The Biggest Factor in Adding Strength, Size, and Driving Progress

So you want to become better than you are right now… you want to grow… you want to get stronger… you want to level up and progress… What do you think is the most important factor that will see you achieve all of these? Probably the training, right? The hard work, the long hours, pushing your body beyond it’s comfort level. That’s half right, as it’s required… but it’s NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR

Recovery is. If you saw THIS ARTICLE, you’d know that out of a week, our training takes up a maximum of 10% of our time. So I ask the question, what are you doing in the other 90% of your time that week…

We only ever see athlete’s and people training hard. It’s everywhere on social, on our tv’s - we never see the behind-the-scenes of what goes into getting them on the field. And we never see all the work it took for them to get to where they are today - there’s no such thing as an overnight success

If you truly want to better yourself, truthfully answer these following questions:

- Are you eating well to fuel your body, and give it the nutrients it needs to recover and grow…
- Are you getting a least 8 hours of uninterrupted, solid sleep each night/day...
- Are you stretching and doing your mobility work…
- Do you ever take “mental time off” to look after your psychological health…
- Do you ever use visualisation to create a mental picture of where you’re trying to go…

If the answer is no to some of them, then you’re missing out on the biggest factors to progress, growth, and the reality you wish to create for yourself

When you train and play your sports, you’re essentially breaking your body down in what is known as catabolism - you’re doing damage. And it’s these recovery principles above that aid in the growth and recovery phase, what we call anabolism. And when they’re all aligned well, your recovery will be better, which in turn allows your training to step up a gear and progress to be made
 

Sleep

During sleep, the body’s main purpose is restoration. Our lymphatic system clears all toxins, and a hormonal cocktail of human growth hormone, testosterone, and a myriad of others are released to aid in recovery and restoration of our muscle tissue
 

Nutrition

And for this restoration during our sleep to be at its prime, the body needs to have the nutrients available to it. This is why a balanced diet with a surplus of energy is required - as without these nutrients and extra energy, the body has nothing to use to recover and build. Listen to your body, and enjoy your food
 

Stretch + Mobilise

Stretching & mobility work helps to reduce muscle soreness and increases the range of movement of joints (thus decreasing injury risks in most instances). It also helps to “bring the athlete down” after training, activating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & relax) which lowers heart rate and breathing rate to promote recovery, and aids in mental relaxation
 

Visualisation

Visualisation is powerful beyond comprehension, and is far too complex to delve into here. Every elite athlete uses visualisation in their preparation for games and events, and in the book “The Answer” they delve into studies where players who simply visualised a task, and never performed it, tested just as well as those who physically practiced it daily. Seeing and feeling how you should move, how the ball leaves your hand, how it meets your foot - whatever is specific to your sport. That’s power…
 

Meditation

Meditation is beginning to make waves within our society, and it should be. Scientifically, it’s been proven to reduce stress, improve sleep, increase recovery times, increased focus and ability to deal with pain, and  it strengthens our immune system. People think this is trying to keep the mind calm, but instead, it’s “training” in itself - as it’s being mindful and always bringing the mind back to the breath when it begins to wander. It’s not about stopping the mind from wandering per se, as it always will. It’s about being mindful to bring it back and focus solely on the breath. The app Headspace is a great introduction to this fascinating and beneficial task
 

Key Takeaways:

- Get your 8 hours of sleep each night
- Eat in abundance, viewing food as simply fuel for the body that will help you recover
- Ensure you stretch and mobilise each day, giving more time to “trouble spots”
- Visualise your performance, specifically how it feels, and see yourself succeeding
- Try meditating, and see what it does for your stress levels and sleep

Nutrition, TrainingNick Maier