The Key To Recovering Optimally

 

We’re two days into the new office and my first week finally working full with Anthony has come to a close.

Glad to say we haven’t killed each other and we are motoring through the work.

Our new office is whopper!

A watt bike, studio and even a spot to do some stretching and functional movement work (Walsh badly needs it).

Today I was asked by a lad about how I recover around my schedule now and what are the current recommendations regarding recovery strategies.

The individual who asked mentioned compression garments, ice baths, cryotherapy and massage and his current beliefs got me thinking that a lot of people may be getting caught out and mixed up.

 

What is recovery?

Recovery can simply be defined as allowing the body to return to resting function and physical performance between bouts of smashing yourself.

If you don’t recover adequately it leads to increased fatigue, reduced performance and increased risk of catching a snotty nose and subsequent chest infection.

There are a lot of different methods out there to help liven up the recovery process.

Such as the aforementioned cryotherapy, ice baths, compression clothing, massage etc. however, many of these methods are quite expensive, can be brutal and are actually inconclusive as to whether they do the recovering you think they do!

Look I love an oul massage – don’t get me wrong!

Whatever makes you feel better or become mindful of recovery I’m a fan of.

But the key – if there is one, is…

Do to the simple stuff really, REALLY well.

Believe it or not the most effective methods for recovery also cost bugger all!

But as you guessed most of us make a balls of them.

 

Sleep.

Sleep is by far our most effective strategy!

You might have heard me spout out ‘sleep is our number one ergogenic aid’ before?

While we are asleep the body releases the highest concentrations of growth hormones which are vital for recovery and subsequent adaptations.

If possible we should 8 hours sleep a night and keep distractions, lights and phones out of the bedroom!

 

Hydration.

You can lose up to 8% of your body mass through sweat during exercise. This fluid needs to be put back into the body post exercise to allow the body to return to resting function.

General rule of thumb is for every 1kg of weight lost during exercise 1.5 litres of fluid is needs to be consumed within 4 or 5 post session or race.

Drinking water consistently is not enough to replace these fluids as most of it will pass straight through the body.

Coconut water is a great natural alternative, alternatively add a pinch of salt to the water to ensure that the electrolytes and other minerals are being replaced.

 

Nutrition. 

Immediately after exercise the body is in an absorptive state.

This means that this is the ideal time to eat to allow the body to recover as fast as possible.

The good old 20 minute window is a good rule to stick bye.

To improve performance then you will need to eat a substantial amount of carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores.

Consuming adequate amounts of protein to improve muscle protein synthesis allowing the muscle to repair and rebuild.

If your goal is weight loss you may have to reduce the amount of carbs you consume in order to achieve a caloric deficit.

Load up on the greens!

 

Mobility Work.

Some foam rolling before your following bout of exercise will help to release the tight muscles, increase blood flow and drive nutrients to the damaged muscle tissues.

You don’t need to go mental.

Just spend a few minutes rolling out the big moving muscles and your body will thank you for it!

To wrap up – I’m finally sinking my teeth into a nice few projects and one nice sport sciency one is none other than some performance testing.

Lactate test, lactate profiling and shorter anaerobic tests there’s so many slang terms out there but time and time again I have guys improve across a range of zones that they wouldn’t have known with a simple FTP test out on the road.

With repeated tests it takes guess work out of your progression and subsequent training becomes more specific regarding the areas you really need to improve in.

To revert back – the key to recovery is not rocket science – it’s doing the really simple things – really well!

Aaron Buggle

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