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Get out of your funk: understanding the zones of recovery

Get out of your funk: understanding the zones of recovery

When you go through treatment, you hear the term recovery thrown around quite a bit, but it can be hard to understand exactly what that means or how to get there. In this guide on getting out of your funk and into recovery, we’ll discuss the three recovery zones and how to get out of your funk and into each one. The sooner you can learn about these recovery zones, the sooner you can start heading towards an addiction-free future and feeling good about your life!

The concept of the zones

Your body is a complex and wonderful machine. With in-depth training and work, you can increase your endurance to run faster, swim farther, and lift heavier weights. But there is only so much you can do before it’s time to rest. To prevent overtraining and an extended period of broken-down muscles and soreness (not fun), it’s important to stay within a set number of workouts—the zones of recovery—per week.

Each zone has a different purpose. Zone 1 is short, intense efforts, where you push yourself as hard as possible for a short period of time. The next day, you’ll feel sore and stiff; it may take up to three days to recover from a workout in Zone 1. But that’s why it’s essential to stay in that zone only once or twice per week—if you do it more often than that, your body won’t have enough time to recover and rebuild itself.

If you want to improve your endurance, you can move into Zone 2 after two weeks of training in Zone 1. It’s still an intense effort, but not quite as much as Zone 1. You can also do interval training here (where you alternate between high-intensity work and low-intensity work). And again, it takes about two weeks to fully recover from each workout in Zone 2 before moving on.

After four weeks of training in Zone 2, you can enter Zone 3. This is a longer duration of low-intensity exercise. It’s ideal for building muscle strength and endurance without losing speed or power. After four weeks in Zone 3, you should be ready to move back into Zones 1 and 2 if you want to get faster or stronger again!

The four stages—what they are and why they matter

Your physiology is constantly changing throughout any given day. We tend to refer to these changes as zones because it’s easy to imagine that everyone operates at a different level during any given time frame. The three primary stages are the alarm stage, the resistance stage, and the aerobic stage. Understanding how these apply to you can help you live healthier and more efficiently. Here is an overview of each of the zones and what they mean to you for recovery. To make sure you have a basic understanding of each zone, let’s look at some definitions and guidelines. Remember, there are no hard-and-fast rules here—these are just generalizations based on averages; every person has their own unique needs when it comes to exercise and nutrition.

A typical day in each zone

This is a great thing to start doing if you are trying to lose weight. By eating food in certain areas of the energy cycle, you will optimize how much energy you expend on digestion versus how much energy your body gets from that food. Ideally, you want to eat enough calories at breakfast and lunch so that by mid-afternoon you’re feeling pretty good and have plenty of energy for exercise. At dinner time, eat just enough calories so that by bedtime you feel satisfied but not stuffed. Remember that it’s OK if you don’t get all your daily calories in during one sitting—this isn’t a contest; it’s about getting into healthy habits for life! Support each other.

Tips for getting into another zone

There’s more to it than just taking a few rest days. It may seem simple, but being aware of how you feel and being dedicated to staying in that state is important to getting you back up and running again. Here are some tips for getting into another zone quickly, safely, and efficiently. The trick is to figure out what works best for you, and get in there. I always think of people who train year-round as those stubborn mules who keep plugging away despite adversity; those people don’t want to miss any training because they know their hard work will pay off when race day comes around. Those folks aren’t scared of taking a break—they know it will help them reach their goals faster! Just remember to listen to your body, and if something doesn’t feel right, take a step back. You can always jump right back in later on down the road! If you do happen to come across an injury or physical issue that needs addressing, seek professional help. If you can afford it, physical therapy is one of my favourite ways to address issues without feeling like I’m not doing anything about them. And be never afraid to ask questions—your health and safety should be top priority!

The effects of sleep on recovery

Research has shown that there are three primary stages of sleep (1, 2, and 3) and that each of the zones plays a role in recovery. Stage 1 is defined as wakefulness—this is when you enter deep sleep. As you progress into stage 2, muscles start to relax, blood pressure drops slightly, and it becomes harder to awaken. In stage 3, also known as slow-wave sleep or delta wave sleep, your body produces high levels of growth hormone and other chemicals that help repair muscle tissue. A study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that people who slept for eight hours or more per night had higher levels of growth hormone than those who slept less than six hours per night. This boost in growth hormone can lead to an increase in lean muscle mass, which leads to greater strength gains during workouts. It’s also important to note that during these stages of sleep, your brain is still active and processing information; REM sleep may even be responsible for strengthening neural connections related to memory formation. All told, getting enough quality sleep regularly can have an enormous impact on recovery. So, Sleep is essential!

Sleep hygiene and tips for better sleep

Sleep hygiene refers to a set of habits that help you sleep well. Taking measures to improve your sleep hygiene can improve how well you sleep, allowing you to get more rest and feel less fatigued when you wake up. Here are some tips for improving sleep hygiene and getting better rest.
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Turning off electronic devices an hour or two before beds is a good first step toward better sleep, but here are some other tips for improving sleep hygiene and getting better rest.

Recovery with nutrition

It is a well-known fact that food can be an effective treatment for depression. A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats is a good zone for recovery and can help to improve mood by supplying our brains with necessary nutrients that keep us healthy. It is critical to get all of these things from natural foods because a lot of them are lost when our food is processed or cooked. If you have low-energy levels or feel like you just aren’t yourself lately, it may be time to give your body what it needs. Try eating some more vegetables, fruits and lean meats, as they will provide you with much-needed vitamins and nutrients. You should also consider adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet; they are known to boost brain function as well as reduce inflammation in our bodies.


The Zones of Recovery doesn’t have to be complicated. If you start thinking about them in terms of a specific distance and pace, like completing a half-marathon at a 12-minute-mile pace or running a 10K at 5:30 per mile, they may seem daunting—but they don’t have to be. Put some thought into how you want to feel after your workout, and set up realistic expectations for how hard you can push yourself. It’s not always about pushing harder; sometimes it’s just as important to know when to back off.

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