EPO, Nandrolone, Testosterone, and all of the other new super drugs that they can’t test for yet all have one thing in common…They all help you recover faster than humanly possible. But I believe we can recover almost as well without cheating if we do it perfectly. The catch is that it takes a lot of time and effort that most of us don’t have. Even the best pros in our sport often work full time jobs on the side. But what if we did have all the time we needed? What’s the ultimate recovery strategy? As usual I’m wide open to everyone’s thoughts on this. Here is what I’m thinking so far…..If I had all the time and resources in the world my recovery to do list after a big workout would be:
- Nutrition #1 - After a workout there is a 15 minute window of time when your body will absorb and replace carbohydrates the best. Contrary to popular belief this is the best time to take in simple carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. Personally, I feel the best when I combine these simple carbohydrates with a little of fat and protein as well. My perfect nutrition here is chocolate milk. This is also when I take an amino acid supplement.
- Stretching - Right after you finish your 15 minute nutrition this is the best time to stretch because your muscles are still warm.
- Ice Baths - As soon as you finish stretching it is straight to the ice bath. The colder the better and if you can do it in a Jacuzzi bath that moves the water it is even better. Be sure your wife isn’t home to see you emerge from the bath guys…one word, shrinkage!
- Nutrition #2 - After the ice bath and having gone into hypothermia, your body has probably already soaked up your 15 minute window nutrition and this is the time to put in a relatively good sized meal. Personally, after a very hard day, red meat is a must for me.
- Arnica - After eating I cover myself in this natural anti- inflammatory gel called Arnica. Being sure to really hit the spots that are talking to me the most.
- Udder Cream - I can’t remember a huge workout where I didn’t end up with some kind of chafing. Udder cream, which was originally designed to sooth chafed udders is perfect for this. Nuff said…
- Compression Tights - Okay, so I’m lathered in arnica and udder cream and somehow I manage to squeeze into my compression tights. Ever see the Friends where Ross is trying to get his leather pants back on? Lotion, baby powder and a cell phone…
- Elevation - Finally I get my legs elevated
- Massage - This topic could be its own blog entry. It helps me as much, if not more than all of the above. Get it as often as you possibly can from Jessica Gumkowski.
- Sleep - Our bodies produce growth hormones similar to the nandrolone and testosterone that dopers might use. While sleeping, our bodies go into overdrive producing these human growth hormones (HGH). So the more sleep the more legal steroids. The best rule I’ve heard on the sleep topic came from Mark Allen. For every 60 minutes of intense exercise (that’s z3 or above for my HEP crew) you want to get an additional 20 minutes of sleep beyond your normal amount. Feel free to sleep in your udder cream encrusted tights…
Recovery On The Fly
I have to admit that I very rarely can pull off the above recovery. Usually I’m screeching in from a run or bike and simply worried about showering so I don’t stink for the meeting I’m already late for. In times like these I still do my best to recover. It goes something like this……
I usually have the chocolate milk already made and waiting for me in the fridge so I chug that down as I’m elevating my legs. Even 5 minutes of elevation can help. Then I hustle off to the shower and as soon as I get out and dry off I slather on the Arnica and udder cream and throw on the tights under my work clothes. After this I grab some food….usually last night’s left over amazing food from my killer chef of a wife….. and eat as I drive to my meeting. Finally, if it’s not too awkward, I stretch at work or during my meeting. I’m already used to the funny looks so……..Last, but not least I try as hard as I can to turn in early for bed that night.
One Last Thought on Recovery
My mentors and coaches at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine have recently helped me to understand that recovery from a workout actually starts before you do the workout, and continues during the workout. Making sure you are hydrated and fueled up well before the workout, and then staying hydrated and fueling properly during the workout is absolutely essential to speeding up recovery after the workout.
Okay everyone……please feel free to send along your recovery tricks. I’m all ears!