You see it time and time again in weightlifting. A new athlete comes out of nowhere doing some real impressive lifts in training. Then following it up with big lifts at competition after competition. What is their secret? Simple, hard work. They put in countless hours day after day just trying to work harder than the person on top.
Then you notice something with their performance, it plateaus or drops. It seems like they’re injured more and more often. They’re still working their butt off but are seeing little to no results. They’re missing probably the most important piece of the puzzle, rest. As hard as you work you must rest harder.
Rest and recovery is the most important part of training and often is the most overlooked. It’s more than just getting the proper amount of sleep. It’s more than making sure you stretch after each workout. It’s more than just proper nutrition throughout the day. It’s more than just taking a protein shake after each workout. It’s all of it! Rest and recovery, when done properly, should be throughout your entire day.
It should also be said that you should rest smarter. So many people put bare minimum efforts into certain recovery methods that they have little to no affect. Don’t just sleep in later to get your full 8 hours, go to bed earlier and get yourself on a proper sleep schedule. Don’t just touch your toes and call it a day of stretching, find your weak and problem areas and work them day after day with stretching and mobility work. Don’t just buy store brand protein and supplements, get some natural and high quality supplements that will do your body some good and aid in your nutrition and recovery.
Probably the most overlooked and often frowned upon recovery method is the rest day. People often feel that taking a day off is going to lose you something. When actually you probably have more to gain from that day off than lose. I believe that rest days should be programmed into our weekly schedules so our bodies have at least one day to recuperate from the stress we’ve put them under in training. And don’t be afraid to take an unscheduled rest day either, listen to your body cause it’s your greatest ally.
I am by no means an expert on all things rest and recovery. There are many avenues to getting good and proper rest and what I’ve mentioned are just a few ways. Do your research and find out what works best for you and get your rest on. I can say that competitive weightlifters, and any other athlete for that matter, trying to make it to the next level have to put in hours upon hours of work. With those hours we beat and break down our bodies. We have to give ourselves the best opportunity day in and day out to perform at our top level every day. Proper rest and recovery gives us that chance. So work hard, rest harder, rest smarter and achieve greatness.