The name Invincible comes from the feeling an athlete has at the start of either their game, competition or workout. So the way they want to feel at the start of their task is Invincible, like they can do whatever they need to do, no matter what obstacles they encounter, and they can do it to their highest potential. Most athletes may feel this way mentally, but their body may not be at the same level which then leads to inefficiency and/or injury. My goal is to help their bodies match the invincibility that their mind feels, by ensuring that they prepare, perform and recover the best way.
The main part of becoming Invincible is having body synergy. Synergy = collaboration & coorporation. Exaclty the way we want our body to be working to perform and excel. Each component of the cycle of preparation, performance & recovery requires that the body be in sync from a global perspective, meaning all areas that have an impact on your body. If something it missing, another area will try to make up for it and the body will become imbalanced. Just like a soccer player ready to kick some butt mentally, but hasn’t warmed up or taken care of injuries from the previous game. Below I would like to go over recovery specifically because it is vital to make sure your body is ready for the next time you need to perform.
The goal for global recovery: creating optimal environment for the body to go through it’s natural repair process. It order to discuss recovery, here’s a little background info of what happens to your body during exercise followed by important areas to address with recovery.
Normal tissue response to exercise
- Destruction: (good) inflammation – cellular and vascular response to injury. When you exercise, you get little tears in your muscles so they can then build and get stronger!
- Repair: replacement of dead tissue or damaged cells by new cells and matrix(frequent muscle contractions are important during this phase, which is why movement is so important!)
- Remodel: contraction and reorganization of scar tissue. Reshaping and organizing of repaired tissue (cells only remodel with stimulus, like massage/movement!)
- Restore Function: move! Lack of movement creates haphazard tissue arrangement, loading accelerates healing.
Also during exercise there is water loss and sympathetic (i.e. fight or flight) activity increased. If your recovery is not dialed it, you may get stuck in one of the phases of tissue healing above which can create chronic injury and dysfunctional movement patterns. Think of exercise as a very very low level injury. In order to heal the low level injury, all phases must be reached at the proper time!
Post Workout Nutrition
Your nutrition before your workout affects your performance. Your nutrition after your workout affects your recovery. Remember, the goal is to create the perfect environment for your body to continue it’s natural healing process. So eating poor food at the wrong time will delay/stop your recovery and limit your performance! Stephanie Gaudreau of Stupid Easy Paleo has a great guide for what to eat after here, with a brief summary below:
- Timing: 15-30min
- Protein 30-60 grams
- Carbs 5o-100 grams
- Limit fat in 15-30min window
- Not a substitute for next meal
Dehydration doesn’t allow your body to complete it’s natural functions. Then you stress it (in a good way) with exercise and it’s behind on the recovery process already. It’s important to be hydrated at all times, so you can perform at your best and recover from your workout. The stress of exercise creates disruptions in your tissue that need to heal in order to strengthen and repair. Without a hydrated environment, the tissue is unable to heal properly and you may end up with inflammation that lingers longer than it needs to be. Enter injury. In addition, when we do soft tissue work on ourselves (aka mobility) or stretching, a huge part of that is to get things moving to improve nutrient flow to the areas. A dehydrated body creates sluggish blood and poor tissue environment that doesn’t allow the nutrients to get where they need to go. So all the hard work you do to mobilize is being extremely ineffective without a hydrated body.
There are a lot of calculations for how much you should drink. I like this one. Calculate your recommended amount:
0.6 x body weight in pounds = # ounces required
* doesn’t account for sweating/warm weather, so drink more!*
Other important tips:
- Increase for caffeinated/alcoholic beverage (~ 10-12oz water per 6 oz beverage)
- Plain water is not easily absorbed by your body unless it has electrolytes (pinch of sea salt) or is consumed while eating food.
- Your pee should not be clear, it should be yellow. If it’s clear, your body is getting rid of water.
