Intensity VS recovery

This year I’ve been struggling to figure out where to set my intensity level.

‘Common’ bodybuilding thinking would have you put 100% effort into your workout and have you staggering out of the gym about to fall over. However, if I doing this leaves me fatigued and putting in a sub-par effort the next workout. Therefor my 100% for the next workout is more like 50% and a slippery slope begins where I spend my whole weekend in bed or grizzling at my loved ones.

I often leave the gym thinking “I was really focused during each exercise, but I don’t feel destroyed” and wonder if I should go back for more. I consider training for hours, then I realise that the people who where in the gym when I got there and are still lifting when I leave haven’t made any visible progress. Not what I’m after.

Generally this whole thought process happens when I’m going down the stairs from the weight room, so this is easily solved. Run stairs until the feeling passes. It’s 3 flights, not air-conditioned so 6 or so repeats and I feel both energised and ready for a big feed. Lately I’m discovering kind of energy-systems work seems to not reek so much havoc on my recovery, leave me mentally charged and sweating for hours. Not a workout I can do before work!

I’ve been musing over the whole energy/recovery/intensity/fatigue thing for a while and know that the only way I’ll improve the amount of output I’m able to perform is by improving my recovery protocols. An entire Sunday dedicated to kids DVD’s just shouldn’t be all I can manage. Lucky for me, I am able to build muscle pretty easily so I’m going to try something new. 1 day off, 1 day on and just work through my program. On the OFF days I’ll do a HIIT session and either foam roll, or sauna for 20 minutes. I’d love to get this all out of the way before work but the post-HIIT sweat factor is gonna prove interesting.

I’m interested in how other set their intensity and recovery level so please leave comment on your thoughts. Does everyone else really “smash it” in the gym everyday?

About Michelle

Michelle is passionate about showing people how easy it is to prepare food that is healthy and packed full of flavour. She has just completed her first recipe book, Healthy Helpings: fast food for fit physiques. She began sharing her love of food in 2007, when she produced two series of the online cooking show ‘Healthy Helpings TV’, making fast food healthy and healthy food fast. In 2008 she competed in bodybuilding as a novice figure shaping competitor and she remains passionate about physique sports. She was a 2009 Australian Masterchef semi-finalist, and contributes articles to Oxygen Magazine Australia. Michelle lives with her husband on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, where she loves to search out new ingredients and food ideas from local farmers markets, health food shops and ethnic grocers, and take her two dogs on long rambles through the vineyards. Find out more about Michelle's book