We’re big fans of priorities. This applies to nutrition, training, and recovery. Below Coach Eric Burnett weighs in on the 5 biggest components to properly recover. If you’re not adhering to the principles below, and spending time and money on other methods, then your priorities are not in line.
Priority #1: Sleep
Lack of adequate sleep can decrease the tolerance to training, alter mood, increase perception of fatigue and negatively affect the physiological mechanisms responsible for adaptation from the stresses of training. Hormonal secretion during sleep is one of the most important factors influencing recovery; after all, the purpose of sleep is to induce a state of recovery in the body. Anabolic (muscle-building) hormone concentrations and activity increase during sleep while catabolic (muscle-wasting) hormone concentrations and activity decrease.
Develop a regular sleeping routine where you go to bed at a similar time and wake up at the same time every day of the week. Remove distractions like light, smartphones, and TVs at least 1 hour prior to bedtime. Make your room like a cave (dark and cool); 68 to 70 degrees is the recommended temperature. If possible, try for 8 hours of sleep per night and/or fit in an afternoon power nap for 30 minutes to rejuvenate the body.
Priority #2: Hydration
Dehydration can reduce performance potential, but also delay the recovery process. Exercise and an increased metabolic rate both increase the body’s need for water and electrolytes.
The larger the person the more fluids they need to stay hydrated. Common sense right? After all a horse needs more water than a dog.
We suggest half your bodyweight in fluid ounces. So a 180lb man will need at least 90 fluid ounces.
This does not account for sweating due to hot climates nor exercise induced sweating. If you are training at our facility in July, you’ll lose quite a bit of fluids during that training session so plan to increase water consumption by 500mL per hour of intense training, if you are a heavy sweater (you know who you are) then you will need even more. We suggest carrying a water bottle everywhere you go, and drink throughout the day.
Priority #3: Pre and Post Training Nutrition
Pre and post training nutrition are key to properly fueling for a hard training session, as well as recovering from one. Your body will need carbs prior to training, then a good dose of simple carbs and protein afterwards.
Pre Training: To properly fuel up for a session consume a balanced meal of complex carbohydrates with a good protein and fat source roughly 2-3 hours before training. Another snack with a blend of complex and simple carbohydrates about 30-60 minutes prior to training
Post Training: For a fast recovery after a tough training session: consume 20 to 30 grams of protein in the form of a shake with 30 to 50g of simple carbohydrates [rice cakes or fruit (dates, apricots or banana). Follow this up with a solid meal 1-2 hours after training.
Priority #4: Active Recovery
Active recovery sessions following a strenuous training session greatly aid in recovery. When done right, they allow our muscles to recover through increased blood flow without accumulating more stress. It can reduce soreness and speed up the muscle-rebuilding process.
Active recovery starts the moment your workout ends. Make sure to spend 10 to 20 minutes after your workout cooling down. In between hard sessions do something active: Walk the dog, take bike ride on the trail and refrain from sitting too long at work or in a car. If you are an office rat get a stand-up desk and go for a walk down the hall or stretch for 5 to 10 minutes every hour or so. Low intensity aerobic sessions are also a great option.
Priority #5: Chill the F@#k out
Acute stress—like the kind you create from exercise—is a good thing.
Chronic stress – like work deadlines, inadequate sleep, excessive amounts of alcohol, and relationship issues – are a bad thing.
The body can only tolerate, and recover from, so much stress. So you want all of, or the majority of, the stress to be the “good kind.” Trying to peak for a meet or competition while dealing with a big work project, a sick kid, and a pissed off wife is a recipe for disaster. You should spend just as much time on your mental wellbeing as your physical wellbeing.
Engaging in some type of hobby you enjoy, spending time with friends and family, meditation, yoga, journaling or anything that takes your mind off the stressors of life will aid in reducing stress on the body and allow it to perform to its highest potential.