AA, NA, etc. types have come here from a misleading Google search.
Your almighty porn typewriter machine can't think!
Okay . . .
"Coach! My clean has been stuck at 305 lbs. for a month and I don't know why!"
A strength coach is presented with this situation all the time. My immediate reply is always, "What did you eat for breakfast?" . . . followed by, "How many hours of sleep did you get last night?"
The two most important elements of recovery are "Yes" and "No" -- that's all you need to know. Whether it's alcohol, dope, sex, writing spy novels with zebras as the main characters when you're supposed to be doing more important things, etc., it all comes down to Yes or No. Why doesn't matter in the least. Just Yes. Or No. The rest of it is your own little bullshit mind game. Same deal holds true for a scheduled workout, barring unforeseen tragedies or illness. You either say yes and start warming up or you say no and find some 'reason' why you're not doing just that. "My mother ignored me as a child because she was too busy writing spy novels with zebras as the main characters. That's why I'm not persistent when it comes to my lifting."
Wait a minute. That's from the site the guy the NA guy was looking for. Bad Computer!
Yes. This is all very serious. This lifting weights thing we do. Let's make a promise.
I'll take it all very seriously if you will. There. Here . . .
The two most important elements of recovery are simply the food you eat and the amount of sleep you get. However, it isn't always a simple task to eat and sleep right. Most strength athletes have school, work or family commitments that must be met. We all spend time planning out training programs. We need to spend some time developing a plan for recovery as well.
Strength training is simple: When you train hard and recover you make gains. When I sit back and think of the athletes who consistently make progress, it's always the athletes who train hard and have their life style in order. Take a look back at your own training, wrote Chris Doyle in 1997. I bet the times times that you were strongest, you were eating and sleeping right. Most of the athletes that I work with (Asst. Strength & Conditioning Coach University of Wisconsin) are willing to put forth the effort in the weight room, but it's outside the weight room where the gains are made. You can work your tail off in the weight room, but if you aren't eating right and getting the proper rest, you will flounder.
There are a few simple rules to follow that can help you eat right. One, eat at least three good meals a day starting with breakfast. If you don't eat breakfast, your body is going without any food for up to 18 hours.
You ate dinner at 6:00 p.m. last night and you don't eat lunch until 12:00 noon the next day -- 18 hours without any food! It is impossible to recover on this schedule. You would be surprised to find out how many people skip this critical meal. Make the effort to get out of bed 15 minutes earlier and eat a good breakfast. And for the love of the gods stop staying up so late writing those zebra-spy novels with your mother! You'll be glad you did.
Two, eat five servings from the fruit and vegetable group each day. Take a look at what you've eaten over the last few days and se if you've done this. If you are currently adhering to rule number two then you're doing better than most people. When I talk to athletes about food shopping, I recommend that they buy seven apples, seven bananas, and seven oranges when they go to the grocery store. Try to eat them over a week's time. It may take a conscious effort to make sure you finish them all off. Add two or three vegetables a day and you've attained your goal. Try different fruits too. But maintain the quantity no matter what fruits or vegetables you select.
Three, eat a minimum of 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you have a little trouble doing this there are ways to supplement your diet with additional protein that don't take much time or effort. One way is to simply drink more milk. Four to six extra glasses a day will make a big difference. Another way is to blend up protein shakes made of any combination of skim milk, eggs, peanut butter, frozen yogurt and a few scoops of protein powder. The "Get Big Drink" school of thought.
For some of us who are on a very tight schedule, it is important that we learn how to eat on the run. There are times when you might find it difficult to make time to sit down and eat a meal, much less to prepare it. I suggest that you buy foods at the market that require little or no preparation and have them at the ready for those busier times. Yogurt, applesauce, granola bars, raisins, fruit, pot edibles, cans of tuna, condoms, quick fix protein powder shakes, etc. These will serve you much better than going without or relying on fast food. One last note on nutrition: it may also be a good idea to add a multivitamin to your diet just to be certain.
Do try to find the time to cook your own meals, though. You really can't count on your mother to do this now that she's writing all those novels by herself late at night. Right?
We've spent some time planning our nutrition. Now let's talk about proper rest. Everyone is different when it comes to sleep. Some people can get by on five or six hours of sleep a night and still make gains. Most of us need the standard eight hours or more to ensure proper recovery. It's important for you to know your limits and get your sleep. If you find that you're a drinker and it's cutting into your sleep time make a point of drinking faster and getting to bed earlier. Yes, this is all very serious stuff we're dealing with.
Too many people are out there looking for answers to their training problems, when they should just be getting more sleep and rest. Don't be afraid to go to sleep earlier than you might think is normal.
Plan your weekly schedule ahead and be sure you get enough sleep. If you can find time for a nap whenever you can fit one in you'll be surprised to find how much difference it can make to your training. Naps do wonders for recovery, even if they're as short as 20-30 minutes. Just lie down, set your alarm, shut your eyes and relax. A few naps a week can add up and boost your recovery rate a great deal.
Organization and discipline will be the keys to improving your recovery. By planning your recovery and sticking with your plan, you will make gains. Give these ideas a try and remember that gains are made outside of the weight room as well as in.
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There. Now just LEAVE ME ALONE!!!