3 Tips to Optimize Recovery
I recently spent an entire weekend working on CrossFit regionals athletes in the West region. It was an incredible weekend and I began to make some observations about different recovery patterns and strategies.
How quickly an athlete recovers depends on several factors including diet and nutrition, level of training (professional versus amateur), and how well an athlete takes care of their body (overall health).
The thought and preparation that goes into a training session often overshadows the little thought put into what comes after, a very important part of training: the recovery.
Here are my top 3 recommendations
for my athletes for better recovery:
- Smart Training. Whether you have a coach or you coach yourself through your season, training smart is key to getting to the finish line with the least amount of issues and for longevity in the sport. Overtraining is an athlete’s worst enemy and is something that should be avoided as much as possible.
During one workout, depending on the level of difficulty, the body needs time to rebuild the muscle and tissue damage. This is often noticed when the day after soreness begins to kick in. The body needs time to heal.
The amount of damage the body sustains is going to be different per athlete per workout. Determining proper recovery time depends greatly on the body’s conditioning, the intensity and duration of the training session. Suggestions differ for everyone, but taking 1-3 rest days during the week is a good place to start.
- Keep up with “body work”. For those that train every single day at any level, “body work” is imperative because of the stress and strain. Chiropractors, massage therapists and physical therapists have great tools to identify weak and tight areas, which effect workouts and the length of time needed to recover.
Imbalances in muscles (from weakness or tightness) can cause altered gait patterns that effect efficiency and how joints move. The body is connected from head to foot, so pain in the shoulder may be caused by an imbalance in the hip or foot.
If the aches can be avoided and the movement improved, time spent recovering will be more efficient. At the end of every season, taking time to rest is imperative before training season starts again. Listen to your coach or spend a good while resting and lightly training.
- Fuel Right. Recovering well is also determined by your nutrition. Optimizing macronutrient (protein, fat and carbohydrate) intake for your body and your training level can make the biggest difference in how you feel the next day to how you feel the day of your event.
Try to choose foods with higher nutrient density like vegetables over bread. Choose foods high in antioxidants like blueberries to counteract the damage from training. For particularly sore days increase your vitamin C intake with oranges.
The average athlete should consume between 1-2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight of protein for optimal training and recovery.
My favorite Hammer Nutrition Supplements
- Tissue Rejuvenator. It’s the best joint supplement that I’ve found yet. I take it almost daily for many reasons other than to protect my joints.
- Recoverite is my favorite recovery supplement. There are no fillers – just everything you need after a workout.
- Heed is the equivalent of gatorade except no chemicals, no coloring or artificial dyes, and it’s much lower in sodium and sugar.
- Gels. These gels are made with complex sugars not simple sugars so they won’t spike your blood sugar as bad. My favorite time to take these is 15 minutes before taking an exam, before a multiple hour workout (like a race, or training for one). Taking one these 5-7 miles in to a run assists with the muscle fatigue and brain fatigue. Awesome stuff.
There are so many others! I highly recommend checking out their products.