Wednesday 6 March 2013

Recovery & Supplements

   Recovery is such an essential part of training and athletics. It's when your body actually grows stronger. Pushing yourself to the edge for too long without proper recovery will lead to fatigue, over-training and eventually a full collapse. This I know all too well. "Not" training has always been the most difficult for me. Curbing my desire to continually give it my all does not come naturally. I am getting better at listening to my body or at least knowing when the message it is sending me is a serious one. Being well rested allows you to go full out for your workouts and do them with enthusiasm.

  I do a have a secret for immediate recovery though. It's my personal recovery drink. Gatorade, Powerade and the rest are good, but for me either contain too much sugar or artificial sweeteners which I avoid like a plague. I did some research last year when I saw a weird, cloudy drink being handed to the athletes during the long distance swim event in the 2012 Olympics. After some research, as well as my own trial and error I did come up with a cheap, effective recovery sports drink. Taste can be decided by personal preference. 

Ryan's Recovery Potion:

1-1.5L of water
Juice of half a lemon (lime, orange - citrus)
Tbsp of honey
1/4 tsp of liquid chlorophyll
1/8 tsp of salt (approx.)

   Water is obvious and for hydration. Lemon benefits are many and listed in my "alkalizing my body" post, but for this purpose it's taste and provides potassium. Honey provides both taste to balance the salt and tartness of the lemon, as well as providing the much needed carbohydrates. Chlorophyll contains rapid delivery magnesium and a whole host of other benefits explained in the previously mentioned post. Finally salt or sodium one of the key elements in hydration. Without Sodium, too much water intake can cause hyponatremia. This occurs when the ratio of water to sodium in the body is too far out of balance and the body's cell begin to swell with water intake. Symptoms include cramps, muscle spasms, confusion, headache and vomiting caused by brain swelling, leading to coma or even death. I'm not a doctor or nutritionist so I cannot recommend this drink for anyone, but it has served me well.

   I would also like to talk about some of the supplements I take on a regular basis. My diet as a vegetarian is full of vitamins and minerals, but I feel some of my nutritional needs require supplementation due to the stress and strain training places on my body.

The following I take on a daily basis and I've included their intended use.

Protein Powder:
Although I feel I get enough protein from my diet as I do still eat eggs, as well as rice and greens, as an athlete I like to supplement it. I use a vegan protein powder as it uses proteins from plant based sources such as brown rice. Some research has lead me to the belief that whey is very acidic to the body.

It's been recommended from many reputable sources that everyone could benefit from a multivitamin once a day.

Microorganisms that live in our digestive tract and keep us healthy by inhibiting the grown of unhealthy bacteria.

Vitamin D (winter only):
Regulates calcium and phosphate in bloodstream, builds bones and part of a healthy immune system. We can get enough in one hour from the sun on a nice day, but need bare skin for that so in winter I supplement.

Since becoming a vegetarian I have now scaled back on my daily supplements and use the one listed below only after training:

B Vitamin Complex:
Great for energy, immune system functions and metabolism.
  Greens Plus:
Great source of antioxidants.

Alpha Lipoic Acid:
One the super antioxidants. It helps to stop heart disease, collagen breakdown (skin, bone, tendons, etc) and controls inflammation.

Antioxidant and immune system booster.

Assists in carbohydrate metabolism and insulin production.

   Once again I'm not a doctor or nutritionist and cannot recommend this to anyone. This is simply what I have discovered works for me.

   One other thing I would like to mention here concerns recovery and although is not diet related I do feel it is an integral part of my training process. A healthy diet and some supplementation can really help to speed up the healing process after the damage of training, but you have to do some upkeep from the outside in as well. This is where massage, rolling stretching and icing comes in.

   Massage and rolling are basically the same thing. Now I'm not really talking here about the type of massage that feels good while you're on the receiving end, more like the kind you think you may die from because of the pain. That being said it is a vital part of keeping your body injury free during training or at least enhancing recovery time. Both massage and rolling promote tissue regeneration by reducing or breaking up scar tissue, as well as increasing circulation which carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Rolling is done by a variety of instruments. The best part is you can do it yourself and it only takes a few minutes. After having it recommended to me by several trusted people I have used it to recover from multiple calf strains and Achilles tendonitis. I now swear by it. I always follow it up with light stretching of the affected areas, but I also do a nightly stretching routine anyway. After all rolling and stretching comes the magic cure. It's better than NSAIDs, such as Ibubrofen for controlling pain and inflammation. Ice Ice Baby. Who knew that the Vanilla rapper from the eighties had so much to teach us. I have used ice for years and always try and promote its' amazing powers. I have used it to successfully control arthritis in my knees, tendonitis in my Achilles, muscle, tendon and ligament strains of all kinds. Not to mention general bumps, bruises, aches and pains. It even helps my migraines. Combined, these techniques are truly magnificent. Massage and rolling will break up the scar tissues and get fresh blood flowing in. It helps the muscle or tendon to gain more range of motion so it can be lightly stretched to help remove knots. The ice will remove swelling caused by excess fluid. In the words of the great Beastie Boys "We're triple trouble ya'll, we're gonna bring you up to speed"

1 comment:

  1. I've witnessed his ability to recover first hand. Though the chlorophyll, lemon, honey and salt concoction is really gross IMHO.
    We share all the rolling devices which are lovely.