As the Spabreaks.com team set out on their second day of a 100 mile walk for cancer support charity, Look Good Feel Better in the lead up to the first #bekindtoyou Women’s Wellness Week , Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa ’s personal trainer, Chris Young , tells the tells them what they can look forward to at the end!
Think of all the great athletes you saw compete at the Olympic Games last summer; what is the difference between us and them?
The difference between us (normal people) and them (world class athletes) is that they can take a lot of punishment. They train very hard; they also train often, and for long periods of time. In order for all this to work they make sure that they recover from their sessions.
Now, you’re not an Olympic athlete but this walk is no easy thing; this is about as tough as charity walks get, and you need to recover from your sessions almost as much as an elite athlete does.
At this point the educated amongst you probably think that I’m going to start bleating on about ice baths and massages, but not so fast. The two most obvious recovery methods that we can all employ are an appropriate nutrition , (which I covered in a previous article) and adequate sleep, which I will discuss now.
Let’s get the basics covered; sleep is where your body recovers physically and mentally from the stresses imposed upon it. It amazes me that so many try to skimp on sleep, often to the stage of basking in the glory of “only needing four hours a night”. At some point I believe this kind of behaviour catches up with you, usually in the form of illness or injury, and often at the most inopportune of times.
Please don’t make this mistake; it would be a great shame if you were to get the “Olympic Flu”, which is what athletes dub this phenomenon when they get ill before a major championships. Elite athletes are always on the edge of getting injured or ill, you should not be.
Sleep well; the more sleep the better. On days where you have done long walks I would recommend eight to ten hours of sleep, with seven to eight hours on other days. If you have a day or two where life gets in the way and you only manage four to five hours a night I would recommend trying to catch up as soon as you can by getting ten hours.
You could be thinking “If sleep is so good for me why don’t I hear more about it?” The answer is because it is free; no one is making money off sleep hence the lack of media interest. Except from me and my colleague Nick Ritchey, who did a podcast on subject.
Now that sleep is dealt with we can finally discuss other recovery methods. For those of you who can, regular massage is wonderful for recovery and relaxation. The massage needn’t be a scream inducing sports or shiatsu type massage, just something to relax you, maybe with a little extra work on the calves and IT band – your therapist will know where this is.
Less costly but almost as effective is hot/cold treatments, known in athletic circles as the Contrast Method. This can be done in a spa such as Pennyhill Park where I run the gym, by alternating 10-15 minutes in the hottest sauna you can handle with a 30 second dip in the plunge pool.
If you have no access to a spa then don’t panic; the cheapest but admittedly least fun way of getting the benefits of the Contrast Method is simply by alternating hot and cold showers. Try two minutes hot and one minute cold three times each for a refreshing effect, although bracing might be a more appropriate word.
And that Dear Reader was Recovery; I hope that it makes your training and the walk itself more fun and enjoyable than it otherwise would have been!
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