You know that feeling after you’ve hit the gym hard or gave your all on a long bike ride or run? It’s the smug satisfaction of accomplishment mixed with general fatigue and the slight sting of sore muscles. If the balance is right, it’s tolerable and serves as a gentle reminder that you did good. But if you’re too sore … to move or work or generally enjoy yourself, then you didn’t recover properly.
Most coaches and trainers will tell you that recovery and rest are essential parts of any strength and conditioning program—perhaps even more important than the lifting itself. Because while it sounds crazy, you don’t get stronger when you’re training. You get stronger while sitting down after your workout, sipping on chocolate milk. You see, recovery must occur before progress can be made.
And if you’re only focused on what you’re doing while you’re working out, you’ll be missing out on all the muscle-building and toning your body does when you’re finished. It’s also imperative for staying injury free, seeing long-term progress and staying consistent with your workouts. You already know to get plenty of sleep and drink plenty of water. But here’s how to ensure that non-fitness time is as beneficial as the time you’re crushing it.