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Recovery and Maintenance Planning
“Recovery and Maintenance,” We hear these terms often in just about every area of our lives: from improving your fitness and athletic performance and handling stressful professions to maintaining your health with a strong immune system. Typically, most people in the military / law enforcement fitness and health genre ask about how to get stronger for Fitness Tests while working long and stressful hours. While recently, many military members and police officers ask about recovery and maintenance plans to better perform at their job in combat situations.
Here is a sample email from a Marine who asks a familiar question, “Any advice for what should be staple supplements in addition to a healthy diet when looking to gain size, strength, and aid in recovery?”
Yes, many of us want to get bigger, stronger, and faster AND have energy to live another day. Part of the answer to the question above is in the question, but true recovery comes in several critical areas and if one is lacking, your fitness, nutrition, maintenance, performance training plan and overall health can be in jeopardy of yielding less than optimal results. Life in general, hard workouts, and stressful professions involved in life and death situations create a rush of stress hormones that the body has to deal with in order to create a healthy, living organism. The effects of a few of these hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) create immediate survival mode energy. It does not matter if you are worrying about not being able to pay a bill to having bullets shot at you, the same stress hormones create alertness and energy to deal with the problems, and regulate heart rate, but these hormones can also be detrimental to your recovery and wellbeing if not dealt with properly. For instance stress / stress hormones:
Food – aka Meal Plan, Diet or whatever you wish to call it. What you put into your body matters for mind and body performance, as well as your ability to recover. Foods rich in protein/good fats (amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids), carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, anti-oxidants, multi-grains) all are required for you to healthfully deal with balancing out the stress hormones in our bodies. Lack of eating regularly increases cortisol as it puts a physical stress on the body. SEE OTHER OPTIONS.
Some Great samples of Protein / Good Fats:
Hydration – Being dehydrated increases cortisol levels and stresses the body.
Also electrolyte imbalances will create fatigue and an inability to properly
function mentally or physically. After sweaty workouts - (ring sweat
out of / salt stains on clothes type of sweat) I like to eat a can of
chicken noodle soup (Noodle O's personally) as it is loaded with potassium
(3-4 times that of a banana plus protein / carbs). Those are my only
supplement I use regularly. Water is the best source of hydration but
the body will pull water from nearly everything that enters it.
However, foods / drinks high in caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol all
negatively affect your hydration levels as well as increase stress hormone
levels. Limit these - eliminate if possible. /\ /\
Sleep - The best training plans will not work if sleep and rest between workouts are neglected. Without adequate sleep (eight hours a night), there is not enough rest for muscle cell growth and repair. In fact, when you sleep, growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis in the muscles occurs IF you eat foods with protein during the day. For adolescents especially, sleep is critical as growth can be impaired if quality and quantity of sleep is lacking.
Lack of sleep can also affect your mood and increase hormonal stress levels which will have a negative impact on performance. Now, one night of missed sleep is not going to have many negative effects on your performance, but several days in a row or a few weeks of interrupted sleep combined can lead to similar symptoms of a stressed out / over-training syndrome.
In the military or law enforcement professions, sleep may not occur at regular intervals and the quality may be lacking. But those who work hard during the day or exercise will have an easier time falling asleep compared to those who do not.
Exercise or hard physical work: Exercise and physical work are great OUTLETS for stress to be released from the body. The body produces the fun hormones also during exercise called endorphins which relieve pain / stress and make us overall relaxed. Workouts also produce stress hormones in order for the body to react and survive hard / long workouts. If you do not physically RELEASE these stress hormones by post workout meal planning, they will interrupt your sleep and long term health.
Clear your mind of intrusive thoughts - One trick is to go to a "happy place" and breathe deep / slow breaths when you are bombarded by stressful thoughts that may or may not occur or have occurred in the past. Your body will react to your brain imagining negative thoughts and keep stress hormones racing through your body. Reverse the trend and think relaxing thoughts of a favorite place, time, event and revisit that. If that does not work for long, write down your to-do list / what bothers and get it out of your head and you will be less stressed.
RECOVERY - In order to maintain health / fitness levels or build upon current levels you have to rest, eat properly (good food), and balance your workouts with periodization programming. Thoroughly understanding cycles of peak performance, maintenance, and recovery are critical to your long term health and longevity.
See The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program created for people who have completed physically stressful and challenging training courses like Ranger School, Q course, BUD/S, etc. This program is tough and gets people back into lifting, PTing, cardio workouts (both running and non impacts like swimming) in order to recover and get back to fighting shape after the beat-down from extremely difficult periods of training. Feel free to email me if you have any questions at email@example.com
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author
certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the
contact Stew with your comments and questions,
Books, eBooks, DVDs
NEW - Tactical
Fitness - Featuring the Dirty Dozen | More
Info | Book only
The Navy SEAL Weight Training Workout | More info | Book only
Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness | More Info | Book / DVD
Maximum Fitness - CrossTraining | More Info | Book only
The Special Operations Workout | More Info | Book only
The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT | More Info | Book only
The Combat Swimmer Stroke Video | More Info | Download MP4
The Pre-Habit Workout | More Info | DVD only
New Fitness APPs: Navy SEAL, FBI, Pushup. Pullups | More Info | APPS
The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks / Books:
* NO EBOOK READER REQUIRED | READ WITH ADOBE ACROBAT READER
Fitness for All Levels of Fitness
Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach | More Info | eBook only
The Busy Executive Workout Routine | eBook only
The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts