The Importance of Recovery and Sleep


Recovery Time and Sleep

Life is busy and hectic, and sometimes I just want to rest. Since this challenge has some pretty significant stakes, I’ve been trying to give 100% throughout. I’ve also come to the realization that I’m not twenty years old anymore (something that my nieces and nephews are quick to point out). It doesn’t take much to put me out of commission for a day or more if I hit it too hard in the gym. My old, and out of shape body needs recovery time. It also needs sleep.

With the daily life responsibilities, neither of these things are guaranteed. My kids aren’t too concerned with daddy’s lack of sleep, and they sure as hell don’t care that my ass hurts because this morning was leg day. When an 18 month old wants to be picked up, she’s going to be picked up. Hell hath no fury like a toddler scorned. So, let’s go ahead and add one more degree of difficulty to scheduling time to workout: Time to recover and sleep.

What’s the problem?

Some might make the argument that neither of these are issues, just go to sleep or rest between workouts. Well, that’s easier said than done. My wife is a nurse manager at an ER, which means she has to work at least two clinical days a week, and they’re never the same two days. This means we have to coordinate gym time with her work schedule. Some weeks she might work Tuesday and Thursday, which would give me a break every other day.

Most weeks though, she’ll have two days in a row, and when life really wants to make my life hell, she’ll have a nurse call in and have to work a night shift. This can make it almost impossible to stick to a routine. I’ve previously discussed the importance of a support network and scheduling workouts, and this still holds true for my crazy weeks. It just means that I might be hurting for 4 days in a row instead of keeping a concrete schedule. On those days I might spend a little more time working out at home, but I still try to make sure I am doing something.

Recovery Plans

When I say recovery, I might not be using it the same way a certified personal trainer does, but what I mean when I say recovery is to let certain muscles rest and recover between hard workouts. This might mean I do light cardio after a tough day at the gym, or mean I spend a day or so doing some fat-guy yoga or stretching. I try not to let myself go any days without working out, but I do try to make sure that I give my body a chance to heal. Like I said, my workout weeks may vary, which means so do my recovery days. For me, I just have to remain flexible, and do my best to make sure I’m doing what needs to be done to stay on track.

Sleep

Dreaming about successFor any parent with young kids and a full-time job, you know that sometimes sleep can seem like an elusive unicorn. One of those mythical creatures that may or may not exist. I’ve always kind of lived life with the idea “Sleep is for rich people.” Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that. But, when working out, or doing any real training, your body needs sleep. This means you might have to sacrifice other hobbies or activities that will negatively impact your sleep.

I rarely watched TV before this challenge, but I sure as hell don’t watch TV now. I’ve had to reevaluate my priorities in order to find time to go to the gym (which is typically before 5am). What’s more important: watching the newest episode of Game of Thrones, or going to be early so I won’t skip an early morning workout? Unless I want to surrender to Jared, and write a fat check at the end of the year, sleep wins out.

Success is about sacrifices

There have been a number of nights that I’ve been in bed at 8:00 pm. While I’m not a big TV person, I am an avid reader, and typically average 5 or 6 books a month. Since I’ve started this challenge, I’ve had to cut back there too. Instead of giving myself an hour or more each night reading before bed, I may only get 20 or 30 minutes. Once again, it’s all about priorities.

I’ve read multiple articles that suggest one of the most important components of effective fitness programs is making sure you’re getting enough sleep. To get enough sleep, I have to make some sacrifices. Making this challenge so public is either one of the best or worst ideas ever. I’ll either find motivation to be successful, or I’ll fail in a very public way. I’m not too big on failure, so that means I’ll be making some sacrifices over the next year. I’m ok with that though. It’ll be worth it when I crush Jared in front of his friends and family.