As a new personal trainer, one of the most important things I’ve learned is the need to judge is the recovery time of clients. If clients are suffering from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) it will have two effects. Firstly, it will reduce the effectiveness of subsequent workouts due to fatigue and, secondly, it will negatively affect their motivation, as they are unlikely to enjoy the session if they’re sore before you even begin.
The three key areas to consider regarding recovery after a hard training session are nutrition, rest and your client’s programme/periodisation.
Nutrition provides our bodies with the fuel for exercise and the building blocks to repair micro-trauma after a hard session. Post-exercise, we should consume a high GI carbohydrate (CHO), as this replaces the glucose lost during exercise. A great high GI food post-exercise is fruit. During exercise micro-trauma is created within the muscle. Because of this, it is important to consume protein to repair the muscle and aid recovery. If our nutrition isn’t right, then we won’t recover as efficiently as we could.
Rest is an important factor in recovery. When working out, you’re trying to create new stimuli by putting the body under stress to create an adaption in the body. The adaption will take place when you’re resting. Because of this, rest becomes just as important as working hard during a workout.
Good periodisation is important for recovery. I always strive to ensure clients get enough rest between workouts to allow for recovery in the muscles they’re working. For example, if you see a client twice a week and perform a hard session on their legs on Monday and then ask them to perform 30 minutes of hard interval training on the rowing machine on Thursday, they are not going to perform as well as they could.
One of the last lessons I’ve learned is that sometimes the best thing you can do as a trainer is ensure that your client gets enough rest.