Tips for post-workout recovery

Rendimiento Deportivo y Recuperación

The most effective TIPS to recover better after each workout.

  1. What is the concept of recovery?
    1. The importance of recovery for sports performance.
    2. What are the fundamental aspects for a good recovery?
  2. Food or post-workout nutritional recovery
  3. Recovery and rest
  4. Bibliography

01 | What does the concept of Recovery consist of?

Achieving good levels of recovery is, without a doubt, one of the most important goals for any athlete. It is also a great challenge for sports physiologists.

It is a multifactorial aspect. It depends on many different factors such as:

  • The fitness of the athlete
  • Your levels of psychosocial or work stress
  • The balance of the Microbiota
  • Genetic factors
  • General state of daily hydration
  • Type of sport
  • Quality and hours of sleep
  • Post-training nutritional approach

In this article we will deal with the last two and in the future we will break down the others, point by point, since they require a lot of depth of analysis.

The concept of recovery could be understood as the body's ability to return to homeostasis values (balance) after receiving training for a given period of time. The objective of training is that once this new balance is restored, is in a higher physiological state than when we started training.

This is called positive overcompensation and keeping it constant will be the result of a good recovery training after training.

01.01 | The importance of recovery in sports performance

As we discussed in the previous section, improving will depend on having a good recovery. But beyond continuing to improve our sporting level, the importance of recovering well also affects other areas outside of sport.

Performing physical activity is recommended, we dare to say that it is essential for any human being since we are designed to move, and a lot! Different studies determine that we should move between 5 to 8 hours a day... but training is something else!

Training for a competitive purpose or with physiological improvement objectives implies added stress for our body that, without a doubt, will be beneficial for health, as long as let's consider the recovery.

Otherwise, the stimuli of vigorous intensity training can have undesirable results for our well-being:

  • State of sustained fatigue
  • Recurrent muscle injuries
  • Cramps
  • Lack of concentration at work
  • Joint injuries
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Irritability

These are some of the aspects that we must avoid by correctly approaching the recovery of each training session

01.02 | What are the fundamental aspects for a good recovery?

As we listed in the first section, it is a multifactorial concept that depends on countless factors, each one with a different percentage of influence depending on the person, but we consider these the fundamental ones:

  • Nutritional and hydration status:

Understanding at this point both the nutritional recovery chosen at the end of our training, and above all, our daily nutritional status independent of our sport.

Apply the famous 80/20 rule: it will be useless to have the best recuperator there is, if pizzas, fast food or fried foods appear in our weekly diet.

  • Quality and hours of sleep:

The quality and hours of real sleep are conditioned by many other factors, but we will always have strategies to try to optimize them, and it is during night rest when our body carries out 80% of the processes recovery, anti-inflammation…

02 | Food or post-workout nutritional recovery

Alimentación, Recuperación y Rendimiento Deportivo

In the aspect of nutrition we consider it appropriate to mention that it is not only important the post-exercise nutritional approach but that it is even more important, the quality of the food we eat on a daily basis. It is useless to take the best recuperator with the best formulation and the highest purity protein if our eating habits include processed products that are far from real food.

Bearing this in mind, the post-training recovery approach or strategy takes on a lot of prominence so that our body can restore the desired compensatory balance.

The quantity and quality of the nutrients that we take in our recovery will be of great relevance so that the physiological needs are met.

What is established at the scientific level as the most recommendable would be to ingest high-quality and bioavailable proteins that are from animal and plant sources, to favor different times in protein synthesis or tissue recovery muscle.

At the same time it is essential that our recuperator contains carbohydrates of different glycemic indices, to promote an initial insulin spike and to replenish liver and muscle glycogen stores that we have emptied during our training.

The fats, the great ones abandoned in the recovery, are also essential for some very important functions during this process, and therefore it is important to contemplate them in our recuperator.In future articles we will talk about the different types of fats that exist, but we anticipate that the most beneficial are those that contain a double bond in their carbon chain, the so-called mono and polyunsaturated

Last but not least, we must consider the presence of fiber in our recovery strategy, since it will favor, among other things, intestinal transit and will also participate in blood glucose levels.

03 | Recovery and rest

Descanso, Recuperación y Rendimiento Deportivo

The improvement of our performance, both physical and mental, cannot be understood without a good quality of rest and enough hours for it.

If we think that we are designed to sleep practically a third of our lives, we can understand that it will be a very important process to promote optimal health. If we add sports practice to this and the desired recovery processes are increased, even more.

During the hours of the day when the Sun disappears, our cells are programmed to carry out certain functions that are different from those they produce during daylight hours.

This cellular programming is given to us by millions of years of evolution, and is also known as circadian rhythms.

These cellular rhythms mark the ideal cessation of our daytime activities when the SUN goes down and natural darkness sets in. This would greatly favor all the metabolic processes of our body to occur naturally and precisely.

Recovery is a set of metabolic processes that must occur simultaneously and that will be favored if we adapt our activity-sleep rhythms to these circadian rhythms.

That is why some of the following habits will favor, without a doubt, our recovery and our performance:

  • Try to reduce stressful activities after 8pm in the afternoon.
  • Do not subject the body to efforts of high physical intensity in late hours.
  • Reduce light impacts in hours of natural darkness (screens, mobiles...)
  • Do not eat large amounts of food when it is close to bedtime.
  • Perform reading or meditation to promote falling asleep.
  • Ingest some natural supplement that promotes rest processes (magnesium, infusions...).

These actions, without a doubt, will have a determining weight in our sports and general physiological performance and will help our comprehensive recovery strategy.

04 | Bibliography

Soria, V., and M. Urretavizcaya. "Circadian rhythms and depression." Actas Esp Psiquiatr 37.4 (2009): 222-232.

Javierre Garcés, Casimiro F. Circadian rhythms and sport. Study of the circadian oscillations of performance and some of the factors that affect them. University of Barcelona, ​​1994.

Hernández Cruz, Germán. Analysis of physical performance according to circadian rhythms. Diss. Autonomous University of Nuevo León, 2003.

Vilamitjana, Javier. "Sleep, sport and quality of life." REDAF (Physical Activity Network) Guerrero-Morilla R., et al (2013). Endocrine-metabolic adjustments during the Ramadan fast in (2014).

BURKE, Louise.Nutrition in sports: a practical approach Ed. Médica Panamericana, 2010.

Sanz, José Miguel Martínez, Aritz Urdampilleta Otegui, and Juan Mielgo Ayuso. "Energy, water and nutritional needs in sport." European Journal of Human Movement 30 (2013): 37-52.

Urdampilleta, Aritz, et al. "Muscular fatigue in athletes: physical, nutritional and pharmacological methods to combat it." (2015).


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