by Thom Van Vleck
I sent Al Myers a message the other day and he said he was on a fishin’ trip. I said, “AGAIN!” I often will call Al, and he’ll return my call and say, “Sorry, I was taking my nap”. I like Al, he’s a good guy. But he’s also a pretty smart guy. Al works hard and when it’s time to rest, he rests hard.
Weightlifters are a special breed. Some might say we were so special we are mentally ill! We do tend to be pretty obsessive and often that’s a good thing. But just as often, we don’t know when to back off (I can’t say “quit”….because we don’t like that word!).
Recuperation is more than sleep, it’s rest, it’s feeling rested and ready. It’s often the lost ingredient in an effective training program. I work at a medical school and the constantly tell the students…”GET MORE SLEEP”. Because more sleep, more rest means less mistakes. A doctor makes a mistake, and people can die. A weightlifter makes a mistake and an injury can result that, at best, will set us back a few days, at worst, end a career!
But it’s more than just your body that needs sleep. Sleep is probably most important for you brain. I would argue that you brain needs sleep more than any other part of your body. Why? Well, science hasn’t quite figured that out yet. But the fact is that the brain does some pretty important things ONLY when it’s asleep. And your most important training tool is you brain. If your brain is not fresh and focused, your body won’t be.
I think that every lifting program should also include how you are going to rest and how long. It should also include the occasional break from lifting altogether. So, every once in awhile you have to remind yourself to back off a little. So, get more sleep. Take a nap. And go Fishin’.