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Ride & Recover & Rest – effective recovery after a cycle!

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We all have sporting goals that we’re striving for, whether an elite athlete or the weekend warrior. Science has proven that the harder we train, the more we need to recover as muscles don’t behave or respond normally when they’re tired. It’s not just the muscles that need to recover, take care of your central nervous system as fatigue can lead to slower neural responses. If you’re tired then it’s obvious that you’re not going to control your body as precisely as you would when firing on all cylinders. 

Since recovery is multifaceted and not just about muscle recovery, here are some very simple ideas and products to help with every step of your recovery and get you feeling on top form to achieve the audacious goals you have planned for the year.

Cool Down

Pre and Post sport routines are essential to warm-up the body and cool-down the body to enable the body to perform at it’s best. It’s common sense yet most people pay little attention to these steps and therefore pay the consequences which is usually injury and longer recovery times away from the sport they love so much.

Simple ways to cool your core temperature is drinking cold water and cooling your body after a hot ride with cool damp towels or immersing in cool water which facilitates blood flow and you get a little bit of vasoconstriction in your skin, which pushes blood back to the central circulation where it can help your muscles. Remember to take a look at the AP Warm-Up cream and Recovery Balm has part of your cool-down routine.

Ice Bath

Personally, I’ve never tried it as it sounds like torture but loads of people swear it’s fantastic. It works by the cold temperature of the bath forcing the blood vessels to constrict so when the body returns to a normal temperature outside of the ice bath, then the blood flow is increased and it is thought to help facilitate the healing process. To me, this still sounds like torture and I’m sure the recovery balm will help you smooth the muscles in a more pleasurable way.

Rub Down

Everyone loves a massage, even when it’s painful as psychologically, we know it’s doing us good. The AP94 massage oil has warming essential oils and nourishing base oils to help the hands glide over those overworked muscles and work deeply on the knots.

Take a look at our previous blog on massage.

Hydrate

Everyone carries a water these days but it’s not what you drink during the event that only counts towards your hydration goals. Aim for over 2 litres of water per day in-between your meals to liquids don’t interfere with dilution of digestive juices when eating meals. Dehydration actually lowers your blood plasma column, which puts stress on your cardiovascular system and makes it more difficult for your vital organs to function at their optimum levels. Number one dehydrator is alcohol as it can impair rehydration and potentially have the opposite effect since alcohol is also a diuretic.

Eat proper protein

Regardless of your athletic level the current dietary intake of protein for a person over age 18 irrespective of their daily physical activity is 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight (example, I weigh 45 kg so therefore need 36g of protein a day as a base)

Protein requirements for endurance athletes are recommended at 1.2g-1.4g per kilogram of body weight on a daily basis. Resistance and strength training athletes may even need more than this.

The additional protein will help promote muscle adaptation and recovery during recovery in a few ways.

  1. It aids the repair of “exercise endured” damaged muscle fibres.
  2. Fuels the muscles giving us sustained energy.
  3. Building blocks to muscle generation

So how much protein directly after your workout is a common question I get asked and I have a simple equation for calculating whether you’re getting enough or on overload, which can cause some digestive issues like bloating, flat ulna even and constipation.

I like the 4:1 ration which is a rough formula and gives you a guideline to find your personal correct amounts since everyone is unique.

Here’s the calculation for post recovery protein:

  1. Convert your weight to pounds (weight in KG X 2.2 = weight in Lbs. Example: 45Kg = 99lbs)
  2. Divide your weight by 2 (this calculates the amount of carbs you can eat) (99lbs divided by 2 = 29.5g of carbs for a post recovery intake)
  3. Divide your weight by 4 (this calculates the amount of protein you can eat) 99lbs devised by 4 = 24.75g of protein for a post recovery intake)

What does 25g of protein look like:

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1 cup of nuts
  3. 1 cup of cottage cheese
  4. 1 cup of Greek yogurt

Immediately popped to mind is a recovery bowl of Greek yogurt, mixed nuts (pistachio, almonds, macadamia, cashews and Brazil nuts, fresh fruit, mixed seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin) with a drizzle of maple syrup!

