Keep calm, how difficult can it be?
Keep calm. One of the hardest things for athletes, but oh so important. Why? You can read that here!
Keeping calm, of course, we do not mean just sleeping. Keeping rest means that you should give your muscles and your body complete rest once or twice a week to recover. Because we exercise and train, we break the muscle fibers in our bodies – they need time to recover. Well, the recovery time of a muscle is about 48 hours, but it is also wise to sometimes give your whole body a rest.
As just indicated, when you train you destroy small muscle fibers in your body. This also causes the muscle pain that you sometimes feel. When you take a rest, the muscle fibers come back stronger. We call this supercompensation . However, if you give your body too little rest, it is possible that the muscle fibers do not have time to recover properly, so that the muscles do not become stronger at all, but only become more damaged. This ensures that your muscle fibers are permanently damaged, and you will therefore become less strong. You will find that your strength decreases drastically and that you feel tired and weak. This can be a sign of overtraining, so you have not kept enough rest.
In addition to the phenomenon described above, there is also something like Cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which can cause muscle breakdown and fat storage in the abdomen. If you do not give your body enough rest, it may be that your body experiences this as stress, so your cortisol values rise and remain high. This ensures that your muscles are slowly broken down and that you put more fat on your body, mainly around the belly. You do not want this right? Do you notice that you are often tired but still have difficulty sleeping, you have more headaches, your weight may have risen and your sport performance deteriorates? Then your cortisol values are probably a bit too high and you really need more rest.
– Eat enough: by eating enough your muscles get enough ‘nutrition’ to let the muscle fibers recover. In addition, the nutrients also give you more energy, so you will load faster.
– Sleep enough: little sleep can also lead to high cortisol production. Did you know that during your sleep you often recover the most and grow the most? So sleep at least 8 hours a night.
– Plan a rest week: almost nobody does this, but actually it is very good to schedule a rest week every 8-10 weeks. This way your muscles really get the time to recharge, then you can book progress again!
– Rest days: plan a rest day at least 1x per week. I myself have 2 rest days, 1 full rest day and 1 active rest day on which I only go for a walk. Your body will certainly appreciate this.
– Training schedule: ensure a good training schedule where you have a good distribution between the muscle groups. for example, train your legs or your back for 2 consecutive days. That is not very smart.
– Prevent stress: do you notice that you have a lot of stress in daily life? Then go do something that makes you calm. Watch a movie, do yoga or go for an hour of walking. All small bits can help!
– Listen to your body:This is actually the most important tip I want to give you. Do you notice that your sport performance is drastically declining or does your body say STOP? Stop then. Plan a rest day or possibly a few more rest days in a row and give your body the peace it deserves.
So, do you still doubt whether you can train a day extra or take a day of extra rest? Then go for that extra day of rest, it will do you more good than bad.