Ever heard of the Adaption Response?
While we are training (or kiting) at high intensity we are breaking down our bodies by causing micro tears in our muscles (amongst other things).
Once we leave the gym or get off the water we must allow time for the Adaption Response to do it’s work. It’s during this time our body repairs the damage done during training and rebuilds itself stronger.
We need to ensure this period is long enough that our body has the time to rebuild fully but not too long that all the gains we made are lost.
The crucial thing to take away here is, the time when we are actually getting fitter and stronger is during this adaption period, AFTER we’ve been to the gym or been kiting.
Interestingly the same is also true for our mental performance. Sure you may land a new trick that session, but it’s during the adaption period when the new neural pathways are created or reinforced, allowing this skill to become effortless.
During this period we are best just allowing the body to do it’s thing as another intense training session before the body has had time to fully adapt to the last one can cause a downward cycle which becomes increasingly difficult to escape.
The problem comes that for some people this adaption period can last for days.
Days when you shouldn’t train again, shouldn’t hit the water again.
Days when you’re watching your mates have the time of their lives while you’re walking around like a 90 year old.
Compare this to the person who can recover in a matter of hours who can be on the water all day at full intensity and then be ready to do it all again the next day.
This doesn’t just help you have more fun and more time on the water…
The person who can train hard, incorporate the gains from that training and be ready to train again faster will be able to get out more often, perform at a higher intensity and be…
Constantly improving at a much faster rate than someone with a slower recovery time.
It also means they’re not the person sitting on the beach watching their mates have the time of their life while their legs feel like concrete and they can barely walk.
The crucial thing to realise here is…
The body does not respond solely to training, it responds to recovery from training and it is this part that is missing from so many programs.
In short you improve during the adaption period or when you’re recovering.
Does that mean you should spend your whole life on the couch recovering?
Remember a relevant stimuli (doing something which challenges the body and mind, attempting a new trick or lifting a heavier weight are good examples) is necessary to provoke this adaption response.
We need to make the cycle of stimuli/recovery as tight as possible, be constantly challenging the body and incorporating the gains of that challenge as fast as possible, so we are ready to challenge the body again, and thus can improve more rapidly than the person who needs a longer recovery period.
The less time you spend recovering the more time you can spend doing.
For kitesurfers it also means we can make maximum advantage of periods where the wind blows for several days in a row or we’re on holiday. Knowing that we can push it on day 1 and still have energy to burn on day 2 and onwards.
Ok great, so how do we make this cycle tighter?
Lets take a little detour here into inner space.
The immune system is the bodies defence system against infectious organisms and other invaders. When you overtrain you may experience something called an immune crash.
This happens when we’ve been exercising at such a high level that we have outstripped the bodies (and more specifically the immune systems) ability to recover. In short we have exhausted our adaption energy, which is the energy of the body to bounce back, consolidate training and learning gains and be full of energy to perform again.
At this point the immune system waves a little white flag, and can no longer effectively defend us against invaders.
While this is at its heart an issue with the immune system, we feel this in our bodies as well. This is why some days you feel full of energy and look forward to your workout while others you have to drag your self to the gym.
On the latter days you are probably suffering from a suppressed immune system. On these day it’s often better to turn round, go home and live to fight another day whilst focusing on recovery so you can bounce back stronger tomorrow. Rather than force it and cause yourself more harm, possibly risking illness.
One of the big watch words in the exercise and diet space at the moment is inflammation.
Inflammation is simply the immune systems response to damage and harmful things entering your body. When you cut your finger that red swelling that appears the cut, that’s inflammation and a sign the immune system is doing its job.
Remember when we exercise we are in fact damaging the muscles, that soreness you feel after a good workout, that’s the body immune response creating inflammation in the muscle so it can be repaired.
So if inflammation is a good thing why has been demonised so much?
The answer is simple, “The dose makes the poison.”
A bit of inflammation especially in the case of exercise is a good thing, in fact it is a crucial part of the healing and adaption process, the problem comes when we are chronically inflamed.
If the food you are eating is causing inflammation in your gut and you’re also drinking too much alcohol, whilst smoking and suffering from mental stress you’re going to have a LOT of inflammation. Too much for the immune system to deal with at one time. If you then add exercise stress on top of this the whole system might just fall over.
At best it will greatly lengthen the time spent in the adaption period
So what we need is a body that has generally low levels of background inflammation so it can deal easily with the inflammation we are knowingly going to create through exercise.
The more efficient the body becomes at dealing with inflammation, the quicker it gets at repairing muscle and the more exercise we can handle before an immune response is triggered, the shorter our recovery time is, and the more quality time we can spend doing what we love!
Which is after all what all this is about.
See you on the water,
I’ve spent the last 12 years putting together a FREE kitesurf specific workout to give you more stamina to stay on the water longer, get injured less, recover faster, get rid of any aches and pains and shift those extra kilos, all specific to kiting and designed to help you improve you kitesurfing when you’re off the water, you can download it here >>
Did I mention it’s FREE! 😜