Recovery is definitely tied for the most important factor affecting performance in the gym and out in the arena or on the field next to practice/training itself.
No Training + No Recovery = Don't Bother Showing Up No Recovery = Poor Performance No Training = Poor Performance Recovery + No Training = Poor Performance Training + No Recovery = Injury Training + Recovery = Optimal Performance
It's pretty simple..... if you don't train/practice you can't keep improving your performance..... and if you aren't adequately recovering you won't perform optimally. But in between training and performance lies progress...... this is where many athletes and everyday trainees get a little confused..... why you ask?..... because you are in fact able to keep seeing progress if you keep training but don't necessarily recover adequately.
Even in the absence of adequate recovery, if you continue to train you will see progress and this is exactly what many of us find ourselves doing, especially when we have a goal that we are chasing and life's other responsibilities are just getting in the way. Our recovery time by default becomes the only loser left to sacrifice. For the everyday trainee this type of behaviour is furthered by the fact that we don't encounter many competitive performance tests that can sometimes blast a shinning light on the importance of, and any lack there of, recovery, by way of a very poor performance. If you have a bad day in the gym or in your weeknight basketball league you simply chaulk it up to a bad sessions, no big deal, there's no rhyme or reason, sometimes you just can't lift as much or play as well, right? Wrong! If you're training and practicing, you can and should be lifting more and performing better. The only thing that's really holding you back is your lack of recovery. This ignorance of the importance and need for adequate recovery usually leads to continued training and continued but simply slowing improvements. Sprinkle in an injury here or there and top it off with the regular adoption of pre-workout supplements and other ergogenic aids and there you have it! A day in the life of most trainees. It's all too sad and true, myself included and a prime example of someone who so egregiously ignored their own recovery and ended up with 2 torn biceps before the age of 35 and the hormonal profile (see HPA Test from @migraineprofessional) of a "white walker" (excuse the GOT reference, it's the best one I can think of at the moment, with Game of Thrones having just ended).
So in conclusion, if you are at all interested in making true and unstoppable gains, staying as injury free as your body will permit, and performing like a true Cleaner (for an understanding of a cleaner see Relentless by Tim Grover) when it comes to game day - then become a fanatic for optimal recovery! Just like you want to learn and do everything to perfect your bench press, or your tennis return, or your 100m sprint time, start learning and doing everything to perfect your recovery so that the next time you train, you can squeeze out every drop of progress and performance from your hard work.
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