When you’re focusing on losing fat, your first instinct is probably to exercise more and eat differently. Both are important, but few people realize that what they do outside the gym and kitchen matters too. Your recovery routine, or lack of recovery routine, can either support your fat loss goals or interfere with them.
Recovery is everything you do outside of the gym that impacts how well your body recovers from the stress of the work out. The recovery process is actually the process of gaining muscle. Workouts tear muscle, so that, during the recovery process, you can build them back, stronger than before. Recovery is also when you’ll be burning most of the fat you lose, to fuel yourself.
You need your body to recover fully from working out in order to build muscle and burn fat. Otherwise, you interfere with your fat loss goals and increase your odds of injury and losing your gains. Parts of your life that are important to proper recovery include hydration, sleep, proper nutrition, how you move at work and how stressed you are by your everyday life.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways people roadblock themselves when it comes to fat loss.
What People Get Stuck on When It Comes to Fat Loss
Some of the biggest factors that people get stuck on when it comes to fat loss are overtraining, not training within the correct parameters for their body, and not giving themselves enough recovery.
Ideally, you should be seeing a 1-3% increase in strength and output with each workout. If you aren’t seeing these results or feeling stronger, you’re not giving your body the recovery time it needs. Also, consider your every day routine and how easy it as after a long day of working to grab something to eat on the way to the gym or before you go workout that’s likely highly inflammatory – or perhaps you don’t have time to eat at all. In this case, your body is running on empty and as you’re doing high impact exercise, you’re putting your body into a catabolic state (breaking down muscle). The goal here is to put your body into an anabolic state instead, where you’re building lean muscle.
Something else people get stuck on with their workouts is the idea that they need to do more intense or longer workouts in order for them to be effective. Realistically, any workout that lasts longer than 45 minutes increase cortisone production and trigger your body to hold onto fat. Also, the type of exercise you do should be based on your body’s parameters (muscle mass, etc.) and an 8-12 rep range.
It also can’t be stressed enough how important it is to get the proper amount of rest and sleep! A minimum of seven hours of unbroken sleep each night is critical for both neurological and physical recovery. If you find that you can’t get at least seven hours of sleep, consider reducing the time that you’re working out, however keep up the intensity of those workouts you are able to complete.
Additional Recovery Tips for Fat Loss
Remember that during your rest period is when your muscles have the best chance to recover. Here are some additional recovery tips to aid in fat loss:
- Depending how you’re training, switch up muscle groups so that you’re working different muscles and allowing others to rest properly. For example, designate one day for lower body muscle groups, and the next day upper body muscle groups. This allows you to workout back to back days and give the muscle group you’re not working enough time to rest.
- If you don’t feel at least a little sore after your workouts, you may not be pushing yourself hard enough. If you are feeling sore, give yourself one or two days off in between your workouts to allow your muscles time to recover. Our general rule of thumb is three heavy workout days per week, every other day.
- With regards to nutrition and supporting your recovery, it may be tempting to reward yourself with a post-workout treat. Bad idea! A small amount of sugar from fruits, for example, after a workout can help with recovery but you also need protein and amino acids as well. Aim for a post-recovery meal within 20 minutes.
- Stay in touch with your body. Don’t take from a system you don’t have and bully yourself through a workout. Be kind to yourself, recharge, and you’ll be ready to tackle your next workout with more energy!
For more key tips on recovery for fat loss, please check out our video!
Join us at Push!Fit to speak to a personal trainer who can give you the advice you need. Those who have hit a fat loss plateau, or who didn’t know how important recovery was for weight loss, will definitely benefit from tailoring their recovery process. Get in touch with us today!