NASM CES Chapter 17: Self-Care and Recovery
NASM CES Chapter 17: Self-Care and Recovery 1

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    Chapter Goals:

    • Show the effective techniques of coaching and communication for maximizing engagement and adherence. 
    • Find the proven methods of client restoration and recovery.
    • Be able to communicate the right strategies for implementing overall wellness in your clients. 


    Acute soreness of the muscles, discomfort of the musculoskeletal system, and fatigue are a few of the physiological and psychological effects that a client experiences when introducing or increased the novel demands on the body.

    These effects will have a large impact on training and exercise to follow.

    The general public is recommended to seek out information regarding the science of recovery in the fitness and athletic environments.

    Recovery means a systematic physiological and psychological post exercise process in which the body and brain need replenishment and rejuvenation so that preparation is easy for training and competition. 

    Rest, refuel, and regenerate, will be the three strategies to be areas of focus.

    Resting is an aspect of recovery that focuses on improving the daily amount of sleep and the quality of said sleep along with limiting the stress and increasing the physical and psychological relaxation.

    Refueling is an aspect of recovery that focuses on hydration and nutrition habits before, during and following activity.

    Regeneration is an aspect of recovery focusing on movement based self-care strategies for the optimization of quality and minimization of compensation/

    Exercise, Recovery, and Overall Wellness

    All of the strategies of recovery are important to the overall process. If we do not address one strategy, then the overall performance may be compromised.

    The six dimensions of wellness is a model used to look at the six focuses for different types of wellness. These are:

    • Occupational – this is the wellness that focuses on a person’s work and their attitude they have toward it. Someone will only be happy with their occupation when their career aligns with personal interests, moral and political beliefs, and their values. 
    • Physical – social interaction is something that is needed for human existence. Relationships that are positive and healthy will lead to a healthier lifestyle. People that do not commit to improving just their social welfare, but also the welfare of others around them will find their environment built on trust and harmony. Negative relationships on the other hand will have a drastic effect on social wellness.
    • Intellectual – creativity and education are going to be key parts of development. People that consistently challenge their own beliefs, stay open to the thought of new ideas, encourage thinking that is creative, and who strategically problem solve and plan, will be less likely to have stress and conflict in their life. 
    • Spiritual – intolerance and close mindedness are two of the bigger detriments for spiritual wellness. People that consistently question their existence, beliefs and values while remaining tolerant and open to other views will have a deeper appreciation for the universe. 
    • Emotional – this is the ability for someone to find and accept emotions and feelings. Someone that can freely express their feelings will find more meaningful relationships and be able to handle conflict with maturity and clarity. 

    Recovery Planning

    The use of a recovery plan will outline the individualized and systematic recovery process for the client. 

    The first step will be a recovery questionnaire.

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    This is used during the client intake session and prior to the training sessions.

    The data provided here is subjective and shows the habits that the individual already has and will allow you to help improve those things for them. 

    The second step will be the development of a successful plan of recovery.

    The plan is used to target the recovery variables based on the client’s reporting in the first step.

    It will address both physiological and psychological rejuvenation so you can ensure one is ready for the following training session or competition. 

    The last step to the recovery plan will be implementation.

    The professionals must be able to effectively communicate programs, strategies, and goals in a way that increases adherence and compliance. 

    Recovery Questionnaire

    Systematic and strategic recovery plans start with assessment of a client’s habits in the form of questionnaire questions.

    The questions will be in the three categories of rest, refuel, and regenerate. 

    Recovery Strategies

    Recovery Tools and Methods

    The use of recovery strategies has grown and so has the production of various recovery tools and methods.

    Recovery tools and methods have 1 of 3 underlying principles in order to increase the range of motion, reduce soreness of the muscles, and flush out the accumulation of lactate in the blood that results from high intensity exercise.

    There are many tools that we can find out there to assist with the different parts of recovery.

    Sleep Strategies

    One of the most undervalued, overlooked, and yet important strategies for recovery is achieving the proper amount of sleep at night.

    Restorative sleep is needed and when it is done correctly, it Is sufficient for replenishing the energy stores from training.

    The release of anabolic hormones is facilitated by restorative sleep. 

    Nutrient Timing Applications: Endurance and Strength Based Activities

    Carbs and fats are the main substrates used in endurance activities.

    The actual intensity of the activity will determine which of these contributes the most.

    Carbs will be the ones used during moderate and high intensity activity, and fats will be the main one used during low intensity exercise. 

    Make sure to go through the table on fueling strategies for these two types of activity in this chapter.

    Note the timing of the meals, the composition of those meals, and the hydration strategy that is recommended to accompany the timing.  

    There is strength and endurance strategies for athletes. Make sure to note the differences in the makeups. 


    The objective of hydration in relation to planned activity will be to replace the amount of fluid that is lost when sweating and keeping that hydration status as we are going into the next training session.

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    If less than 3 percent of body weight is lost in the session or competition, the client may consume fluid as they desire. 

    Movement Strategies

    Optimizing the recovery can be pigeonholed as being a more passive part of health, wellness, and performance.

    The factors such as sleep, psychological relaxation, nutrition, and hydration are some of the key factors in the process. 

    Communication Skills for Adherence

    A lot of the challenge around recovering behaviors lies in increasing the adherence to homework away from the session.

    In the first sessions, the time spent is discovering the needs and the status of the client.

    As discussed, conversations of both physical and mental wellbeing are meant for calculating the current behaviors that contributed to the current situation.

    This, along with the goal setting, will lay the foundation for various behaviors needed to be addressed for the improvements in recovery through structured and measurable strategies. 

    Implementation of new and modified habits, client inclusion will be a process that helps with the client adhering.

    The client should have an active role in the behaviors needed to be addressed as well as the extent to which they are put in with compliance. 

    Improving Client Self-Care Adherence

    Homework is a big part of making lifestyle changes.

    The student learns a basic lesson in class, goes home to do practice exercises, and then reviews the homework in the classroom setting for comprehending materials, the client should do the same with their health homework. 

    Transtheoretical Model for Fitness and Regeneration

    Here are the stages of the transtheoretical model:

    • Pre-contemplation: people don’t know that they have a problem or that a new behavior is needed. 
    • Contemplation: they understand that there is an issue that needs to be addressed and that the current behavioral path is detrimental to health and goals.
    • Preparation: research and planning on lifestyle change is taking place.
    • Action: behaviors are being executed to reverse the problem.
    • Maintenance: consistent action is taking place for improvements in the condition or lifestyle overall.
    • Termination: there is an undesirable status that no longer is a temptation and counter behavior has taken hold. 

    The TTM is a useful model with the goal of the fitness professional being that they should try to move the client along the stages so that they can get to the maintenance stage. 

    Talking About Corrective Exercise With Clients

    Corrective exercise is a somewhat new concept of exercise having risen in popularity and awareness with the fitness professionals over the previous 15 years.

    Explaining the assessment process if the first part of the discussion on corrective exercise.

    The client should be focused on learning their why for what they are changing. 

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