of sleep, rest and recovery should never be over looked.