Principles of Training – Active Recovery
I’m a big fan of working out every day. The only way I can do that without over training is by doing what I call active recovery workouts. I definitely did not invent this, but I don’t know what other people call it.
Basically, an active recovery workout is any type of movement session that does not hinder your body’s recovery process. For me, this includes flexibility training, tai chi, Thai Yoga, massage, and anything else that does not tax my nervous system.
Instead of exhausting you, these types of workouts actually speed up your recovery process. Moving gently, getting massage, and stretching all increase blood flow throughout your body, delivering nutrients to the parts of your body that need to recuperate. Softer workouts can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the body to relax.
We all need balance. By including a variety of workouts, soft and hard, in your weekly routine, you can workout 6-7 days a week. Most people think this is absurd, but if done right, you can maximize your personal level of fitness and wellbeing.
Intensity, Frequency, and Volume
Training intensity – The amount of effort you put forth in your workout. It is how hard you are exerting yourself relative to your max effort.
Frequency – How often you workout.
Volume – How much exercise you do; e.g., 500 push ups is more volume than 200 push ups.
These 3 variables need to be balanced. HIgher training intensity and volume means you need to decrease frequency. Higher frequency; i.e., daily training, means you need to decrease intensity and possibly volume.
These variables should be manipulated in order to protect you from injury and over training. If love high intensity training but still want to train 6-7 days per week, check out my post on active recovery.
Be patient. Calisthenics training involves learning progressions, and many of these progressions take years to learn. This is because it takes years for your body to become prepared to handle the load placed on your joints in many of these movements. Your muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons need lots of time to become strong and flexible enough to handle muscle ups, planches, handstands, etc. There is no shortcut. The fastest way to achieving your goals is smart and consistent training. So be patient. According to Coach Sommers, connective tissue take 10x longer to regenerate than muscle tissue. When you start conditioning your joints, expect it to take 6 months to a year before you start to see any big improvements.
The internal conflict of both wanting to and not wanting to exercise is very common. Both athletes and nonathletes alike wake up everyday and doubt themselves. They feel lazy. They run through the thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they have set out to do. This is a classic battle of the mind and body. What those who quit don’t realize is that exercising is easier than the alternative.
The alternative is stiffness. It is being weak and in pain. It is diabetes. It is heart disease. It is dying young. It is not have resilience. It is not being who you want to be.
Exercise is more than a physical practice. It is also a mental practice. Sticking to your training is part of your training. Overcoming the desire to be lazy and quit teaches mental toughness. It teaches you perseverance. You don’t need to have discipline to start training. You need to start training in order to develop your discipline.
It is said and believed by many that nothing worth having comes easy. In fact, 26th President of the United States, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” In a way, I agree with Teddy. The greatest things in life do require hard work, discipline, perseverance, talent, resilience, and other noble human character traits. But in another respect, I disagree.
There is a lightness to life that the highest level of people adopt. They live life effortlessly. That does not mean that they do not have discipline or that they do not work hard. It just means that they enjoy the process. They laugh at their mistakes. They change what they can and accept what they cannot. They embrace the blood and sweat of their labors, waking up and racing toward the challenges of the day.
No one can wake up and choose to suffer over and over again for their whole life, and even if they could, who would want to? Some will argue that pain is the price of greatness, but I argue that your journey to greatness must be enjoyable, otherwise, what is the point?