by Cherie Gruenfeld July 28, 2016 3 min read
Athletes spend hours upon hours swimming, biking, running and working in the gym hoping to train their bodies for peak performance. While this work is one half of the equation, the other half, recovery, is of equal importance and should be a vital part of any athlete’s training program for a number of reasons.
When doing interval work in any discipline, the objective is to follow the hard effort with recovery before starting the next effort. If your goal is speed, the effort will be close to "all out" and the recovery long enough to get completely rested before starting the next hard effort. If endurance is what you’re after, the efforts are less intense (more sustainable) and the recovery period is shorter so that you start the next set without being fully recovered, thereby building endurance. Whether over a short or long period, proper recovery is the key to getting the maximum benefit from each work effort.
After a hard workout day, it’s best to start the recovery process as quickly as possible to promote the most rapid recovery time. In fact, you may have a training plan that calls for another hard workout day in less than 24 hours.
Here are some tips to start the recovery process immediately after the workout, with full benefits overnight.
Food and drink are of paramount importance for recovery, so start eating and drinking quickly. The body will work most efficiently in making use of nutrients for rebuilding during the first 60-90 minutes after your workout. Use that window to full advantage. An amino acid regimen (before and after workouts) provides a protein boost that helps to rebuild the body for the next day’s work.
Make sure your meals include some protein, the building blocks for your recovery. Throw some chicken, fish, tuna or turkey into a stir-fry with some vegetables and add to brown rice or whole-wheat pasta – the perfect recovery meal.
Ice is a miracle healer. After a hard workout your, leg muscles are loaded with micro-tears. During your downtime, these small tears will heal, and that makes your muscles stronger. Ice will help this process along. If you’ve had a particularly strenuous leg day, sitting in an ice bath is a good way to ice your entire lower body. Ten minutes of this is all you need to improve your recovery.
Get your legs up. Lying on the floor and putting them up against the wall or up on the bed is a great method for this, but sitting in a recliner also works well and is a bit more civilized. While you’re elevating your legs, do some gentle stretching and self-massage as well. If it’s available to you, take advantage of a good massage from a qualified sports-oriented therapist who understands your recovery goals.
Planned work alternating with the proper doses of recovery at the appropriate times will give you the performance you’ve been dreaming of.
BodyHealth’s PerfectAmino™ contains the eight amino acids the body needs to support and maintain its muscular, skeletal, enzymatic, and hormonal systems. These essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and the formula in PerfectAmino is made up of the exact proportions for maximum utilization by the body.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
by Dr. David Minkoff
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