When it comes down to it, your recovery and physical adaptations derive from the activities that occur outside of the gym. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely fantastic that you’re able to commit to an hour, three days per week in the gym. However, that’s only half the battle. Let’s look at it this way. There are 168 hours in a week. If 3 of those hours are spent in the gym and/or with your personal trainer, that still leaves 165 hours. These 165 hours are crucial pieces of time that dictate your recovery and adaptations. You can train like an animal, but if you’re not taking full advantage of the remaining time, you’re cutting yourself short.
Your prolonged recovery time may be due to the 5-6 hours of sleep you’re giving yourself each night. Like mentioned in Beyond the Protein Shake, we require a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Once you factor in an hour of hard training in the gym, it should actually be about 8-9 hours per night. I know it sounds pretty luxurious, but you’ll know what I’m taking about when your performance and recovery skyrockets from this ample amount of sleep.
Your excessively sore muscles, despite your routine post-workout stretching and cool down, may be due to poor posture and/or the lack of anti-stiffness training done at home. Ensuring an optimal cool down with stretching and self-myofascial release work is excellent post-workout, but remember, you still need practise proper posture and take care of your tissues during your time spent at home. You should be spending a minimum of 10-15 minutes each day – whether you have trained that day or not – practising some form of anti-stiffness training. Get on the floor and practise some hip mobility drills or roll out your tight tissues with a lacrosse ball. This can all be done while you check your emails, cook dinner, heck, even at your desk at work. Find a way to keep yourself moving and be creative – all while maintaining good posture of course.
Remember, living a strong, fully functional, pain free lifestyle takes some work both inside and outside of the gym. Don’t let your hard training go to waste. Stay on top of your body and reign supreme.