We can put so much effort and hard work into our training, consistently showing up to workout and straining to get that extra repetition, but then put nowhere near that level of concentration on following up with proper recovery methods.
And that’s a bad idea, because proper rest and recuperation is at least half – maybe more – of the health and fitness equation.
You can’t break yourself down with intense training and not allow what it takes to recover well from the session, because you’ll not only compromise your progress, you could very well get backtracked and lose some of your gains.
It is true that we can likely do more than we think, and handle and adapt to more frequent training. It’s actually very helpful to train as often as you can tolerate, especially at different intensity levels. Strength and skill training benefit from as much regularity as possible.
The difficulty is in understanding what your level of tolerance is, and figuring out how much frequency and intensity you can perform consistently without burning out physically and mentally.
The mental part of all this is probably the most important. You may be able to handle difficult and exhausting training well from a physical standpoint, but then the strain and grind of it all starts to take its toll mentally. That can turn into the symptoms of dreading your workouts and a lack of motivation for something you couldn’t wait to do just a couple weeks past.
Call it nervous system fatigue, or more simply, just getting “burned out”. Whatever the case, you need to be aware enough to take a break, or your body will force you to take that break.
Below, I’ll outline my favorite techniques for ensuring proper rest and recovery, and I encourage you to experiment with these and figure out what will work best for you.