While most of the focus when it comes to training is centred around what's happening in the moment, people tend to overlook the importance of what comes once you've completed a workout - namely, the recovery period.
ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth" Vera - fresh from his title defense in Manila - realises the importance of what goes on after a heavy session, and below he offers some practices that you can adapt to maximise your own routines.
1. Ensure you're having qualitu sleep
Sleep is critical to ensuring your muscles recover sufficiently, and it's one part of a training camp that Vera looks forward to the most.
“50 percent of your camp is sleep. If you are not getting quality sleep, then you are not getting quality training,” he says.
Vera stresses how important it is to have the right tools to guarantee the optimal night's rest.
“My best piece of advice is to buy yourself the best mattress you can right now! And every time you can, upgrade until you get to the one,” Vera says.
“I usually take a lot of naps throughout the day, because I only sleep a few hours throughout the night. I often wake up thinking of a match, or am worried about training.”
2. Give your mind a break
Taking a physical break to let your body recover is common practice during training, but equally important is allowing your mind some time to rest.
The mental mind state plays a huge part in training, and Vera likes to remove himself from the intensity of camp to collect his thoughts and clear his head.
"Sometimes I just lay there on the mat contemplating everything from life, like why do I keep doing this? After I gather my thoughts, I shower, then drink a protein shake, and usually head home,” he says.
His favourite way to relax is through the escapism offered by video games.
“I like to sit in my zero gravity chair and watch anime or play “Clash of Clans,” all while my wife is making me breakfast, lunch, or dinner.”
3. Pay attention to your body
Athletes love to push their body to the limits during training for obvious reasons, but it's also critical to recognise when to ease back and allow yourself time to refuel.
“This is something that you have to learn with experience, but it is probably one of the top five things you should be aware of all time,” he states.
“Listen to your body, listen to your coaches. If something does not feel right, stop!”
That said, Vera adds that it's a fine line between pulling back and quitting.
“It is not an excuse to escape your strength and conditioning session that day,” he warns.
“Rather, just pay attention to your body, please. You only have one. And you can only replace your parts so many times.”