This is more than a phase; it is a lifestyle adaptation. Recovery and regenerating is so important that there are various steps to take for the success of the program. The first step is planning. It is first because it is the most important. Following planning is methods for both active and passive recovery.
Just like you plan your training, you need to plan your recovery. This is daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. The following are things to consider in each time frame:
Daily: naps, eating, stretching and relaxation methods that relax you (music, massage, etc.)
Weekly: off days, active recovery days and nutrition
Monthly: off days, vacations and nutrition
Yearly: vacations and training cycle start and end dates
If you take the time to plan your rest you are more apt to take it. I have found that we are in such a rush to do everything and with our country and economy in the state it is now in 2009, people are scared to take time off and rest because it may show a lack of care with your job. The federal and state governments are cutting budgetary spending on government and state officials, which includes all of you. I understand that some of you maybe worried about a job position. I would only ask you to do what you think you can do for vacations. If you are unable to take one for an extended period of time, make certain that you focus heavily on the daily, weekly and monthly recovery.
It is important to distinguish between active and passive recovery. Each will be defined below.
Active: active recovery is either performed on a training day or on a designated recovery day. If it were performed on a training day then it would consist of an active stretch, opposing movement group or other activity that is different from what you are currently performing. For example, if I was doing a set of squats, my active recovery could be doing a set of push-ups right after. I am working an opposing movement group yet still reaping the benefits of recovery for my lower body. If it were performed on a designated recovery day then it would consist of activities that get you moving in a safe and healthy way. For example, it could be swimming, biking or playing a sport. They key is to be and stay active. It is a time where you get to just have some fun.
Passive: passive recovery is most always performed at a non-training time. This could be pre or post workout, off days or vacation. These are things like sleeping, napping, massages, stretching or any additional therapy needed. This is a time for complete rest. You will have a passive recovery every day at some point when you sleep. You should shoot for up to 8 hours of sleep. There have been studies done that show when you allow your body to incur up to 8 hours it has the opportunity to fall into what they define as a “deep” sleep. This is a state that shuts you down completely and lowers all conscious levels in your brain. You can always stretch everyday as well as a form of passive recovery. Massage therapy and any other therapy is key to the process. Soft tissue work, which your muscles, tendons and ligaments are, is so undervalued. Foam rolling is one thing; massage therapy is a whole other thing. Finding a good soft tissue massage therapist is like finding a diamond in the ruff. If you find one, tell all the team members about them and set up a time to see what they are like. It is well worth it. I would get something done on a weekly basis for optimal performance. If that is not feasible, then have it done as often as you can. Usually if you set up a regular time and day with your therapist they may give you a better deal on pricing.