- It is an important concept to realize that we do not actually improve our strength & fitness levels during a workout. Our fitness levels improve after the completion of your workout. The workout simply provides a stimulus to improve.
- The amount of volume and the type of work performed during the training session will dictate how long it will take for strength & fitness levels to improve.
- Your initial fitness levels will also dictate how long it will take for your fitness levels to improve (i.e. the higher your work capacity, the quicker you will recover from workouts).
- The graph below shows Hans Selye's GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome) principle. The Alarm Stage occurs after a training session. During the resistance stage the body is recovering, and if the body can not recover back to baseline levels, the exhaustion stage occurs. The exhaustion stage indicates that overtraining has occurred.
- The goal of training is to time training sessions accurately so that the next training session coincides with the Supercompensation stage. This term means that our strength & fitness levels have increased above our initial levels.
- If insufficient recovery time is not given between training sessions, the athlete's strength & fitness levels will drop further below baseline and more time will then be needed for the athlete to supercompensate.
- If too much recovery time is given between training sessions, the athlete may have already passed the supercompensation phase and the original training session would have been pointless.
- Other factors that impact recovery are:
- Stress (school, boy/girl friend)
- Nutrition (skipping meals, fast food fixes)
- Lifestyle (heavy drinking, late nights).
The research on massage shows some mixed view points, but there is some evidence that shows massage plays a vital role in recovery for athletes. The following are some benefits of the use of massage into a training program:
- Increased Blood Flow which can in turn can cause an increase in the oxygen transport capacity
- Removal of metabolic waste products through increased blood flow
- Reduces muscle soreness post exercise by rapidly reducing the concentration of lactate in the muscle cells.
- Increased lymphatic drainage
- Increases feelings of well-being through increased concentration of endorphins
- Physical relaxation
- Relieves pain through heating effect. By relieving pain, associated muscle spasm and tension are also relieved. Heat also increases the blood flow of blood by dilating the capillaries and arterioles.