This past weekend, we both had the opportunity to continue our education and learn from the brightest minds in the Health and Fitness Community. Carmela stayed here at FE to host 50 trainers and therapists from the Bay Area and beyond being introduced for the first time to Z Health and the power of training from a neurological, brain-based lens. Andy traveled to the Z Health headquarters in Phoenix to add more “tools to the toolbox,” and learn about the neurology of building Strength and Suppleness. Along with learning tons of new techniques and ideas, I was also reminded of this foundational “technique” that is paramount in any fitness endeavor: Recovery! You’ve probably heard us say it before, but we all need reminded- “You don’t get stronger/better from the exercise itself. You get better from recovering from the exercise.” Every one of our members are here working hard and training so they can reach goals and be better than they currently are. Every training session, whether here at the gym or on your own, has the goal of improving (at least it should if you’re a member of FE!). At the basic level, we are introducing a new stress to the body that the brain has to pay attention to, learn what to do with it, and adapt so that the next time that stress introduced you know how to handle it better. Every exercise should make you move and perform better. The key after that is making it stick! Why aren’t the gains you make in your mobility and training “sticking” the next day? It could be a problem with your recovery and not giving your body the proper environment to recover and adapt. One of the key ingredients for optimizing that environment is sleep! Most of us are good at spacing out our work outs to avoid overtraining as well as getting good supplements and recovery nutrition. But, in our increasingly busy culture, “63% of Americans say their sleep needs aren’t being met during the week.”(see the linked article below) Why is sleep so important? For one, it’s our body’s “reset button” to allow for rest and recovery from the day’s activity. But also, new research is showing that sleep is when memories from the day’s activities are being formed. If we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t allow the brain and body enough time to recover and “download” those memories of better movement and performance. There are multiple studies and resources that tend to agree that for the typical person, a minimum of 7 hours is needed for adequate recovery. But, I’d argue that if you’re under a lot of stress or in a hard training cycle, 8-9 hours may be more ideal. If you can’t get that much at night, maybe scheduling in a nap would be beneficial and refreshing. In our culture of “do do do,” we tend to lose site of the fact that we sometimes need to step back and reset so we can “do do do” better, more efficiently, and maybe even more. And in health and fitness, it’s not necessarily how much you do as much as what you do and how and how well you do it that matter most- including recovery!

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