Anvil or Hammer


Posted in Rest and Recovery by Mike on May 11, 2007

Something that I think has been brought to all of our attention by Stephen’s arrival at TS and his own blog is that Recovery is more than just a day off. In fact, if you are doing this thing right, there are no days off. Even if you don’t do it right, there are no days off.

You can’t tell your body, “ok, we’re not training today so don’t respond to what I am doing”. Everyday, in every way, we shape our bodies.The effects of sitting on your tail feathers at a computer all day are probably one of the most common topics of the day. T-nation recently dead an article on it. Tons of cash is thrown at the problems of repeatative stress injuries every year.

With that in mind I hope to change my recovery process for the coming months. I want to train at a higher volume but lower intensity. To do that I need to recovery better. The way I see it, there are two aspects to recovery: What you do and What you eat.

  • What you eat

    • Supplements – I take a multivit, fish oil and glucosamine condritine. When the condritine runs out, it’ll go away, I found no benefit. The fish oil and multivit seem to help though. I was taking one caesin protein shake per day. I think that will come back. I considered, althugh briefly, creatine. I have used it in the past and felt like it allowed me better endurance and recovery. It seems like everytime I change my socks there is a no study: Creatine helps recovery, Creatine helps weightloss, Creatine cures cancer, Creatine did my laundry. Still I just can’t bring myself to go back on what is basically a bodybuilder supplement. I think instead, I’ll try to get more red meat. Of course that calls into question the whole protein shake thing. It’s a good question too. I’m gonna go with the protein for now, but it’s “on the bubble.
    • Diet – Over the last few months I have had relative success playing with diet. I think I’m going to stay with that. I’m gonna stick to a bunch of smaller meals and not larger. I’m going to stick to a protein centric diet. A lot of guys are carb haters these days. I can’t quite get on that bandwagon. I think carbs are important too, for one thing, they tend to come along with most the fiber you consume. Without getting into details, if you eat protein, you better eat fiber. So I’ll keep my cut oats and my flax seed, if anything I may try to figure out how to get more flax into my diet; fiber and Omega-3s a gift from the angels.
  • What you do

    • Heavy training – It’s pretty much been established that I can’t leave heavy training totally behind. That doesn’t mean it’s gotta be the majority of my training. Heavy training the way I do it isn’t conducive to my goals at the moment. This is also what I am recovering from most of the time.
    • Volume training – this is a generic term I just made up. It has conditioning type training as well as strength endurance type training. This is where I hope to spend most of my time. This kind of training requires a little different recovery than heavy training. This kind of training though, breaks down the muscles more. This means the cumulative effects have to be watched.
    • Recovery training – This is really what I am talking about here. This is most forms of yoga/pilates/piloga as well as walks and the easy bodyweight stuff ( I know how hard bodyweight can be but things like a few push ups and sit ups aren’t that hard). There was a time when this was a bigger part of my program. I did yoga often. Now I just walk, which is kind of recovery but doesn’t really get he whole body going the way that yoga does. I don’t know that I have the time to bring power yoga back, instead I am thinking about Yoga for Regular Guys or I could work one of Pavel’s programs.
    • Nothing – This is what my current recovery program consists of. Frankly it doesn’t work. If anything, it reinforces any problems I may have. This is what I hope to get away from.

The package deal
So what this long and winding post is getting at is that I plan to have real recovery, real diet, real plans to help me go from one workout to the next. It will encompass the total package. In short, there is no “off” day, just recovery.

10 Responses to 'Recovery'

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  1. Chris D said,

    Recovery…now that’s an interesting topic. I consider recovery sort of a day off, but I’m going to try and do some more rolling and such. I’m sort of embarressed to say this, but I’ve been taking dance lessons (ballroom) and honestly I think they have helped me recover a bit and feel great for the next day of lifting. This week no dancing…I’m a bit more sore than last week. Go figure.

  2. Mike said,

    Nothin’ wrong with a little dancin’ if you start wearing you shirts unbuttoned to the belly button and lots of gold, then we’ll have a problem :-). It’s probably a great recovery activity, a little blood flow, a little movement, sounds ideal.

  3. Steve said,

    Recovery is a particular emphasis in my program design. Virtually all my workouts over the past 6 months have focused on 90% of 1RM lifts or sprints at 100%, or plyometrics. The consequences of ignoring recovery is injury or illness.

    This is a new way of training for me. As cyclist I was in the gym and on the bike for a combination of 15 hours a week of constant movement and exercise. If you calculate the time I’m performing lifts or sprints now – it’s probably about 15 minutes a week.

  4. Chris D. said,


    Funny you bring that shirt stuff up. I was reading about the dress for one dance and it said for guys: pants. And I thought…no thank you…not in my current shape!

    But yes…it is a good recovery or so it appears. I don’t get stiff.

  5. Chris Rice said,

    Mike – First Good Luck tomorrow.

    Second – recovery – pretty basicly we are either breaking down or building up at all times. If you consider the hour or a bit more workout as the break down, then the other 23 hours a day is the build up phase. Sleep and nutrition are a given – but there is so much more that can be done. What is best of course depends a lot on the type of workout you’re recovering from. This is an involved topic that most of us neglect for the most part – to our detriment of course. We should probably spend as much time planning our recovery as we do planning the workout – but do you know anyone that does?

  6. Scott Styles said,

    Recovery is the secret every lifter is looking for. It’s painful, time consuming, and boring. No wonder we all keep searching. It is much easier for me to work hard for 1.5 hours 4 times a week than it is to prepare 21+ healthy meals and get a full nights sleep every evening. Forget about making time to “just” stretch. If I’m not in pain or actively trending towards it, I won’t do it.

    I notice you don’t have soft tissue work on your “what you do” list. It helps. I know you tried the trigger point therapy and it didn’t click for you. Give foam rolling or a fitball a try at some point. That stuff makes me feel good.

  7. Mike said,

    hmm, soft tissue work. I honestly didn’t think of it. However, lately I keep wondering when I can afford another massage…Can anyone recommend a book or DVD on the topic?

  8. Scott Styles said,

    I’m doing it on the cheap so far, working off the 5-10 pages in the book Stretch to Win and the short instruction sheet from perform better here:

    Click to access FoamRoller.pdf

    I think a 1′ by 6″ round roller is all you really need. I’m liking the 7″ fitball though, it makes hitting certain parts of my hips much easier. It’s all for sale here:

    I bought the fitball DVD, it’s ok, but I don’t feel like I got any more out of it than I did from reading the couple pages in the Stretch to Win book.

  9. Mike said,

    I got a 1′ foam roller and printed the pages you pointed to. I have played with it but will try to do more tomorrow. the fitball is pending at this point.

  10. Scott Styles said,

    Here’s another of the free articles on it:

    Click to access FoamRoller_Exercises.pdf

    The exercise for the thoracic spine is my favorite. I usually get a couple pops and cracks out of it.

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