Massage Therapy for Triathletes

Josh Shadle, CMT

Massage can dramatically affect the body on the whole through various techniques and manipulations, improve recovery, and enhance performance. To best understand massage we must first go over a couple basic concepts before we talk about the physiological affects of massage.

Most common types of massage used to help triathletes.

Deep Tissue massage is probably the most effective massage technique a triathlete can receive. When deep tissue massage is used properly, it can break down adhesions, remove trigger points, relieve chronic tension holding patterns, break up metabolic waste, prevent injury, increase recovery time, enhance performance, and much more. Deep Tissue massage is best received well before events or throughout training leading up to races.

Sports massage is usually geared towards athletes. However, it usually doesn’t get to deeper layers like deep tissue massage. Sports massage is very individually based, depending on the sport or activity in which the client normally participates. There is a lot of kneading (picking up the muscle and squeezing) techniques used in sports when working in specific areas. It uses a faster pace than most massages and is mainly geared towards athletes to increase circulation of blood flow before the event, increase oxygen during the event, and helps to eliminate waste after the event.

Swedish massage is considered to be one of the most widely used forms of massage in the United States. Lots of lotion and oil are used to work on superficial layers of the body to increase blood flow. This type of massage is great for relaxation, but it may not get to deep layers where trigger points, adhesions, and possibly scar tissue live. Various techniques are used including effleurage, petrissage, friction, vibration and tapotement.

Neuromuscular massage is extremely broad in what it can do for an athlete. Neuromuscular massage includes treatments such as myofascial release, trigger point therapy, muscle energy techniques (MET’s), cross fiber friction, Cyriax (cross fiber friction on a specific lesion point), isometric strengthening, postural analysis, functional muscle testing or resisted range of motion testing, and much more. This type of massage is best used for someone who has specific issues such as a high hip, buckling knees, pain in a specific area, recurring pain, chronic pain, a postural dysfunction, traveling pain, balance problems, and much more. A client usually comes in with 2-3 areas that need to be worked and normally 60-75 minutes are spent analyzing the posture, checking alignment, testing range of motion, and then breaking the layers down to the specific muscle or problem. A good neuromuscular massage therapist can determine which muscles need to be strengthened and which ones need to be released. They should also be able to give you isometric exercises to strengthen the weak areas. A good therapist should always give you homework. Common problems among triathletes are weak hips. This can be caused by a functional (muscle related) high hip, which is usually misdiagnosed as a leg length discrepancy. This is something a neuromuscular massage therapist can work with to level out the hips and to strengthen them assuming there isn’t a structural leg length discrepancy and the only way to verify that is by an x-ray.

How often should you receive massage? Massage is most beneficial when receiving it on a regular basis, especially if you are a very active triathlete. The most common amount is once per week because any less its almost starting over every time you come back in for a massage, depending on the amount of training you participate in. The idea is to make a big difference and the problem with coming in any less is that it is very difficult to break down layers of the body or even the whole body when frequent visits aren’t made. Try to find an affordable massage therapist who meets your needs and stick with them, try not to jump around therapists.

There are many physiological affects that happen under a therapist’s hands. By decreasing the damage done by heavy training, aiding in recovery, and reducing fatigue, massage allows you to train harder, longer, and more efficient thus giving you better performance while preventing injury. Keeping your body in tune is vital, whether you’re going sub-4 hours in a half ironman or doing your first sprint triathlon.

Known benefits of massage therapy:

– According to Elliot Greene of American Massage Therapy Association, when massage has been substituted for rest, massage has been recorded to show 20-75%, even 100% muscle recovery, that is why you usually see boxers getting massage between rounds instead of resting.

– Break up metabolic wastes thus reducing that fatigue feeling when you shouldn’t be feeling fatigued, like at the beginning of a workout. Metabolic wastes build up either by vigorous activity or by inactivity. Massage works like a pump, like the heart pumps the blood, massage dramatically moves wastes and lymph though the lymphatic system, which does not have a pump. Metabolic wastes is composed of nitrogenous wastes from the breakdown of proteins, inorganic phosphorus, sodium chloride (salt), excess water, carbon dioxide from increased respiration, and urea (AMTA Elliot Greene & Human Anatomy & Physiology). Basically massage increases the body’s ability to make the necessary secretions and excretions.

