Rest Right

THE BIG IDEA: Forget about recovery workouts—and don't shortchange yourself on sleep.
WHY: The benefits of high-intensity training are maximized by downtime. So if you have only a few days a week to train, no problem. Those other days are rest days. "A high-intensity workout is effective for amateurs because they have recovery time built into their week," Carmichael says. What's more, a Stanford University study of collegiate swimmers found that athletes who lengthened their sleep to ten hours a night posted faster reaction, turn, and finish times.
DO IT: Try to commit to three or four very hard workouts each week, then take it easy the other days. If you have a hectic week, dial back the training, not your shut-eye. "Athletes who are putting in high-intensity workouts need to commit to at least eight hours of sleep a night," says Wallenfels.

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