Recovery from Strenuous Sports Performance Training
==== ====To truly achive ULTIMATE performance in ANY sport you desire, check this out...http://ow.ly/8nWrq==== ====What is recovery from strenuous sports performance training about? People who exerciseregularly and play sports often spend a lot of time preparing careful sports performance trainingprogrammes. These focus on positively building all the areas of fitness and technique important tothe successful conduct of their favorite activity. Some enthusiastic runners, cyclists and triathletesplan their years activities around participation in races (marathon, triathlon, etc) or hoping toperform maximally at each race. In the haste to go faster and stronger, an important aspect oftraining is often neglected: sports recovery. From the experience of successful athletes though(particularly those in endurance sports) more time spent on sports recovery leads to improvementin the quality of sports performance training as well as optimal results in competition.What is Sports Recovery?Exercise at all levels of intensity acts to do one thing to the body: it depletes it. The depletioninvolves your energy stores (muscle glycogen, blood glucose and fat products in your blood),hormones, and muscle structures. In other words, you use up the bodys valuable resources asyou exercise and something must be done to replace them.In order to return to training and to continue conditioning your body to meet your exercise goals, itisimportant to create time and take active steps to bring about a re-building of the depleted bodyresources. This is what sports recovery is all about: the conscious action to help the body return toits optimal exercise state. This is especially important if you are intending to exercise intensively orfor long durations soon after an exhausting bout. This could be endurance programme training,multi-stage bike race, or sports competitions that are only 2-4 weeks apartWhy bother with Sports Recovery?In the very simplest terms you need to bother with sports recovery to keep you physicallyexercising at the level that you want to. Even more importantly, to allow the bodys systems to re-charge sufficiently that your mental edge remains honed to that fine sharpness you desire. Ablunted edge comes about from insufficient recovery and can come back to haunt you in theseways: staleness, loss of interest, reduced physical ability, decreased sports performance trainingtolerance. Yes indeed, the first steps towards over-training.A good approach to sports recovery will ensure that the quality of your sports performance trainingand competition is high. This will contribute to you feeling satisfied with your efforts andachievements, and bring about continued confidence in your chosen endurance sport. Goodrecovery also enables you to exert a greater overall sense of control of your sports performancetraining destiny!
When should I think about Sports Recovery?You should consider sports recovery at both macro- and micro-levels. An example of a macrolevel would be a period of sports performance training preparation time (e.g. a week or month), orthe period between competitions on your race calendar. A micro-level consideration would be aftera single very hard or exhaustive work-out.At the macro level, the depletion of resources will have arisen as a systematic and progressivewearing away that parallels your rigorously planned training program. It is not the single mind-blowing training session that is involved here but rather the accumulated effect of all the sessionscombined, and possibly inclusive of the race. While a single sports performance training sessionmay leave you feeling fatigued, the depletion of body resources over a period of time (it can be asshort as a week or as long as months) will leave you feeling that your ability to physically exertyourself is a little blunted. Your legs feel heavy and tired, and are unable to sustain prolongedeffort in the way they used to.The micro recovery level answers the bodys aching need following that supremely challengingsportsperformance training session, back-to-back training sessions in some training camp, or the actualhugeeffort put into a competitive event (e.g. marathon running) . The latter involves not just the eventitself but also the mental stress, increased adrenaline surges, and even mundane activities suchas travel to the competition venue.What are the steps I should take to recover properly?Ensure that you take account of your macro and micro needs. Maintain an awareness of theseusing asports performance training /race calendar that allows you to visually assess the training andcompetition phases you are going through. Akin to the periodisation approach to training, this willhelp you to plan for recovery periods and make these an integral part of your sports performancetraining plan. Now consider the elements of the recovery: nutrition, structure regeneration,inflammation reduction, hormonal, and mental. Make plans for each of these.Nutrition involves replacing the resources that you have used up in your prodigious attempts to gofaster and stronger. This includes particular emphasis on replacing the following nutritionalcomponents: carbohydrates to re-build muscle glycogen for muscle recovery, and minerals andelectrolytes to make up for loss in your sweat. The best time to re-build glycogen stores is withinthe first 3 hours after sports performance training as this is when the rate of glycogen storage ishighest. Such storage remains elevated in the next 21 hours but not at the same rate as duringwhat has been called the "critical re-energising window." There is scientific evidence to suggestthat the very first hour after your exercise bout is actually the time that your body responds best toglycogen replenishment.However, for some athletes, there are barriers that need to be overcome to meet this immediatepost-exercise nutrition need. This includes not feeling hungry or not having the correct nutrition
available.Positive steps must be taken to overcome these. Have nutrition available. If you cant stomacheating, then drink your nutrition (energy drinks, carbohydrate mixes). Find nutritional sources thatagree with you, and use these.If you are quite lean (meaning your body fat content is low), you should also ensure that yourenergyreplacement includes a balanced diet that has FAT and protein in it. Your overall energy needs arehigher than someone who has not discovered long distance runs or triathlon training yet (poorpeople). So meet your higher energy needs and balance the sources of your energy: about 50-60% from carbohydrates, 15% from protein, and up to 30% from fat.Reducing your physical exercise is a good idea for 4-5 days after a punishing race. This does notmeanjust lying around doing nothing, although that may be the order of the first day or so aftercompeting. You will want to spend time actively stretching those tired and tight muscles, and bythe 4th or 5th day, a light spin on the bike or some easy laps will help to keep your mind happywhile you rest the muscles, tendons, joints and bones of your body. This is what is called "relativerest" with components of "active recovery."The sports recovery period is a useful time to catch up with equipment maintenance matters. Andin the long run, these really do matter. Clean the sea water out of your running shoes, wash yourbike and take it to the shop for a tune-up, wash those hard-worn heart rate monitor straps and, soon.Finally, there is massage. Do I detect some glee out there? The aim of massaging tired achingmuscles is to relieve the tension that has built up in the muscles, as well as to assist in theremoval of chemicalsubstances that build up during exercise and as a result of cell activity. So, just as top cyclingteams bring their own masseuses to races (especially cycling tour competitions), you can helpyour body along with some judiciously administered massage. And if aches or pain persist,perhaps there is an injury that needs some attention from your sports doctor. The recovery periodis a great time to have this managed, to deliver you in optimal shape as you return to trainingagain.All in all then, sports recovery is not something which every athlete thinks about, and some do itbetterthan others. Its something you should invest your effort into as much as you do your sportsperformance training preparations. It is an integral part of restoring your body to a condition whichallows you to enjoy regular and continuous challenging training and competition.Dr Low Wye Mun is a sports physician practicing at The Clinic @ Cuppage in Singapore. A Fellowof the American College of Sports Medicine, he serves on the ACSM International RelationsCommittee. Dr Low also lectures for the Singapore Sports Council & the Blackburn Collegediploma programme. More details at http://www.sportzdoc.com
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