How do you Recover Outside of Training?
The first installment of this series was basically me telling you all that I love to drink. Well, not entirely. I enjoy a good drink, unlike some of you all who prefer to drink fruit-flavored stuff spiked with alcohol or beer that takes like water ‘cause you are watching your figure. I recently just got done competing in my last “main meet” of the year. Meets take a different kind of toll on your body, and sometimes your soul, which I think requires a different kind of recovery.
Back when I first started powerlifting, I followed David Allen’s suggestions to a “T” when it came to training. I’ve always been raised to take a week off after a meet. As the years have gone on, this amount of rest has not been enough. I still remember the first bout of “powerlifting depression” after a meet. After reflecting I think this was due to it being my main focus day in and day out, so I decided to extend my “week break” for almost three weeks! I was not going to touch a barbell or even work out. I wanted to “be normal” and just goof off. This mindset has not entirely changed now, but I approach it differently. Some of you may find this beneficial for yourself when loved ones do not understand your passion for the sport.
Post-meet recovery for me now ALWAYS involves a trip or vacation. I am not just talking about a day trip, I’m talking about an extended weekend or a full-week trip to be with family and loved ones. Last year I took a 12-day trip to Japan after my “Main Meet.” (I ended up partially tearing a Hamstring trying to work out there, a great reminder to JUST STOP and let your body be normal for a second.) This year I have loaded my schedule post-meet. I flew out to California to compete. When I returned, I took clients all week but didn’t even as much move a weight, unless it was for a client. Then I hopped right back on a plane to visit my girlfriend in Indiana where I could enjoy her company and not think about work or training. Then 4 days after landing back in Memphis, I hopped another plane to New York to be with my family for Thanksgiving. For all of these trips I DID NOT follow a strict diet nor did I train on a schedule.
Our bodies can be pushed to insane limits, but your body is magnificently designed and needs to recover. This recovery does not happen overnight. I am not telling you to throw training and nutrition out of the window, I am just saying give yourself a break. This is a hobby for 99% of us unless you are making $1000+ per competition. (And if you are reading this, chances are that ain’t you.) So enjoy family and friends, take a big hop-skip-and-jump away from training every so often, and see how well your body reacts.