Increasing the speed and quality of recovery is vital for achieving maximum gains in all facets of training. Muscles, joints, and connective tissues need to repair and re-energise, as does the central nervous system (CNS).
Q: What should I eat to recover better?
A: First and foremost, it is important to give your body all the nutrients it needs to recover with a good diet and supplementation. The following supplements may be helpful:
* Protein (whey powder throughout the day, whey/casein mixture before bed)
* Glutamine (an important amino for muscle repair)
* Glucosamine (assists in the repair of joints and connective tissues)
* Antioxidants (reduces muscle damage if taken immediately after exercise)
Q: Should I just lay around on my off days?
A: Contrary to popular belief, total rest is sub-optimal for the recovery of muscles. It is better to lightly exercise or stimulate them to increase the blood flow to the area – this will ensure that the required nutrients are readily available (and toxins are removed) and will encourage faster recovery. Studies have shown that 20 minutes of light/moderate cardio after heavy lifting will reduce lactic acid buildup by 90%.
Q: What else can I do to recover faster/ not hurt?
Some or all of the following are recommended:
- Take contrast baths/showers (as hot as bearable for 2 minutes, then as cold as possible repeated three – five times)
- Active recovery (light exercise such as moderate cardio, bodyweight resistance, etc)
- Massage the sore muscles
- Do some stretches to increase your blood flow
- Get more sleep (8+ hours per night)
Q: What is Overtraining?
A: Overtraining can affect the CNS, the muscles, or usually both. A good workout plan will go a long way towards avoiding overtraining but it is still important to be able to recognise it and act accordingly when necessary.
If the signs are missed or ignored, the manifestation of overtraining will become obvious in the form of reduced workout quality. You will probably fail to complete the last reps or sets of the very first exercise. At this point you should consider just stretching off and going home. Certainly the most you should do is a very light workout preferably on safe machines using less fatigued muscle groups.
Q: What are the signs of Overtraining?
Early signs of overtraining onset include:
- Bad mood
- Poor sleep
- Mental or physical fatigue
- Increased recovery time (especially soreness and stiffness)
- Small injuries
Q: What should I do if I overtrain?
Take between 1 and 2 weeks off from heavy training, focusing instead on active recovery/cardio, skill training, and possibly lightly training neglected muscle groups (such as rotator cuff, calfs, neck). When you feel good again, go back and eclipse all your records.
Last edited by Clint; 12-05-2006 at 12:12 PM.