– The oxygen capacity of the blood can increase 10-15% after a massage (AMTA Elliot Greene).

– Neuromuscular Massage can specifically help with balancing out muscles by loosening contracted (shortened) muscles and stimulating weakened/flaccid (stretched out) muscles. What does this mean to a triathlete? By releasing contracted muscles, it may make the weak ones stronger promoting more efficient training, which increases performance in the long run. Massage gently stretches out the muscle and connective tissue that surrounds the body by reducing tension without irritating the muscle. It is also vital to know which muscles need to be stretched out vs. stretching every single muscle when certain muscles may already be stretched out. A therapist should be able to show and prove this to you.

– Lactic acid and carbonic acid build up after exercise begins. These waste products irritate nerve endings and muscles thus affecting performance. These waste products can lead to cramping if not flushed out. As you exercise, acids are formed when glycogen in the muscles and liver are burned to keep you going. Pain persists until these acids are stored again or flushed out via the lymph system. Once the lymphatic system is flushed out, muscle recovery rates increase.

Aches and pains don’t always have to be part of your training; a good coach or a competitive athlete should tell you so. As your training increases for the upcoming season and your body gets in shape, wastes get backed up. Your body needs more oxygen and nutrients than ever before to keep it in tiptop shape. Make sure you listen to your body’s needs so it can lead you to your goals.

After attending 3 years of undergraduate work, Josh Shadle focused his attention to the Boulder College of Massage. Josh is the owner of TRI-Massage and is a local Boulder elite triathlete. Inside triathlon named him an all-american in the 20-24 age group. He currently resides in Boulder and plans to turn professional in the next 2 years. You can find more information about TRI-Massage and appointments at www.TRI-Massage.com or www.joshuashadle.com to find out about his racing career.

An outstanding local contact for Massage Therapy: Bodywork with Results – since 1989 Mark Dauenhauer H.H.P. – 208-365-3176
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St Patricks Day; Racing Weekend

Getting back into the spirit of racing; this St. Patricks Day weekend sort of kicked off the interval training for me.  start.jpgOn Saturday I ran in the Basic 5 and did the 5 miler in 29:07.  I went out too fast (5:16 1st mile) and suffered to recover while still racing the last 4 miles.  I told myself not to go out to fast before the race; but something about run races gets me going out too fast every time.  You’d think I would learn my lesson.  At least when I am racing in a triathlon; I don’t (or can’t) make this error.  Good thing; cause racing is a lot more fun when you pace the race correctly.  I learned this the hard way in swimming at a very early age; now if I can just take care of business in the running side of things….we’ll see, I don’t have another pure running race for a while.finish.jpg

Then on Sunday, I rode in the Slammer road race (30 miles).  It was a windy day and going certain directions in our 2.5 looped course made the dynamics of the race interesting.  I had a lot of fun and gained some speed and power from the race.  There was a 15 to 20 person sprint at the end and I managed a 5th place finish but more importantly my legs are getting closer to being ready for the demands of the upcoming Tri season. 

Basic 5 results:

http://www.spondoro.com/results/basic5/2007/results.pdf

 

Slammer results:

 http://www.spondoro.com/results/slammer/2007/results.pdf.

New SCOTT Plasma Tri Bike

SCOTT_CR1_Plasma_w.JPGSCOTT_Plasma_w.JPG
  
It is the start of a new racing season and this year I will have an actual Tri-bike in my arsenal. The SCOTT Plasma (Thank You SCOTT!) was put together and operational just in time for the Jason Broome Time Trial; a 10 mile windy ride. I only rode it once to work but it felt like I had the fit dialed in with the help of Hyde Park Cycle Sports and Wobble-Naught. The bike feels super fast and is a sheer joy to ride. I look forward to many fast splits on this bike; I certainly won’t be able to blame the bike if I don’t go fast. In the JB Time Trial I went a 22:55 and felt much better on the second half of the out and back course. It felt good to have a strong effort after so many months of base type training.
Results for the Jason Broome Memorial;.

Run hills, race fast

By Amanda McCracken and Mike Ricci

March 24, 2007 — You know the part of the race when you feel you’ve hit the wall?  Maybe you are on a hill or the flattest section of the course. Your mind is telling your legs and arms to drive, pump or fire like pistons, but your muscles are crying out for mercy. We are demanding them to perform at a rate at which they are not conditioned. Our body can not supply the blood and oxygen that our hip flexors, in particular, are requiring to meet the demands of the coach inside our heads. Well, at least you’ve done your mental homework. But have you neglected working regular hill drills into your routine?  Perhaps you do them but don’t know why. Do you vary the type of workouts? How do you approach the hill?

