Recovery: Performance Lifestyle

How does managing your lifestyle affect your recovery?

Strategies for recovery include different scientific approaches – lifestyle management has an impact on recovery by pulling together this advice and developing a lifestyle that is conducive to performance. From research, we know that when you learn to manage the distractions that get in the way of your performance, lifestyle management can have a positive impact on recovery.

If you are training, competing and managing a performance-based lifestyle then you will have to contend with a variety of distractions.

Similarly, as you develop and progress, more and more demands are placed on your time by an increasing number of people – including coaches, support staff, employers/educators, family and friends. In the middle of all of this you need to ensure that you can prioritise recovery from training and competition, in both passive and active ways.

These distractions can have both a positive effect and a negative effect depending on the individual, their circumstances and their stage of development.

Performance Lifestyle research into training motivation in elite rugby players (McCarroll and Hodge, 2004) revealed that players who had good time management, organisational skills and an integrated lifestyle (i.e. they had some other interest outside rugby), were those players who adhered to their programmes, had high levels of training motivation, were able to manage the distractions around them and, as a result, were able to successfully perform at the highest level and sustain their performance over time.

Distractions need to be identified and relevant to you as an individual. Finding solutions to help manage distractions makes a significant difference in your ability to be independent, plan, rest and recover. These factors can assist your performance and support the longevity of performance.

Transition tolerance identifies key athlete development stages in your sport and plans for the transition phases, i.e. when you move from junior to senior level of competition.

Plan a lifestyle that is conducive to performance by:

  • Using a periodised plan and diary
  • Eating to fuel and refuel
  • Drinking fluids to hydrate and rehydrate
  • Ensuring quality sleep
  • Adopting psychological strategies that facilitate recovery and discuss individualised recovery strategies with your support team

Negative distractions

  1. Work or no work
  2. Study and exams
  3. Nothing to do but your sport
  4. Funding and finance
  5. Impact of travel
  6. Time – not enough
  7. Boredom
  8. Injury
  9. Demands of others on your time

Positive distractions

  1. Recover – actively and passively
  2. Do something away from sport
  3. Mental stimulation – challenge yourself
  4. Mental relaxation – your own space to unwind
  5. Try new challenges – do something different
  6. Personal development
  7. Individualise travel strategies
  8. Manage your time – plan, prepare, prioritise and organise
  9. Integrate all elements of your life into your planning

Key points

  • Performance Lifestyle (TM) – if you have access to this service, use your local PL Adviser.
  • Use a diary to prepare and plan, to prioritise your time, monitor your training, performance and recovery. Plan for recovery! It is as important as training and needs to be built into your periodised plan.
  • Monitor and manage your health and wellbeing on an ongoing basis and make decisions that suit you as an individual. This includes the physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of your life.

This is an extract from our 2013 Recovery Booklet. Read the entire document, with references and further reading, on our website:

Date published: 28 June 2023
Date updated: 28 June 2023


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