Every one that puts in hard training time get nicked and knacked. We don’t know our bounds of antifragility, and sometimes we fracture ourselves…if only a tiny bit. (Just hope you don’t fracture ferociously, and end up with a seemingly permanent neuroma that hinders even your most basic ability to walk…not that I have any experience with this. Someone save me. Please. )
Everyone needs a Senzu Bean every once in a while. Luckily, Senzu Beans are a totally real and viable solution. They’re mystical, effective, and…green. Word on the street is that they can keep you full for ten days (talk about intermittent fasting magic!). More importantly, Senzu Beans heal even the toughest of physical injuries.
So if you’e feeling beat down, go grab some Senzu Beans from your local Korin Tower. Word has it that they’re rather tough to find though. So here are seven Senzu Bean recovery methods you can use instead.
The no-brainer simple solution to recovery is sleep. And then more sleep. (Perhaps even more.) While sleep is important, I know we don’t live in fantasy land. Sometimes we have to stay up late. Sometimes we have insomnia. Sometime sleep isn’t as succulent and sweet as we want it to be.
And then we get old(er). (Old enough, at least.) Sleeping in becomes something reserved for lazy prepubescent pimply boys. We take pride our ability to survive and thrive on four hours of sleep — a pride that only shows itself after copious coffee, of course.
“No, I can’t sleep in. I have too much stuff to do…like…watch TV…mow the lawn…shop…because if these things don’t get done, the world might explode…might. My health is so unimportant to me, that I have to mow the law to show everyone how much time I’m willing to waste to maintain my social image and societal expectations in an industrialized society!”
If you’re feeling run down, you need to sleep. Sleep is the greatest Senzu Bean we have. So hark back to your thirteen year old self and sleep the hell in. Don’t set an alarm. Just sleep. If you wake up, go back to sleep. And then do it until you’re really ready to wake up.
2. Light workout, long stretch
Blood heals. That’s why muscles and bones heal faster than ligaments and tendons. Blood heals better than rest, really. Blood delivers nutrients to places and escorts nutrients from places. So if you have damaged tissues (hence the need for Senzu Beans), you need blood flow. Laying around like a slug while you’re intestines stop churning isn’t all that great for circulating blood through out the body.
There are two fixes. First, do your warm-up and then go home. Second, have a long stretching session. Do either. Or both.
I prefer the latter: a long dynamic stretching (this one) session followed by a long static stretching session. Breathe easy during both types of stretching. Move the limbs through the range of motion slowly, even during the dynamic stretching.
Foam roll (or use any other self myofascial release technique) here if you want to. I’m not a huge fan of it myself unless you have a specific problem you need fixing. (An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain, for example, makes use of copious rectus femoris SMR.)
3. Match your training and nutrition
The following might seem remarkably stupid to some, but consider it a revelation on my end: insofar as gaining muscle and losing fat, your nutrition must match your training demands. Let me explain
I gain muscle without body fat using The Chaos Bulk. Chaos Bulking is the long card compared to traditional bulking. Where I gain one pound every one-two months, a traditional bulker gains one pound every week.
Translation: I’m always teetering between giving myself enough food, and not giving myself enough food. Translation part duex: my training progress must be slow cooked, not microwaved.
I was once asked about how I would adapt The Chaos Bulk for someone going on a 20 repetition breathing squat routine. My answer: I wouldn’t. If you go on an intense program (that has an aggressive progression), you can’t risk under delivering nutrients. Else, you’ll crash and burn.
Want to gain as much muscle in eight weeks as humanly possible? Demanding training. Demanding nutrition. (Expect body fat though, but the only way to gain as much muscle as humanly possible is to chronically over deliver nutrients.)
Want to play the slow card? Nutrition isn’t quite as predictable. Neither is training progress.
So this Senzu Bean shakes out as such: if you’re feeling beat, take a look at your training and nutrition. Is your nutrition aggressive or passive? How about your training? Do they “match?”
4. Find nature and walk
Buddy Morris once said that despite all of the revolutionary training means and new age gizmos, there’s one method — one Senzu Bean – that is simply unmatched for recovery: going to a beach, clearing your mind, and walking on the shoreline.
But this isn’t feasible for a lot of us, so use my alternative: go outside whenever the weather is nice, and simply lay in the sun for ten minutes. If you live in an urban area, drive somewhere peaceful once per week. Preferably somewhere without cars. Listen to the birds. The wind. Feel the sun. Soak it in. Appreciate it. Feel the Senzu Bean effects.
