Introduction

This post is meant to serve as a follow-up to the recovery seminar we hosted last week. This post will provide an overview of what we covered at the seminar and hopefully serve as an introduction to our basic recommendations for improving your recovery.

As a disclaimer, none of this is medical advice. It is beginner advice based upon our experience and should be taken as such. 

 

What are we going to cover?

1. What is recovery and why should you care?
2. What factors affect your ability to recover?
3. Nutrition Overview
4. Sleep Overview
5. Stress Overview
6. Summary and Practical Recommendations

 

1. What is Recovery and Why Should You Care?

For the purposes of this write-up, we are going to define recovery as the sum of our actions outside of the gym which directly contribute to our ability to regain or exceed our previous capacity. Basically, every time you train, you give your body a STRESS (or signal to get ‘fitter’), and in order to actually get better you need to RECOVER from that stress. This stress is a positive stimulus for change, but only if you take the necessary steps to help your body come back stronger. 

Everyone can benefit from improving their recovery. Whether you are looking to push your max lifts up, improve you WOD times, or just generally improve your quality of life. Recovery is an essential component of the training process. If you want to improve, you have to take your recovery seriously.

 

2. What Factors Affect Your Ability to Recover?

Taking your recovery seriously requires that you focus on two key areas – nutrition and sleep. These two factors will take you a LONG way in terms of your overall recovery. Although there are other things you can try out, they are not even worth considering until you have these two basics dialled in. 

NUTRITION AND SLEEP ARE THE BIGGEST FACTORS INFLUENCING YOUR RECOVERY.

 

3. Nutrition Overview (FOOD)

There are three key factors you need to understand about nutrition.
1. Quantity
2. Quality
3. Timing

If you understand the principles behind these areas and why each of them is important, you can tailor your nutritional needs based upon financial situation, ethical choices, and availabilities. 

Quantity
We want to take in enough food to support performance, but not body fat. The quantity of your food (calories) will be determined by the amount of protein, fats, and carbohydrates you take in on a daily basis. 

We do not feel comfortable getting into super specific recommendations, however, here are some general guidelines which may help. 

Protein – 1g/lb of Bodyweight/day
Fats – as needed to maintain energy 
Carbohydrates – 2-5g/kg of Bodyweight/day

Quality
There are three different macronutrients – protein, fats and carbohydrates. 

And a variety of micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, etc…

You should be taking in foods which supply you with high quality sources of macronutrients, as well as sufficient micronutrients to meet your RDA for each category. The easiest way to do this is to eat WHOLE FOODS. 

A simplistic way to think of your different food categories is:
-    Protein (e.g. meat, eggs, fish, etc…): REPAIR AND TISSUE BUILDING.
-    Fats (e.g. nuts, avocado, oils, etc…): Hormonal function, cellular function, and energy.
-    Carbohydrates (e.g. rice, potatoes, pasta, etc…): ENERGY

We want to take in as high quality foods as possible, which agree with your system, and allow you to feel/perform optimally. This will take a bit of experimentation to figure out but you probably already know areas where you could clean up your diet and foods which to not agree with your system. 

Timing
At the seminar we did not go into a ton of detail about meal timing, and instead chose to focus on your nutrition around your training. For many of our athletes the most important time for you to focus on getting the right foods in is both before and after your workout. This will ensure that you are properly fuelled for your training session, and that you recover optimally from that session. 

Here is our general post workout food timing prescription. 
-    Within 1 hour post workout, take in both protein and carbohydrates (this is a great opportunity for a shake). The amount of protein can stay constant (e.g. 30g for an average male), and the carbohydrate intake will depend on the energy expenditure of your training session. If a training session is incredibly energy intensive (e.g. a 30 minute metcon, or high volume weightlifting) you will want more carbs, if it is less intensive (e.g. a max overhead squat, and 5 minutes of gymnastics skill work) you will need less carbs. A good baseline for carbohydrate intake post workout is 1g/kg BW and you can scale up or down accordingly. 

 

4. Sleep Overview
Sleep is just as important as nutrition for your recovery from training. Without going into the science of it, if you sleep the right amount, and have high quality sleeps you are going to both feel and perform better. 

Our recommendation for sleep is to get 7-9 hours/night, aim for a consistent bed time, and try to minimize excessive stimulation before bed (it is not ideal to watch TV, or be on your computer and then hop right into bed). If you can do those few basic things you should find both your daily energy levels, and training improve drastically. 

 

5. Stress Overview
We did not go into this too much as for us quality nutrition and sleep are the biggest factors you can play with to affect your recovery. That being said, if you are constantly stressed out (in a negative way, ‘distress’) this will have a negative effect on your training. Some of the recommendations we discussed at the seminar were to cut out negative influences in your life, find activities which you enjoy, and maybe even compassionate touching??

Our suggestion is not to worry about this area too much until you can get the other two dialled in. 

 

6. Summary and Practical Recommendations
Once again, this post was not meant to serve as the ultimate guide to recovery, but instead a recap of some of the ideas we talked about at the seminar. 

If you have any questions or would like more information please do not hesitate to contact us!

Some final thoughts on practical recommendations for the areas we discussed above:
-    Pre-making your food, and pre-cutting veggies will make it much easier to stay on track. 
-    Cooking extra portions when you make a meal will ensure you always have a healthy meal option ready to go. 
-    Not bringing bad food into your house in the first place will decrease the likelihood of you eating it. 
-    Trying to tackle your recovery can require some big changes, it is our suggestion that you focus on ONE thing for a period of time and once that becomes routine you can move onto something else. This does not have to be a big thing, it could simply be pre-cutting veggies when you are preparing food, or staying away from your computer before bed. 


For some more information on recovery methods, check out this article from JTS:
http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2014/12/09/everything-need-know-recovering/ 

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