Rest and recovery are key components to your success whether you are an athlete, someone who likes to work out at home or just an everyday gym-goer. If you follow these strategies you will reduce the risk of injury and improve your performance by having greater control over the quality and quantity of your training.
An effective training program is enhanced by the following components: rest, nutrition, supplementation and regeneration. Looking at this from a holistic point of view allows an athlete or person to increase their workload without significantly increasing the risk of fatigue and injury.
How to Improve Your Recovery
The importance of taking a holistic view of the body and the mind is the key to recovery and performance. The more consistent you become with your daily routines, the quicker you will reach your goals. Below I have included a general list of strategies that will guide you to developing your own routines based on the sport or type of training you are involved in and of course how much time you have.
Sleep plays a huge role in the recovery process with most people needing between 7.5 – 9 hours of sleep every night. Some elite-level athletes have reported needing 10 hours of sleep every night. It is important to understand that not enough sleep or even sleeping too long can inhibit the body’s ability to adapt to the stresses of training. For the body to regenerate you need to be able to enter deep sleep, as this is when the body releases hormones for recovery of muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is also when the immune system repairs and rebuilds. Lighter sleep stages naturally occur and these will help to reinforce the neural patterns stimulated during training sessions or games. Try and avoid alcohol, drugs and environmental changes (e.g. temperature) as these will disrupt normal sleeping patterns and negatively impact on your recovery. It also important to try and establish a pattern in terms of what time you go to bed as well. Try getting to sleep within an hour of the same time every night. Check out this article for more on sleep hygiene.
- Have a well-balanced meal of quality protein, vegetables and low to moderate GI carbohydrate 1.5 hours before training/competition
- Have a protein drink 30-45 minutes before workout
- Have a nitric oxide boosting creatine drink 30 mins before (avoid caffeinated supplements)
-Self Massage- Foam Roll (Self-Myofascial Release)
- Static Stretch for 10-15min
- Dynamic Warm-up for 15min
During Training/Competition Strategies
- During your workout it is important that you rehydrate. The extent to which you need to rehydrate will be determined by the intensity of training/competition you’re involved in
- You may want to look into getting a formula for rapid hydration and absorption of electrolytes
- It is important to restore lost fluid and glycogen to established pre-game or training levels. Check weight to gauge sweat loss and then replace necessary fluids with an isotonic, electrolyte sports drink.
- Eat low GI carbohydrate food
- Have a protein drink
- Engage in Active Recovery by brisk walking or swimming to assist with lactate recovery
- Use Hot & Cold Therapy. You could simply use your shower and switch between hot and cold every 20 seconds.
- Wear compression garments
- Meditate, listen to music or just find a quiet comfortable place to sit and relax for a while
- Eat a balanced meal of quality protein, vegetables and low to moderate GI carbohydrate
- Massage or self massage (e.g., foam rolling) if you cannot afford hands-on therapy
- Continue to rehydrate and refuel with food and water
- Check out this article for more on the importance of hydration.