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By Columnist Michael Meredith – Athletic Coach:


Photo credit: Chris Fort 2016: The Human Machines –

For decades studies have talked about the importance of rest and recovery in any professional athletes training program and the science is the same for everyday athletes whom still train and place demand on their bodies constantly. Your training itself is only as good as the rest and recovery plan you schedule with it.

There are key elements you must consider in any rest and recovery plan, and you must incorporate these into your weekly training program. When training your body is under stress, therefore scheduling  REST OR ACTIVE REST DAYS into your program is a must. But what does REST AND RECOVERY really mean?  Well, for recreational athletes there are a few considerations you must take into account, these aspects called ‘Key Methods’ allow you to get the most out of your training and your bodies.

The Key Methods

There are five key methods that you can use to give your body the REST and RECOVERY that it needs. These are as follows:


This method allows you to hit the reset button. When you sleep, your bodies go into repair mode. When you’re in a deep sleep cycle, this is when both physically and neurologically your body does its best recovery work. So by ensuring you are getting adequate sleep – 7-9 hours per night – is essential in any training program, especially, if you’re hoping to get the best out of your body.


The human body primarily consists of water. Plus, all of our bodily functions are assisted by water. So, it is vital to stay hydrated to ensure your body operates efficiently. Your body cells require sufficient water to keep your skin hydrated, and your heart and digestive system healthy. The best form of hydration is pure water – a minimum of 2L per day should be sufficient daily to maintain hydration levels.


Quality nutrition is vital in the performance of our bodies. The simplest method of eating is to focus on high-quality natural sources of food. Avoiding highly processed foods and alcohol ensures our bodies ability to process and absorb nutrients and energy that you need for both performance and repair. The famous saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet” rings true. There is no substitute for high-quality, wholesome food. With my athletes and clients, I focus on an 80:20 balance of with them eating quality foods 80 percent of the time and naughty, treat foods 20 percent of the time. Life will always present opportunities to indulge but by ensuring that you keep the bad foods to small percentages will make sure that you don’t undo the hard work of in your training.

Stretching and Mobility

Utilising the foam roller for some self-myofascial release (SMR) is an effective way to keep your muscles loose and supple. Adequate warm up and dynamic stretching methods along with cool down and static stretching will see your body respond more effectively to the demands of tough training sessions. This method is also an adamant element to ensuring you reduce the risk of injury.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (R.I.C.E)

This treatment is a typical first aid method used to treat sore areas in the body that may have been strained or injured during exercise. You can reduce pain and also swelling, and increase the rate of healing by using this method.

R = Rest: Stop training and rest your body so that you reduce the risk of injury.

I = Ice: By applying a cold pack, you will reduce any swelling. An ice pack wrapped in a tea-towel should be applied to an injury immediately for up to 20 minutes, three times a day. After 72 hours, apply a heat pack to the injured area.

C = Compression: Wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage. Apply pressure but not tightly.

E = Elevation: Raise the injured area, if you can, on a pillow. Keep the injured area above heart level to reduce swelling.

All of the methods discussed are “old school” ways of thinking when it comes to recovery and treating injuries, but if these work then keep using them. For the recreational athlete, these methods can all play their role in chasing the 1 percent of improvements that you need. These methods are not just for injuries, using some of them after hard training sessions and races can increase the rate of recovery allowing you to hit the training paddock much faster.

Rest and Recovery is just as vital in any training program as the training itself. You must learn to respect your body and remember it is the only one you have, so look after it.  Train smarter, not harder for better results.

About Our Athletic News and Review Columnist – Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith, Master Personal Trainer, Elite Obstacle Racer, Former Sydney A-grade rugby league player, Runner, and all-round health enthusiast, is the Founder of Aussie Athletes Health and Performance. As a coach, Michael’s philosophy is to focus on health and performance. His 12-week training programs for men and women, include strength and fitness, OCR (or obstacle course racing) and recreational running. Micheal aims to narrow the gap between strength training and aerobic endurance so that his clients’ can balance the two effectively to create the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.

“After more than 5-years as a Personal Trainer, I have helped celebrities, recreational athletes make it all the way to an élite level of fitness. In addition, I have annually sponsored two ‘everyday athletes’ as a mentor. This give one male and one female the opportunity to take on certain events throughout the year under the guidance of the #teamaussieathletes community.”

“My major focus as a trainer is to complete an exercise science degree and turn my Aussie Athletes business into a community based-group that operates out of its own head-quarters. Aussie Athletes Health and Performance is now operated via two of Australia’s premier Fitness First Platinum Clubs in Sydney Australia, these being in Park Street Platinum and Bondi Platinum.

Disclaimer: The author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion form the basis of this column. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


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