The quickest way to get fitter and stronger is to put in more training sessions; however, we cannot go into a training session while still recovering from the previous one. Putting too much stress on the body while it is needs to recover will push you in to over-training.
Here are a few tips to improve your recovery time between training sessions or especially after race.
- Post work out nutrition: Having a well-balanced protein or meal replacement shake after a training session is key to supplying your body with the vitamins and minerals lost during exercise and especially providing your body with the much needed protein to begin muscle repair.
- Stretching: After a training session or ride our muscles need to relax and our bodies need to return to our natural posture, while the muscles are still warm from exercise they are most flexible so the perfect time is right now. Stretching realigns muscle fibres thus aiding in recovery and also reduces the soreness the next day (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
- Ice bath: An ice bath after an intense session will decrease inflammation and flush out waste products in the muscle that was produced during exercise. As your cold limbs gradually warm up fresh blood is brought into the muscle to start the recovery process.
- Blueberries: Studies have shown that adding blueberries to your diet pre and post exercise will aid in the reduction of inflammation caused during exercise. Blend them into a smoothie with ice and yoghurt or add some to a salad.
- Massage: After a training session a massage can aid in removing waste from the muscles therefore reducing soreness the day after. A massage relaxes contracted muscles, increases blood circulation and increases range of motion. With the use of a foam roller you can do your own massage in the gym or in front of the TV for a few minutes every day.
- Active Recovery: Low intensity exercise after a race or intense training session will reduce the waste products in the body faster than just resting alone. It dramatically increases blood circulation to the recovering muscles which brings much need nutrients along with it.
After participating in an event where I truly push the limits in terms of distance or overall effort I like to do the following to kick start my recovery process. Hopefully some of this will benefit you too.
As I cross the finish line I immediately have my high protein meal or meal replacement shake followed by 15 min of stretching to relax those strained muscles. Once I arrive home I jump in and out of an ice bath for 10 – 15 min intervals with a few minutes between sessions, after gradually warming up I head to the kitchen to make a blueberry shake before relaxing and getting an early night.
Keep an eye out for our future posts on the ultimate recovery smoothie and ice bath do’s and dont’s.
What do you do to recover after strenuous training sessions or races?