How To Maximize Your Performance With Strategic Recovery

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How To Maximize Your Performance With Strategic Recovery

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SUMMARY

Have you ever felt lazy or guilty or unproductive when you tried to relax on the couch? If the answer is yes you are not alone. Our society tries to make us believe that we have to be productive every single second we live and that recovery and relaxing is a waste of time. But the truth is, the opposite is true. Science is so clear about it that the biggest difference between the great top performers and the average is recovery. It is common sense in the world of sports by now that when you had a really heavy workout, you need to give your body some rest to repair. But what most people don’t know (or at least they ignore it) is that the same principle also applies to growing your mind muscle, your cognitive and emotional capacities.

But there is a very simple formular for growth:

Stress + Recovery = Growth

You need to give yourself a stimulus for growth, pushing yourself to the outer boundary of your comfort zone and your skill level and even a little bit further. And if you have done that you get into recovery mode to give your body and your mind the chance to repair, to strengthen the muscles, to strengthen the connections between your brain cells and to adapt. And when you have done this you will be able to push a little bit harder next time when you meet this level of challenge again. This switch between rest and stress on a repeated bases is what we call periodization. You enter the cycle of growth. Not enough stress and too much rest leads to under performance. Too much stress without adequate periods of recovery lead to exhaustion, fatigue and eventually burnout.

Top performers take the concept of periodization even one step further and apply it on a micro and on a macro level to their live… That’s what we call strategic recovery. This means alternating between hard work/stress on the one hand and rest & recovery on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and even a life time basis.

 

    • Hourly: Work for about 50 minutes and then take a rest for 10 minutes (science has shown that this is the best way to get things done at the highest quality)
    • Daily: Engage in rejuvenative activities in the evening to balance the stress and workload from the day.
    • Weekly: Be very serious about the weekend. Take at least one day off every week.
    • Monthly/yearly: Top performers think about what their must-win events over the course of a year are and then plan their vacations accordingly. For example Roger Federer (the tennis legend) skipped the French Open in order to focus completely on Wimbledon. When his opponents were tired and injured coming from the French Open he was at 100% and he won Wimbledon again at an astonishing age of 36 years. That is what strategic recovery is all about: Be aware of your must-win events and plan your recovery breaks accord.

Unfortunately, most people take a rather reactive approach to recovery. When they feel exhausted or tired they start thinking about taking a break. But top performers use recovery as a strategic tool to systematically grow and maximize their performance. This allows them to outperform their peers and competitors by far.

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