“ There is but one disease and it’s name is congestion” – Paracelsus. Congestion of the tissues shown in the video above don’t allow proper nutrient flow or mobility. You can be fully hydrated, but the water needs to be pulled into your tissue via movement & soft tissue work (aka mobility). The goal of this soft tissue work is to change the tissue matrix from disorganized (from working out, poor posture, injury) to organized. Then the tissue will recover and function properly. “NO biological tissue responds permanently to a single input/stimulus. The fact, forces stimulate an adaptation process that leads us to appreciate the “competition in adaptation” … the winner being the one more frequently performed.” – Lenny Parracino CMT, FAFS. So this stuff needs to be done frequently! Check out my video page for more ideas.
Compression helps to assist circulation and lymphatic system to help the tissues recover. Below are some options. This can be a really simple way to speed up your recovery!
- Compression clothing (socks, pants, etc.). Super easy and convenient!!
- Voodoo floss band
- Marc Pro – low level muscle activation to aid in flushing out tissues without active movement. Doesn’t fatigue your system!
- NormaTec boots – wave form of compression on a superficial level
Our system is built to fluctuate between a sympathetic (fight or flight) state and parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. Exercise brings you into a sympathetic state to perform, but recovery occurs in a parasympathetic state. What happens is a lot of athletes don’t take the time to bring themselves into a parasympathetic state, so they miss that part of the recovery. Our lives are constantly keeping us in a parasympathetic state (work, stress, excitement, etc.) so we need to learn to down regulate our body into a parasympathetic state. Here is a excellent way to take yourself through down regulation, the 5-Ps created by Jill Miller of Yoga Tune Up.
- Position: on back or inverted. pelvis higher than heart. tells brain it’s time to relax.
- Palpation: deep touch tells brain to relax. Gut smashing works really well!
- Pace of beath: focus on in breath increases heart rate and sympathetic, focus on exhale decreases heart rate and increases parasympathetic. HRV
- Perspective: positive mind, journal, stop racing mind, permission to relax
- Place: dark, quiet, distraction free
* TV is not a way to down regulate, as it still stimulates the brain. Also, poor posture leads to increased sympathetic activity and stress on the body. So slouching on the couch is a double whammy bad way to down regulate!
There are many benefits to sleep, but on the side of recovery it is the time when our tissues do some major healing. Poor, interrupted sleep will diminish the quality of your recovery. I have a lot of info on sleep here and here, but below are a few key things to make sure you are aware of.
- Limit phone/comp/TV
- Dark room (black out curtains, eye mask)
- Bedtime same every night
- No caffeine past 12pm
- 7- 8 hours of sleep
I recommend one day of active rest in everyone’s workout week. This usually happens either way with peoples busy schedule, but it’s important to make sure it happens so your body isn’t put through high level of physical stress daily. And the reason I put active is that it doesn’t mean sit on your butt all day. Movement is always important. You can actually use this time to do a yoga class (restorative or east flow), swim, walk, hike, etc which will count as some crosstraining to add in more variability to your training and keep your body from overuse injuries.
Deload is a topic with variable opinions, and the recommendations I’d like to share from you come from Eric Cressey who is a very reputable strength and conditioning coach. In general he recommend every 4-6 weeks to do one of the following depending on your athletic status:
- taking a week where you reduce you overal work percentage by 40%.
- Prehab week
- full rest week (not always needed)
No deload if…
- train only 1-2x/week
- rehab based workouts
- deload within week so every ⅔ days active rest
The body starts to make adaptations for what it does repetitively meaning it gets used to things and the benifits start to plateua. A lot more programming includes cross training (training the body with various direction, weight, speed, volume, etc.), but I still believe it’s important to add in other variabilities to reduce overuse of the same muscle groups and add variety into your movements to really test your body. These can be incorporated into your active rest days. Or during a deload day/week. Just making sure you’re getting different movements. And having fun with it! Training can be serious so it’s important to have a play day:)
“Being supple and resilient requires regular care over a long period of time” – R. Schleip Ph. D