We’re going to begin a new series in the blog that covers some really effective ways to speed up your recovery from a workout. Using these techniques can lead to significantly greater results for you in the long run. A fast workout recovery allows you to make much greater progress in the same amount of time, for three reasons:
"1. More Progress in Less Time - By waiting less in between bouts, you squeeze in more training in the same time frame without interrupting your progress"
"2. A Higher Set Point - A fuller recovery raises your ability level, allowing you to push further ahead in the next bout than you could otherwise"
"3. A Stress Hedge - A fuller recovery preserves your body against the long term cumulative stresses that can lead to injury and burn out"
And even though there are countless types of sports, martial art styles, and training modalities, the biology underlying effective training and recovery is governed by the same principles, no matter who you are or what you’re doing.
Prerequisite: Without Effective Training, There’s Nothing Worth Recovering From
But before we can talk about a fast recovery from a bout of training, we first need to make sure that your bout of training was actually worth something. So the first part of this series is going to be an overview of the fundamental principles involved with triggering the adaptations your body needs to reach your goal without going overboard.
When we’re talking about adaptation and recovery, we need to be very specific about what we mean when we say “training.” If your ultimate goal is the mastery of a sport or a martial art or some other physically demanding skill, then we need to distinguish between three kinds of training that many people just lump together:
"1. Skill acquisition (learning and practicing)"
"2. Physical conditioning (building the body you need in order to perform your skills at a competitive level)"
"3. Simulation – this is when you actually perform, and your training is tested. Here, you fight, play the game, sing the song, do the dance, or whatever you’re up to."
Skill acquisition is like installing new apps on your computer. Those apps enable you to do specific things you weren’t able to do before, like jumping for floating coins or killing pigs with projectiles.
Physical conditioning is more like a system wide upgrade to that computer – adding more memory, jacking up your CPU power, installing a better operating system -- all things that improve your experience with every single app you’ve installed.
Physical conditioning goes beneath all of your skills and improves them all at once by improving the systems they rely on. It triggers adaptations in nerves, muscles, connective tissues, and bones that improve things like:
Then, because of a beautiful principle known as conversion, when you start drilling your target skills again in practice and simulation, you do so with more speed, agility, strength, and whatever else you trained. Your nervous system will quickly make the upgrades for you.
Your nervous system's recovery from mere practice happens on a completely different timescale than your recovery from conditioning, which is why it can be foolish to lump them together.
The reason it’s important to make these distinctions is because the recovery from physical conditioning occurs through very distinct pathways and timescales. Recovery from the neurological challenge of learning new patterns is really just about taking short breaks and getting a good night’s sleep; healing microtrauma to physical tissues is a totally different ballgame, and that’s why it can be foolish to lump them all together.
Now, there’s a whole science building up around peak performance and mastery when it comes to rapid skill acquisition, so I’m gonna save all of those juicy details for the next series. For this series, we’re going to lay out the principles you have to employ in order to get results from physical conditioning, and then look at the tools and techniques available for accelerating your recovery from that conditioning so that you can get your upgrades more quickly, with less downtime.
How Upgrading Specific Abilities Gives You An Edge
The best way to reach your target goal isn’t repeatedly trying to do it all the time.
If you want to be great at football, the most efficient way to get there is not merely to play a ton of football--even though it’s probably more fun. For example, Jerry Rice was one of the NFL's greatest receivers of all time. Those who knew him all said it was because of how hard he worked, but what’s significant is how little of that hard work was spent playing football games. In fact, it's estimated that he spent less than 1% of his training time actually playing the game. Instead, he and his coaches designed his training to work on his specific needs.
He ran on trails with uneven terrain in order to train his ability to instinctively pivot and shift the direction of his momentum. He trained essential movements in a per-fatigued state in order to simultaneously improve his endurance and accuracy, which gave him legendary 4th quarter advantages once everyone else was tired and sloppy.
Strategic physical conditioning is a fantastic way to create a customized blend of superior abilities that will give you a significant edge over anyone who is merely practicing and simulating.
Rice proved what many elite coaches and athletes know: strategic physical conditioning is a fantastic way to create a customized blend of superior abilities that will give you a significant edge over anyone who is merely practicing and simulating.
But to get the most out of physical conditioning, you don’t want it taking up all your time. You’ve got skills to master, and the more time you spend being sore and tired, the less peak time you have to drill everything else. It’s your nervous system that learns, and significant stresses to your nervous system hamper your ability to learn new things and remember old things, so it’s vital that you maximize your gains from conditioning and minimize your downtime. And that’s what part one of this series is all about: optimizing your conditioning so you can get the greatest results with the fewest side effects.
So, let's dive in with our first article: Recovery I: Effective Workouts That Minimize Your Downtime.
If you want to skip ahead to learn which Dit Da Jow will be best for your recover needs, you can go straight to Which is the Best Training Formula for Your Training Goals.