The game has ended, your grueling workout is over, and it’s time to rest and recover from the hard battle to prepare for the next one. The question is: How do we make sure we’re maximizing that opportunity?
“Recovery” is all too frequently overlooked by athletes. Most think they can out simply out train it. Well, newsflash, that’s not possible. In fact, the ability to become a better athlete is largely dependent on how well they can recover.
Recovery consists of a number of different factors: eating the right foods, hydrating appropriately, and getting enough sleep. If you can focus on those three areas, you’ll greatly improve your performance on multiple levels: strength, speed, endurance, focus, etc.
Ultimately, proper recovery is to avoid problems such as overtraining or plateauing.
Overtraining can lead to poor performances, fatigue, injuries, and even insomnia. Your first solution to avoid overtraining? Eating right. After a vigorous workouts your body is depleted of nutrients, a quick fix is to keep your glycogen levels high. And we keep these levels high by fueling our body with carbohydrates four hours before training/event and refueling with carbs every 30 minutes after your exercise for up to two hours depending on the intensity level of activity. There’s this huge misconception about carbs. If you’re trying to drop weight, and drop it fast, then cut back on the carbs. But it you want to get bigger, faster, stronger, and recover quickly, you’ll need to keep an ample supply in your diet.
The next piece to maximizing your recovery is hydration. A great rule to follow is the 15 minute rule. This states that every 15 minutes of high intensity activity we should drink a half of cup of water. Keep track of how long you have been playing/training and adjust your water intake properly. Neglecting to stay properly hydrated can have severe impacts on performance, even if you’re only slightly dehydrated. Also, if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated.
Now, eating right isn’t the only thing that helps us rebuild as stronger athletes. We must also get the right amount of sleep. Pulling the all-nighter at the club will change your performance on the field or in the gym the next day. Supreme fitness and consistent partying have never been a worthwhile combination. Athletes should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night to keep their strength for training and for the upcoming games.