3 R’s: Rest, Recovery, Refueling

Are you thinking, “I wanna get fast. I wanna get fit. I wanna get strong.”?  You start training day-in and day-out. Whatever your training method is, you hit it hard. You work and work and work but you never see the results you want. One of the biggest contributing factors to this is you are not resting, recovering and/or refueling well enough.

Rest is essential to gaining strength and endurance. Your muscular, nervous, and endocrine (hormonal) systems need the time to recharge their batteries, and rest is the best way to do that. Your muscles only rebuild and get stronger on your rest days. It takes 24-48 hours for our muscles to repair themselves. Our nervous system can get fatigued by over training. Only when we rest does our nervous system have a chance to “reset.” The hormones released during training, like endorphins and cortisol, are needed for a successful training session, but without the proper rest and relaxation, these hormones continue to be released, never allowing the body to return to homeostasis. Rest can consist of taking a day off from training, sleeping, or just a low impact day like taking the dog for a walk.

Recovery is often related to rest, but looks a little different. Here, we want to do the proper things to recover the muscles (and our mind) from out training sessions. Most of the time, this means stretching, doing tissue work such as self-myofacial release with a lacrosse ball or PVC pipe, or getting a massage. We always hear that you shouldn’t just lift heavy, train hard, and then go about your business. This is very true. Your body needs some “down time” before going back to your every day business. Try spending 5-10 minutes post-workout stretching, lying in “corpse pose” (flat on your back, arms by your side, palms up, heels touching but feet relaxed), or schedule a regular massage session with a therapist who knows your sport. The body needs recovery to prevent getting overly sore, tight or immobile.

Refueling… I can’t tell you how many times people fail to do this right. After a workout, our bodies are craving protein to rebuild muscles, and quick! Refueling with a small amount of clean food within 30 minutes of finishing your workout will do wonders for your training gains. We are talking primal here so when we talk about refueling post-workout we typically aren’t talking a protein shake with lots of milk or whey, and definitely not soy. The best source of refueling you can find is a great mix of lean, clean meat (turkey, roast beef, burger patty etc.) and a small amount of sweet potatoes. Mixing the sweet potatoes with a little bit of unsweetened applesauce is super yummy. There are some cases where no fuel post-workout can be considered but start with this first and see how you feel.

If you are looking for some gains in your training, especially if you have hit a plateau, remember the 3 R’s and you will see progress faster than you imagine. Rest, Recovery, and Refueling are essential pieces to proper training methods and achieving your fitness goals.

Sam’s Progress After 2 Weeks of Paleo

Sam at Work

Sam Jimenez is one of the four subscribers currently doing a 30-Day Paleo Challenge together, and gracious agreed to give us an interview yesterday, at the two-week mark of his challenge. His progress is incredible, and I am so excited to share them with all of you to inspire you to take the step back in time with your diet and try Paleo.

Start weight: 214 lbs

Weight after 2 weeks of Paleo: 204 lbs

Weight lost from 2 weeks of Paleo: 10 lbs

After three days of eating Paleo, Sam noticed he was waking up earlier than normal, without an alarm, and with energy! How many of you would like to sleep better after only three days of a diet change?!

Sam also had gastritis and the beginning of a peptic ulcer before starting Paleo, and says that he has had NO acid reflux, or any stomach pain or cramping since the first week! His frequent burping is also gone.

Sam with Pizza

The occasional cheat is OK!

Sam has not been a Paleo Angel, though. He has had three large cheats (ex: Pizza for dinner), and four small cheats (a couple of beers while watch the Marquez v. Pacquiao fight). This just goes to show you that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to get all that junk out of your system MOST OF THE TIME.

Sam says that he still has cravings, but that they are not as desperate as he thought they would be. He did not remove all of the foods he cannot eat from his house before starting the challenge, so he stares at things like peanut butter (his guilty pleasure), and jelly beans on a daily basis. Despite “not usually having any will power,” Sam has refrained from snacking on these non-Paleo treats… quite a feat!

As for exercise, Sam has done around 30 minutes of cardio 3-5 times a week. We are still talking him into joining Chef Carlos for cross-training in the mornings ;)

The most exciting part is that yesterday his family came to visit him, and noticed that he looked different! Having someone notice a change is one of the most encouraging things that happens during the first few weeks of Paleo, and we are so happy that this happened to Sam so soon, especially from the people he loves most!

We asked Sam if he had any questions for us, and he had a good one:

What happens after the challenge?

We told him that just because the challenge ends doesn’t mean you’re done. It means you get to decide your own commitment level to the diet based on your lifestyle and your goals. However, as Sam’s ideal weight is 180 lbs, we encouraged him to try to stick with maximum two free meals a week. At this level of compliance, he should continue experiencing the same rate of weight loss and other health improvements that he is now, while being able to eat “a normal meal” every few days.

We are so excited to see Sam’s continued progress over the next couple of weeks, and will report back with his final testimonial and results after he completes his 30-Day Paleo Challenge!

Remember, we are a community here, and would love to support each and every one of you through starting Paleo. Feel free to post in the Forum or email us directly using the contact tab on the left of the screen.

Keep up the good work, everyone!

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