October 24, 2003, Newsletter Issue #160: How to rest and recover in order to improve fitness

Tip of the Week

Rest is a vital part of any fitness program. Of course, you`ve got to do the work in order to validate this point, but lack of rest can be just as harmful as lack of exercise. While the latter leads to a much more obvious result, obesity, the former will lead to less noticeable--yet every bit as damaging—problems, such as chronic fatigue syndrome. These examples are the extreme ends of the spectrum. In the middle lies the far subtler and exceedingly frustrating condition, know as the plateau.

Recovery 101

According to the bodybuilding duo once known as the Barbarian Brothers, "there is no such thing as overtraining. There is only undereating, undersleeping, and failure of will." While this somewhat absurd-sounding statement is purposefully silly, its backward nature actually makes it easier to understand. No matter how hard you workout, you need to eat right and sleep enough or it won`t do you any good. Its use of vague terms, like "undereating" and "undersleeping" further drive home the point, because if you are training very hard, 8 hours of sleep and 3 squares a day might not cut it. You`ve got to give your body what it needs, which is simply enough food and enough rest to accomplish the job of helping the body recover from its latest workout. This may sound simple, but the difference is the fine line between what makes one athlete break down and another a champion.

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