Recovery as the Limiting Factor

We discuss recovery as the limiting factor. How addressing what you do outside the gym affects what you do in the gym and your movement toward your goals.

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Recovery as the Limiting Factor (Toward Adaptation / Your Goals)

The stress-recovery-adaptation cycle underpins the process of training. You stress yourself (the workout), spend time not stressing yourself (recovery), and hopefully move toward your goal (adaptation).

The stress you apply needs to be specific, based on the specific adaptation to imposed demand (SAID) principle. If you want to improve your run time, you should run, not follow a powerlifting routine.

For many people, following the workout program is relatively easy. What often becomes harder is changing habits outside the gym, which can be developed over years and decades.

How much protein are you eating? Are you willing to eat consistently in a caloric surplus? What does your sleep look like each night?

These and other factors limit your adaptation, and so addressing them can help you move toward your goal. Failing to deal with them means you may fail to meet your goal.

Recovery as the Limiting Factor: Maximizing Recovery

As you age, stressful events occur in your life (even if they’re positive, like having a baby), and your priorities change, your recovery (and thus your adaptation) capacity changes.

To move toward your goal and stay healthy, maximizing recovery may make sense.

This area, though, often comes with harder-to-crack psychological underpinnings. On some level, you like to and are used to your habits (even if you are unhappy with where they have led you).

Ensuring you get enough protein and consistently eat high quality foods matters. Prioritize sleep (which comes with a host of habits you can build around sleep). Limit alcohol. Don’t pursue the unimportant and non-urgent in your life.

A new approach to training, especially in more stressful times of life, may need to occur. Building in some autoregulation and not beating yourself up if you don’t do what is programmed (the planned stress) matters.

For example, Niki and her sister were on vacation. They went to the gym and Niki’s sister did her last warm up and it was way heavier than expected. Niki decided to decrease the weight. The win was completing the workout, not beating themselves up about the weight on the bar, and not grinding out reps unnecessarily.

Recovery as the limiting factor is an important topic that needs more serious consideration.




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