One of the most famous proponents of hill training is Olympic coach Arthur Lydiard.  His hill circuit training required the athlete to bound (focus on horizontal motion), or leap (focus on vertical motion) up the hill. Lydiard concentrated a great deal on hill running form to promote efficiency.  Driving the knees, for example, is one aspect on which to focus, as well as toeing-off and slapping the heel to the buttocks. When done at a slower pace, a runner can focus more on technique and may actually feel more soreness than he/she expects from drill like repeats.  Consider a weight routine in which you are lifting and lowering the weight more slowly: It hurts more! Gravity is our resistance on the hills.
The first cycle of hill workouts in a Lydiard season is geared towards strength.  It consists of 6-8 repeats on a 1,000 meter moderate incline. As the season progresses and the focus changes to explosive speed, the repeats increase to 8-10 and the length of the hill shrinks to 275 meters. The stride down the hill is always fast but in control. After reaching the bottom of the hill, Lydiard had his runners run about 250 meters in between 800 and 1600 pace.  For Lydiard, who primarily trained track athletes, hill workouts were focused on after the base phase of building mileage. However, incorporating hills throughout the season has proven to be an effective way to improve efficiency (work harder and use less energy) without peaking too early (as sometimes happens with track workouts done too early in the season).

According to Stacy Osborne, an avid runner and podiatrist in the Cincinnati area, many of us ignore the importance of fine tuning our biomechanics – one of the most controllable aspects of our training and keys to improvement. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the leg on the ground that is primarily responsible for generating the power for forward velocity. Rather, it is the non-weight bearing leg (the one in the swing phase), which generates the momentum, by creating a tug on the runner’s center of gravity as it swings forward. The foot on the ground acts as a lever and the runner is thus propelled forward.  Those muscles responsible for this “power stroke” are the hip flexors. These are also some of the most important muscles for cyclists, recruited during the pulling up phase.
 
One of the best ways to strengthen those hip flexors and in turn improve the power of our swing phase is to do hill repeats. As we gain strength, our chances of getting injured are diminished.  Not only will we finesse our charges on inclines and finish line kicks on flats, hill repeats also increase our mental confidence. Once you’ve done 15 X 2:00 of a tough hill, one minute of climbing a similar incline in a race will feel easy. It often surprises people that running hills improves speed. Actually, running hills is speed work in disguise.  Your effort will increase as you run up a hill, even if you reduce your pace.  Moving your body up the hill requires more work than moving it along a flat surface.  Hill running is equivalent to throwing in a surge on the flats. So, in a race, the best way to run a hill is to maintain effort and forget about pace while on the hill. Steady effort is the surest route to a faster time. Trying to maintain pace on the hill is like surging and varying the body’s perceived effort, which will only tire you prematurely.
How else can you build tireless, feisty, power strokes using hill workouts? One way to maintain volume is to do hill fartleks (Swedish for speed play). Pick a course with hills and focus on surging up the hills. If you are doing strict hill repeats, try varying the paces.  For example, if you are doing four sets of three hills, do the first at 5k pace and the second at 10k pace. Focus on slow and exaggerated form on the third hill.  Instead of varying the pace at which you run, you can vary the hill lengths themselves.  If you are working in a group, pair up and run them like a relay such that your rest depends on how long as it takes your partner to get up and down the hill.  Should you decide to run hills by time (i.e. 90 seconds on 5 hills), mark how far you get each time with a rock or little flag. Try to reach or beat that landmark each repeat.  It is also good practice to try to surge over and past the crest of the hill.

How well we run on hills depends on how we approach the hill – the mental factor.  There are many of us that like to see hill repeats as an opportunity to practice conquering or attacking the hill. One tactic is to approach the hill as a friend rather than the enemy trying to defeat us.  Look at it as an animate object providing a spring board to propel us forward – a friendly boost. Another helpful piece of imagery is to imagine strings attached to your hands and the string ends tied to a point at the top of the hill.  As you pump your arms, thrusting your elbows behind you, imagine the strings providing you leverage to pull yourself up more easily. You don’t have to turn your mind off to escape negative, self-defeating talk. Instead, recruit your mind to help you!

