Whether your goal is performance or aesthetics, sleep is crucial. While we sleep the body repairs itself. Not getting enough sleep can interrupt this process, leading to increased soreness, early onset of fatigue and decreased effectiveness of your training sessions. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.
Making sure your body is hydrated is one the easiest yet most effective measures you can include in your training to improve general health and performance. Almost every biological process that occurs in the body requires water and for this reason, these processes may be hindered if you are dehydrated. Females should aim for 2.5 litres and males for 3 litres per day, plus one extra litre per hour of exercise.
3. Work Rate – Quality over Quantity
There is an old expression: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” This should be the foundation for your training design. Try to make gradual improvements each session and keep the work rate at a challenging level. You don’t get bonus points for taking three hour Sunday strolls, so ensure that you finish training sessions feeling like you’ve worked.
4. Cut out alcohol
Along with being toxic to the body and leading to a possible headache the next day, alcohol can also decrease your metabolic rate, inhibit the production and release of recovery hormones, cause dehydration, and decrease muscular strength. Cutting back on alcohol can help injuries heal faster and lead to faster athletic improvements.
5. Stay mobile to keep injuries at bay
It’s usually much easier to manage and correct a small “niggle” than a long term injury. Therefore, the key to managing injuries is to have the best systems in place to prevent them from ever becoming issues in the first place. Completing a light warm up and adding a stretching session after training may be the difference between constant “aches & pains” and an injury-free Christmas season.
6. Rest days and recovery sessions
Sometimes we need to take a step back and listen to our bodies, particularly if we are feeling run down, injured or sick. Completing a brutal training session when you are sick often makes things worse. If this is the case, swap your training time for accessory sessions. For example: completing extra mobility work or including a recovery session in your program, such as water submergence at the beach.
7. Quality food for performance
When it comes to training-specific nutrition, it’s common for people to carb-load for performance and drink protein shakes for recovery. However, one of the most overlooked areas of nutrition is micronutrient intake which refers to nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Improving your intake of micronutrients can improve your recovery, reduce soreness, and increase strength. These are all found in fresh and high quality foods such as fruit, vegetables, meats and nuts. Include more of these foods in your diet to give your training and performance a boost.
Frank Bartone is a Remedial Massage Therapist at Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre who also works as a Personal Trainer.
If you would like to speak to Frank Bartone or one of our other practitioners about keeping your health and fitness over the holiday break, please feel free to ask a question, contact us or email us at: