All those reading these 5 steps to effective recovery should all know the importantce of recovery. Recovery is the element that allows our bodies to adapt, get stronger and more efficient for the specific tasks we are carrying out. Today, as some of you may know, I have just ran my best marathon time of 3 hours 45 minutes, and now I need to ensure that I recover so I can carry on with every day life and so im ready to enter another phase of training injury free.
Before, I begin to list the 5 steps for effective recovery I will state that you MUST engage and complete adequate training. If you assume you are going to enter an event that you have done no preparation for unscaved, then you will have a rude awakening. What I mean is if you do prepare you are going to minimalise the amount of damage. So before you embark on entering events such as marathon, do make sure training is undertaken as this will significantly reduce the side effects and make the 5 steps all that more effective. Here are the 5 steps;
- MOVEMENT - Movement will aid in the recovery for any activity. Movement will enable a supply of blood flow to the damaged areas. With this increase in blood flow and supply of blood tissue repair can take place.
- FLUIDS - Rehydrating after a sporting event or an intense training session is crucial. This is because, of the strain it can put on the body. Weigh yourself before and after your workout to find out how much water you have lost. For every 0.5kg of body weight lost replace it with 500ml of water. This will help get rid of any unneccessary toxins in the body and also prevent muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue. Also, drinking 50% more fluid than you lost in sweat will enhance your recovery from dehydration. Human Kinetics suggests that if you are significantly dehdrated and need to recover within a 12 hour window then you need to be more aggressive with you rehydration program. If this is the case Human Kinetics suggests sprinkling a little extra salt on your post workout meal to replace sodium losses through sweat.
- FUEL REPLENISHMENT - Fuel replenishment should occur immediately after your workout or training session. The macronutrients that should be taken into consideration and carbohydartes (fuel) and protein (repair). The ratios of these two are 2:1 carbohydrates to protein. Both aid each other in the recovery process, however, carbohydrates play a massive role in recovery. Carbohydrates not only help replinish the depleted the muscle glycogen (chemical form of carbohydrates) but also stimulate protein sysnthesis. Protein synthesis is simply the synthesis of new muscle proteins. This process occurs to the production of insulin, an anabolic hormone which supports the repair and creation of soft tissue (muscle). This is produced through the high glycemic index carbohydrates entering the blood stream and entering quickly (must be of a high glycemic index).
- HOT BATH - This is a great opportunity to loosen up and wind down after a tough event or training session. The Hot bath will not only loosen you up and relax you but will aid in recovery due to the increase flush of nutrients around the body due to the hot water. It is this step that will set you up for the final step and complete your perfect recovery.
- SLEEP - Sleep is my favourite part and probably the most important part of recovering effectively. You have just put your body through hell and now it needs time to relax and rest. Sleep is your answer once you followed those first 4 steps. Without adequate sleep there is a hormone called cortisol (stress hormone) present and with this present it makes any sort of glycogen replenishment or recovery impossible, simply because your body wants and needs that energy. Sleep is now needed to allow energy to be restored. The simple hard fact is NO SLEEP, NO BETTER. Sleeping is the last piece of the puzzle bringing those first 4 steps together, if you are serious about training make sure you are getting those crucial 8 hours in bed.