“What extra work should do?”
“I am thinking about doing more to get ready for ______ . Where should I start?”
These and many others are frequently asked by not only athletes at Beartooth but from members all over! While many people assume that in order to get better they must do more. Truth is, they do but of the right kind.
Understand something first….When we train we create tears in our muscles releasing signals and hormones to promote growth. Muscle growth will occur when the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. RECOVERING adequately to allow this protein synthesis to occur is a necessity!
So, what exactly does the science say?
If the rate in which we recover is improved, the ability to handle higher training volume and intensity would be possible without the effects of overtraining (Bishop et al., 2007).
Coaches and trainers should be constantly looking for methods that allow athletes to overcome the limits of training and increase performance. One of the most effective ways is recovery techniques. Training and rest are unique, necessary training components, and the drive for high success must assign similar importance to both (Bompa, 1999).
So in order to understand how, we need a complete understanding of the definition of recovery.
Jeffreys (2005) states the following factors of recovery
- Normalization of physiological functions (e.g., blood pressure, cardiac cycle)
- A return to homeostasis (resting cell environment)
- Complete restoration of energy stores (blood glucose and muscle glycogen)
- A replenishment of cellular energy enzymes
Recovery can occur during but predominately after exercise. In looking at the definition above, it can be defined by the continual removal of the “end” products. For example the build up of lactate and hydrogen ions.
While exercising, recovery is needed to reestablish intramuscular blood flow for oxygen delivery. This will help replenish your phosphocreatine stores, restore pH levels and lastly regain muscle membrane potential (Weiss, 1991)
Simply stated, you must recover to perform better. Plain and simple. If you don’t want to hear it from me or from the gang of referenced authors, what about Ben Bergeron?
For those of you who do not know Benny Boo Boo, he is the notorious coach of CrossFit Games champion(s) Matt Fraser and Katrin Davidsdottir He also coaches Cole Sager, Brooke Wells, and many, many more! Ben’s recommendation is at least 30 minutes of recovery per hour of training. I am talking recovery… I am talking about pro-actively speeding up your timeline… I am talking about massages, ART, mobility work, foam rolling, yoga, compression, voodoo flossing and so much more!
So, if you refer back to my opening questions my response is and always will be “How are you currently recovering and how often?” How you answer those will dictate how you I move you forward with adding extra work (Just don’t be surprised if that extra work is meditation, breathing exercises, taking your dog for a walk or a 15 jog and some stretching after a METCON).
So I have Googled, read, talked and listened to some of the best in the show and I believe YOUR recovery comes down to these 4 things. Please keep in mind that these are in no particular order
Complete rest is one of the main physiological means of restoring working capacity. Athletes require 9-10 hours of sleep in which roughly 90% of it coming at night. You should follow a strict schedule and go to sleep no later than 10:30 p.m.
An athlete can use several methods to promote relaxed sleep. Relaxation techniques, a massage, or a warm bath before bedtime are all helpful. Herbal preparations are helpful, such as fragrant valerian root, St. John’s wort, chamomile, peppermint, lavender flowers, hops, dill seed, anise seed, fennel seed, passion flowers, lemon balm, linden flowers, and primrose flowers (Balch and Balch, 1997). A dark, noise and stress free, fresh air room is necessary (Myers and Badia, 1993).
If you are interested in learning more about sleep, Precision Nutrition has a great article that you can get to here.
I recommend all athletes getting at least 2 days of rest per week. Typically these days fall on Thursday and Sunday. On those two days I recommend doing…… NOTHING! Put your feet up and veg out, hang with the family, binge watch GoT (Game of Thrones for all of you lay people). Essentially, get off your feet. This will be very, very important not only for you physically but also mentally.
Improvement of joint mobility and stability, muscular flexibility (Remember the difference between mobility and flexibility), motor control and sequencing of movements, along with proper positioning will pay huge dividends to your performance and health!
In the past we discussed PREhab and Rehab and spending time “recovering” will help you not only prevent injury but also work through chronic pain. So what techniques do we recommend?
- Self Myofascial Release (SMR)- Massaging your hard working tissues using a lacrosse ball, barbell, foam roller or the edge of a granite countertop (anything firm will do) will help your body break down adhesions between muscle and fascia, aid in releasing spasming muscle fibers and increase blood flow. Think cross-sectionally.
- Flossing/Compression- Gaining more and more popularity with the help of K – Star at mobilitywod.com. Compression floss will aid in combatting adhesions, trigger points and increases blood flow to tweaked areas. If you have never done this before take a second and spend sometime on Kelly Starrett’s website and learn how to do this correctly.
- Band Assisted Joint Distraction- Stabilizing the joint, adding tension from a band and THEN stretching the muscles that cause restricted range of motion will have tremendously better results than old-fashioned, outmoded static stretching. Make sure you ask a coach to show you a few of these or feel free to contact us as we would love to help!
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) (Contract/Relax) Easier with a partner, this mode of elongating muscle uses the muscle’s natural reaction to contraction to allow for greater end range. Please do not do these without proper supervision or being thought correctly before hand.
- Cuing/positioning/sequence drills- In a non-loaded, low stress environment it is important to practice sending a clear signal from the brain to set the joints up in correct positions with appropriate muscular support.
Now this becomes tricky.
I want to first let you know that I am not a Nutritionist, Registered Dietician or pretend to be anything of the sorts.With that being said I can reiterate what I have learned through my schooling and discussion with other professions that……………………. ummm everyone is different and that although something might work for you it may not be best for your training partner. Now if that is not what you wanted to hear I can reiterate what the ACSM regulates for athletes or reiterate what other professionals recommend but ultimately discussing with a professional to really hone in your nutrition is something I recommend to everyone!
With that being said…. Here is a starting point!
After exercise, the body needs appropriate fuels to replenish what was lost during exercise as well as enough nutrients to help the body recover from the stress imposed on the body by the physical activity. The need exists for a combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Although many types of foods may work to help refuel, it is important to ensure that enough protein is consumed in the post-workout meal to aid in the recovery. The most recent research suggests somewhere between 15-25 grams of high quality protein during the post activity shake or meal. The protein needs may be higher for older adults. Here is link to a position on nutrition and athletic performance by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine.
I leave you with this, recovery is important and is something that should be done every single day. Making this a priority, will allow for you to add “extra work” to your current regimen but also train harder! I think that in itself is something important to note. For many of this is the hardest we have trained and continue to push that envelope. Because of this, we need to recover like we never have before. Remember Ben Bergeron’s rule of thumb…. For every hour of training at least a half hour of recovery. This is a minimum requirement!!!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us with any questions!