When training and competitions are at the top of your priorities, your recovery is essential. For the 19-20 hours in the day that you don't spend training, you have complete control over your recovery and how well you treat your body. Especially before school gets busy, you have the time to devote to proper sleep and nutrition. Let’s take a look at five specific changes you can make to your daily routine that will help to accelerate your recovery!
1. Sleep More
Being disciplined about your bedtime can make a huge impact on your training. Instead of going through the motions in morning practices, you can wake up feeling more restored from the previous day’s training and ready to hit the ground running. Go to bed one hour earlier than you usually do. See how you feel. Sleep is a key time for the body to undergo protein synthesis so catch some more shut-eye and let your body develop muscle tissue while you’re at it.
2. Eat Protein Pre- and Post-Workout
Athletes need a combination of protein and carbs to get through lengthy preseason workouts. Consuming protein before workout can supply the necessary amino acids to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in the muscles that will be engaged during resistance training1. This proteins synthesis can carry on long after workout has ended if the athlete chooses to refuel properly with more protein after practice. Always remember to balance your protein intake with other necessary nutrients. Your main form of energy is carbohydrate, so try to have both pre- and post-workout.
3. Try Compression Garments
Some athletes opt for compression pants to help accelerate the recovery process. Recent research shows that these tight garments can accelerate lactate clearance from the muscle tissue and reduce heart rate following high-intensity exercise2. These garments can be handy during competition season as well, when quick recovery between morning and evening sessions of a meet is critical.
4. Get on the Foam Roller
Your muscles may feel exceptionally tight the day after a strength training session in preseason. You may not have lifted in awhile, and therefore may feel more broken down. A lot of this tightness can be attributed to tangled muscle and fascia tissue. Rolling out on a foam roller can apply pressure to knotted areas and help release the muscle from the layer of fascia, thereby boosting circulation and helping you get your range of motion back.
5. Try a Power Nap
Research suggests that taking a quick 10-20 minute nap can leave you feeling more energized and alert than a nap lasting 1-2 hours. Between morning and afternoon practice, find 20 minutes to close your eyes. You’ll be able to find an extra gear during afternoon practice and feel an improvement in your mood as well. Remember to set an alarm!
For addition training content, check out this post on how to improve your flexibility.
1. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Aug;281(2):E197-206.
Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Tipton KD1, Rasmussen BB, Miller SL, Wolf SE, Owens-Stovall SK, Petrini BE, Wolfe RR.
2. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Dec;25(12):3264-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31821764f8.
Do compression garments enhance the active recovery process after high-intensity running? Lovell DI1, Mason DG, Delphinus EM, McLellan CP.
3. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2006 Nov;12(6):379-82.
Good sleep, bad sleep! The role of daytime naps in healthy adults.
Dhand R1, Sohal H.