An Easy System for Quantifying Recovery

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Noah Providence | August 19, 2015 | no comments |

An Easy System for Quantifying Recovery

We’ve written before about monitoring your body and understand when too much is too much…the idea of training smarter, not harder. With so many different classes available at Wildcat, I think it merits bringing the topic back up by providing you guys with an easy system for monitoring your training AND your recovery to ensure that you’re able continually grow and develop in all aspects of fitness. We give you the tools; it’s up to you to build the house!

We’ve written before about monitoring your body and understand when too much is too much…the idea of training smarter, not harder. With so many different classes available at Wildcat, I think it merits bringing the topic back up by providing you guys with an easy system for monitoring your training AND your recovery to ensure that you’re able continually grow and develop in all aspects of fitness. We give you the tools; it’s up to you to build the house!

Training vs Recovery

A simple idea that is difficult for many to grasp is this: gains in strength, endurance, speed, etc. are realized OUTSIDE of the gym, not while you are actually training. Think back to the General Adaptation Syndrome that we touched on previously: when you train, you are actually “damaging” your body’s systems. It’s only when you cease training that your body recovers and, ultimately, adapts/improves. Your improvement in any one discipline is a direct culmination of your training, your recovery, your nutrition, etc. Puzzles have many pieces, and fitness is no different. Let’s take a closer look at better quantifying both sides of the training/recovery coin.

Training and RPE: Quantifying Intensity

Rate of Perceived Exertion, or RPE, is a scale that is used to measure the intensity of your training session. There are several different ranges and several different methods, but the simplest way is to think of it on a scale from 1 to 10.

rate-of-exertion

You can use these numbers to quantify your intensity in a given workout. So say, for example, you come to the 5pm WOD and it proves to be rather difficult. In your training log (which you all have), you would give that day’s session an RPE of 7. Yes it’s a bit subjective, but the idea is sound. You’re quantifying the effort that you put into that day’s training so that you have a way of tracking the intensity of your work over a set period of time. Stick with me here.

Recovery Scores: Accumulating All the Points

Recovery is a bit trickier because we don’t have the same black and white quantification system that we see with RPE. That being said, creating your own system isn’t really that difficult. To make it even easier, I’ll provide one for you!

recovery

It’s simply a matter of assigning point values to different recovery protocols based on the benefit each one of those protocols has on your overall recovery. So say, for example, after you attend that 5pm WOD you spend 20 minutes foam rolling (2 points), go for a 20 minute walk after dinner (2 points), take a hot/cold contrast shower before bed (3 points), and then get 8 hours of sleep (4 points). You’ve accumulated a daily “recovery score” of 11 points. Yay you!

Putting It Together

If you’re starting to think of this as a game, you’re not wrong! We’ve now got two scores for our day: a training score (RPE=7) and a recovery score (11). Let’s extrapolate that across a week:

table1
We now have an RPE and a Recovery Score for every day of the week. Let’s go one step further. Given those numbers, we now want to find a WEEKLY AVERAGE for both RPE and Recovery. In this case, we get:

table2

So with a weekly Intensity score of 5 and a weekly Recovery score of 7, we can conclude that our athlete is training hard and recovering even harder. A perfect scenario!

Let’s take a look at the flipside…

table3

We’ve kept weekly intensity the same across all sessions, but now we’ve decreased the recovery. You can immediately see how continuing on this sort of path will lead to an increased risk of injury and burnout. Unfortunately, a lot of people fall into this category. If you’re one of the folks that rushes out after the workout and pays no attention to recovery, well…

Conclusion

By using this sort of system, you’re essentially taking your training to the next level by accounting for daily recovery. It also helps you become aware of the level of intensity that you’re putting into each session and has the added benefit of providing you with easy recovery options that pay huge dividends when done correctly. It really couldn’t be any simpler. By focusing 100% on training and sacrificing recovery, you’re only delaying the inevitable. Don’t wait until an injury happens to deal with it. Train smart, recovery smarter, and enjoy an injury-free ride on the gains train.

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