Each meal or snack should contain a complete protein including lean meats, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds or beans and when in doubt, look at a protein supplement.

Here’s the calculation for post recovery protein:

  1. Convert your weight to pounds (weight in KG X 2.2 = weight in Lbs. Example: 45Kg = 99lbs)
  2. Divide your weight by 2 (this calculates the amount of carbs you can eat) (99lbs divided by 2 = 29.5g of carbs for a post recovery intake)
  3. Divide your weight by 4 (this calculates the amount of protein you can eat) 99lbs devised by 4 = 24.75g of protein for a post recovery intake)

What does 25g of protein look like:

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1 cup of nuts
  3. 1 cup of cottage cheese
  4. 1 cup of Greek yogurt

Immediately popped to mind is a recovery bowl of Greek yogurt, mixed nuts (pistachio, almonds, macadamia, cashews and Brazil nuts, fresh fruit, mixed seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin) with a drizzle of maple syrup!

Each meal or snack should contain a complete protein including lean meats, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds or beans and when in doubt, look at a protein supplement.

Good Carbs

There is a popular anti-carb vibe with all the carb restricted diets like The Atkins diet, South Beach diet, Zone diet and the Paleo diet but take a closer look as sensible carbohydrates choices are imperative for optimal athletic recovery and sufficient glycogen stores.

When exercising, your body uses two main sources of fuel from carbohydrates and fats. The carbohydrates not only come from all the carbohydrates that you eat that travel around your blood stream as glucose they also come from the carbohydrates stored in your liver and muscles. The fats come fro free fatty acids and triglycerides circulating in your blood stream and also the stubborn stored fat we wish our body would use up first.

How you eat and how you train contributes massively on whether you’re burning fat or glycogen when you’re enjoying your sport.

Replacing muscle glycogen stores shortly after exercise with easily digestible, unrefined carbohydrates is a crucial step for optimum recovery.

The best recovery carbohydrates are derived from plant sources like fruits, vegetables, starchy tubers and legumes. They are classified as unrefined as they are mainly eaten in their natural state.

Sleep

There is nothing more rejuvenating for your recovery than sleep. Adequate sleep helps to provide support for not only muscular repair and recovery but mental health recuperation and even helps with your hormones like cortisol, the stress hormone.

How much is enough?

Since we’re all individuals then this can vary between 7-10 hours a night for most people embarking on athletic workouts and lifestyle.

Lack of sleep usually reflects our priorities rather than real constraints. If you are concerned about your sleep quality and quantity, start by figuring out if your sleep is adequate. Just like we recommend a food diary, sleep experts often recommend a “sleep diary“. Are you getting 7-9 hours each night? If not, why? Is it due to poor sleep hygiene, medications, or another negative habit? Get to the root of the problem and start reaping the benefits of adequate sleep time. Second, make good sleep a priority, just like the rest of your healthy habits. Here are several factors to consider when generating a sleeping pattern:

1. Consistency: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake time.  Staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your routine  during the week.

2. Light: Keep the bedroom extremely dark, to tell the body’s light-sensitive clock that it’s time to sleep.

3. Noise: Keep the bedroom extremely quiet or use a white noise  generator (such as a fan).

4. Relaxation/routine: Develop a pre-bed routine that is relaxing and  familiar. Television, work, computer use, movies and deep/stressful  discussions late at night can disrupt sleep.

5. Temperature: Keep a slightly cool temperature in the room, between  66-72 F or 18-22 C.

6. Stimulants: Eliminate stimulants like caffeine/nicotine, especially  later in the day.

7. Exercise: It’s not only good for a tight butt and big guns, it can help  improve sleep.

8. Fullness: Eating a dinner that makes you overly full can disturb sleep.

Stretching

We all agree that the main objective of recovery is to reduce muscle soreness and stretching pre and post exercise can definitely help with this goal.

Stretching not only improves circulation, give a wider range of movement with regular stretching, helps prevent pain, helps to disperse lactic acid and increases energy levels to state a few benefits. These benefits alone should motivate you to add this to your routine so whether you need to stretch your lower back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves or glutes, please investigate and work alongside a professional to adapt the routine and make sure you’re moving correctly and not creating any further damage.

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