Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mix it up! (Part I)

You know already from the previous post that too much training without proper recovery is only detrimental and can be even harmful to your health. And you also know that you need to train constantly and with increasing effort levels to produce fast results.

So, how do you combine the two things?
How do you train more without hurting yourself?

Very simple answer: train AND recover all the time!

This means that any good training program has also recovery designed within it. And the best training programs are the ones that consider the optimization of recovery a priority.

I know, I want to know how to do it by yourself, right?

Here's the trick: Mix things up!

If you train different body parts, do different sports, and use different intensity and duration levels, you will be always taxing mainly one area of your body while the others are recovering.

Sounds obvious, right?

But how many people you know that go always for that same 30-minute run, at the same pace and at the same place? I bet is the same people that show little or no results. Even worse, I am sure those same people complain about pain in the knees or ankles from exercising. 

So now let's see in greater detail how you could avoid that same mistake. 

Different sports, different body parts

What is your favorite food?
Would you eat it at every meal, every day?

Most probably you wouldn't, but if you would, that same food would become very soon your most hated dish. Your mind and body will reject it as the lack of variety would not only make your eating very annoying, but you will be also lacking many important nutrients.

Well, it is the same for training. If for example, you only do a certain run all the time, it will become annoying very soon and you will lose the desire to be active. Even worse, you will be stimulating only some of your body parts exactly in the same way, while completely neglecting others.

At a certain point, this constant and repeated movement in the same body part becomes too much, and you end up with extreme pain or even injured.

Thus, the best way to avoid it is to use different body parts and play different sports. This is called "cross-training" and it is the best injury-prevention medicine you can use. By the way, it is fun, too!

If you are not competing in a specific sport, you can keep doing different things all the time. Go hiking, biking, running, swimming, climbing, kayaking, play tennis or basketball, do weight lifting, and whatever comes to your mind and feels appealing to you.

The more variety you add, the better.

Be creative and follow your instincts!
Be adventurous, too!
Your body will be trained AND recovered properly.
And your mind and spirit will be refreshed, too!

But even if you are focusing in just one sport because you have some race in mind, add some cross training to your program to avoid injuries. For example, if you are preparing for a running marathon, a swim or bike ride can keep your cardiovascular system working at top level, while you give much needed rest to your lower back, knees and ankles from the constant running impact. Even if you do not swim or bike, you can always walk uphill to challenge your cardiovascular system and activate different muscles (i.e. glutes), while you avoid the hard impact on your knees (ask somebody to pick you up at the top or come back down walking very slowly!!!).

OK, that's it for the first part.

But before leaving, just one quick final tip: If whatever you are doing is hurting badly and acutely (especially in the joints), stop doing it! Do a different movement or do a different sport, until your pain disappears.

I know from experience that this final tip, unfortunately, will not be followed by many.

But I am writing it for the SMART ones like YOU!

Pain is an alert signal telling you that you need recovery time in a certain area. And extreme pain is a loud alert signal telling you that the area is damaged already and needs greater recovery time.

Don't be a hero!

If you are in pain, keep training, but focus on a different area.

Listen and respect your body!

At least if (like me) you want to be able to enjoy the beauty of sports and the outdoors for all the rest of your life.

No comments:

Post a Comment