Summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we didn’t have our first day of 70+ degree weather until July, and now it seems only a few moments later that Labor Day has passed. It’s almost a necessity to plan every weekend with activities when you live in an area with such short summers. We have to make the most of every minute!
I was able to squeeze in quite a bit, and I even wrote about some of it in my Take A Hike articles, see Columbia River Gorge – Dog Mountain and Crater Lake. As you can imagine, between weekend adventures, work, working out, personal training, creating content for my websites, and spending time with friends, I’ve been EXTREMELY busy!
As for my workouts, even though I’ve maintained a consistent schedule of 5 to 6 workouts a week, I feel like I’ve been on maintenance mode as opposed to making any real gains in strength or conditioning. I previously wrote about periodizational training and planning your workouts, and in an upcoming post you will be able to read about how I incorporate those ideas into my training program over the next ten weeks.
Between my active summer and my next cycle of training, I’m going to take what’s called a recovery week.
What’s A Recovery Week?
A recovery week is some downtime between training cycles that allow your muscles to heal from the wear and tear of training. It usually involves some light-activity exercise such as hiking or playing sports, light cardio, or any activity that gets your blood flowing but that isn’t too stressful.
You see, over the previous weeks of intense training, your muscle fibers are worn out, broken down, and have small tears in them. A week off from intense training allows these muscles to repair themselves and even grow!
Intense workouts also stress your neuromuscular system and immune systems. It goes without saying that resting these things are good for your mental health and physical health.
You might be thinking, “why do you suggest doing light cardio or anything at all if it’s so important to rest these muscles and systems?”
- Doing some activity, warming up your muscles, and getting the blood flowing is important during this time, because vital amino acids and nutrients, important for growth and repair, are delivered throughout your body by your blood stream.
Recovery Week Is Not
Recovery week is not a time to sit on your butt and do nothing, eat potato chips, and throw out everything that you’ve been working on in your quest to be your best self!
It’s Time For Yoga!
I like to do more yoga than I typically do for my recovery week activity. After practicing yoga, I feel more calm and relaxed. This is a direct nourishment to my neuromuscular and immune systems. Also, the asanas are perfect for heating up my body, loosening up tight muscles and tendons, and getting that nutrient-rich blood flowing to all areas that need it!
Yoga is always a part of my weekly training regimen, but unfortunately, it has been the one workout I’ve neglected this past summer due to my busy schedule. I haven’t skipped out on it entirely, but there were several weeks where I didn’t fit it in.
I’m going to spend this recovery week with 5 days of yoga and 2 complete rest days. I will find balance and work on focus, relaxation, and gratitude!
I’m going to take advantage of the remaining moments of nice weather and do my yoga practice on my back patio in fresh air and sunshine, but I encourage you to get your practice in wherever possible, whether in a class or with a DVD, or your own relaxing place.
Do you have any questions or comments about recovery weeks, yoga, or training? I’d love to hear about them! Please post in the comments below and participate in my growing community on Facebook!