5. Control stressors
I can tell you not to stress, but you will anyway…I stress even though I tell you not to stress. The key isn’t to pretend like it doesn’t happen, the key is learn how to manage it. In the grand scheme of things, most of our horrible stressors aren’t all that horrible. Just yesterday, there was a tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Peoples lives are now permanently altered from said event. And there you are, complaining that you forgot to pack a banana for lunch. Or complaining that grandma-behind-the-wheel is driving slow.
Our daytime is usually stress-full. That’s just life. So try to make your nighttime stress-free. What can you do to relax? Can you read a book? Can you meditate? I’d even tell you to play video games, but some video games elicit a stress response that’s wildly remarkable to actually being on the field of battle. (I honestly want to say this is why a lot of video gamers are skinny-fat…they’re going through serious stress response juice, all while doing nothing more than sitting on the couch.)
So the Senzu Bean here: relax. Most things you stress over are stupid. And stressing over stupid things is a recovery killer because it interferes with our ability to create perfect storms.
6. Create perfect storms
I’ve learned (from smart people, mind you), that we’ve got two balancing branches of the nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. I’ve also learned (from those same smart people), that the two don’t really work their magic simultaneously. When one is kicking, the other is snoozing. So we have the sympathetic nervous system exciting us, and then the parasympathetic nervous system relaxing us.
Another way to look at it: any breakdown that occurs during sympathetic arousal is something to be addressed by future parasympathetic arousal. So a perfect storm is all about:
- Recognizing the adaptations you want to take place (muscle gain, for instance)
- Corresponding activities that provoke said adaptations with high sympathetic arousal
- Leaving the parasympathetic system alone to recover
Most of us train hard. But then we have small stressful events — we have noise. Our parasympathetic goons are working hard in the name of recovery…until mild noisy stressful events shuts them down. And then when the goons restart, they have to then address the noisy baggage that shut them off, which then takes away from the initial event that needed recovering from.
And since I’m nice, I’m going to give you a small glimpse inside of The Skinny-Fat Solution (there’s a free learning course available if you put in your nickname and email address into that website, by the way) and its Stubborn Fat Loss Guide. It’s equally important to avoid sympathetic arousal with situations that carry adaptations we don’t want. For instance, a sympathetically arousing event that uses fat for fuel is no good…even beyond no good.
So the Senzu Bean: create perfect storms so that your body has a rather unidirectional route for recovery. Don’t idle.
7. Train and fast
I’m going to end on a crapshoot. (I like ending on crapshoots. I did in 11 Training Tips for the Skinny-Fat Ectomorph and it turned out to be one of my greatest pieces of advice yet.)
You’re going to call me crazy for this. I’m calling myself crazy for it right now too. But hear me out.
Normally, I have a Goku-sized rice feast post-training. (Protein rice pudding always gets me.) And for those that know my ethos, you know that this is rather normal — I’m a fan of eating beyond-large starchy carbohydrate dense meals post-training upon reaching the solid base. It’s about recovering and kicking in the muscle building process.
But a few weeks ago, I decided to fast post-training. (I don’t recommend this in The Chaos Bulk. This is just an anecdote…for now.) And since I only eat meal per day, this means that moving into Friday I was approaching 48 hours without food (not to mention, I trained the day prior).
And you know what? Around my normal training time, I felt amazing. The best I’ve felt in the past six months. (This is no exaggeration. I couldn’t believe it.) I felt so good I moved my training session up one day just because I didn’t want to waste the feeling. I then followed this training session with a Super Saiyan sized Goku rice feast.
So let’s answer the obvious question: why would I do such a thing? The accepted theory as of now is that if you don’t fuel your training needs post workout, that your body has the potential to breakdown you muscles and use them for energy.
While this is likely true to some extent, we’ve failed to consider if this is good or bad. It might seem bad from the get-go, but consider that it’s usually the bad proteins that are sacrificed first in a time such as this. And ridding yourself of bad proteins could, perhaps, not be so bad after all.
The Senzu Bean here: don’t be afraid to do some moving if you’re fasting for a long(er) duration. I don’t recommend doing this often, but it’s worth an experiment if you’re into the whole starving yourself gig. (As I somehow manically am.)
I can’t explain it. I won’t try to. But I can’t explain Senzu Beans either. Sometimes it’s just best to chuck ‘em down, and let ‘em work their magic.
Conclusion to the 7
Alright, so it might not be as easy as popping a Senzu Bean, but there are ways to perk up after feeling beat down. And, please, don’t go to the store looking for Senzu Beans. But I would appreciate it if you shared a Senzu Bean of your own below. Maybe you have one not many know about? Or maybe you use one of the above regularly? Either way, I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. If you’re anxious for the release of The Skinny-Fat Solution be sure to check the blog for a special post tomorrow. This is the only hint I’m giving you.