As runners, triathletes need to recognize the importance of strengthening our hip flexor muscles. Strong flexors help us maintain a grueling pace, attack a hill, kick with speed on the flats, and protect our bodies from injury. They are an integral piece of training year round that, with variation, can make us more efficient runners and cyclists.

Go ahead, be king of the hill! 

Coach Mike Ricci and Coach Amanda McCracken are both USAT Certified Coaches and can be reached for personal coaching at www.D3Multisport.com

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Loving the water

Having some good swims lately in the pool.  Some highligted workouts straight from my log:

March 13th (short course yards)

Awesome swim work out…fast intervals after running hard!
700 warm up (needed all of this)

6 x 100 on 1:10 –> avg 1:05’s
2 x (4 x 200; 2 on 2:20 then 2 on 2:15)
no rest between sets

1st set avg 2:12’s for second set went 2x 2:17 then 2 x 2:13 (it was 1600 yards at race pace)

4 x 75’s (1st 25 underwater, 2nd easy, 3rd no breath)

March 24 (Long course Meters)

700 warm up
4 x 200 IM kick swim
15 minutes vertical kicking while Jeff swam a 100, then I swam while he kicked (I got thru 6 x 100 avg. 1:11’s)
12 x 100 on 1:25  ->  1:15’s
4 x 50 easy
6 x 100 on 1:20 -> 1:12 – 1:15
4 x 50 easy
3 x 100 on 1:15 -> 1:10’s
4 x 50 easy
100 fast -> 1:05

warm down

I can tell I’m in much better shape becuase the LCM training did not make me as sore or tired as it usually does; considering 98% of the time I train SCY.
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Staying healthy: Riding the “edge” during a build phase

By Melanie McQuaid

March 19, 2007 — The last few weeks have been an exercise in restraint for me.  Depending on how I feel when I wake up in the morning it is either on – meaning it’s go time for the training plan or it’s off – which means a casual morning with the paper is in order.  February and March always seem to be the time of year when an overly ambitious training plan can result in two weeks of antibiotics to kill some nasty bug.  Given the number of people I have been in contact with over the past month with pneumonia, flu or some nasty cold, I know that I am right on the edge of getting sick nearly all of the time.

There are a few things you can do that will help you ride on the right side of that edge.  Usually, we know what the last workout that put you over was or whose hand we shook that we shouldn’t have. The following recovery and health maintenance tips might help avoid your next flu or at least cut the recovery time you may need to get over it.

REST

Obvious!  I think in the winter and during flu time it is important to get enough sleep.  Given that the winter is often viewed as the time of year to build volume, many of us are pushing our limits.  I know that each winter I am setting new benchmarks for total volume completed. 
Part one of resting enough is to make sure you get enough sleep to recover from efforts.  If you are not able to take a nap, make sure you are tucked in bed at a reasonable hour with a book and not parked in front of the television at midnight watching another rerun of Law and Order.  You will be happy you made that decision in the morning.

Part two of rest is making sure you take easy weeks to recover.  If you don’t balance training weeks with rest weeks you will get run down and will probably catch a nasty bug.  Be preemptive – rest before you get sick, not when you get sick.

 

WASH YOUR HANDS

How many times per day do you shake someone’s hand? That person has probably touched ten other people, and inevitably, one of those people has a child at home with the flu. Now when you pick up a sandwich soon you will enjoy the flu as well. The other instance might be a doorknob at home that someone touched on their way in from school or work. Germs are everywhere so compulsive hand washing is a great idea if you don’t want to be ill. When I am gearing up for a big race I will avoid public places and quarantine myself at home to avoid as many potential germ spreaders as possible. This time of year I am much mellower and just wash my hands a lot.

NUTRITION

Often a crappy diet is the main reason why people get sick.  I always suggest that everyone add as much color as possible to your diet.  Instead of white pasta, choose brown. Choose purple, orange, red and bright green vegetables. Colorful means nutrient packed. Your diet is the strongest impact on your overall health, so take a good look at it.  Although a glass of wine with dinner is good for your heart, if you have a sore throat and you add some alcohol you may end up ill. Alcohol will certainly depress your immune function.
ANTIOXIDANTS

I like to take more antioxidants in the winter or when I think I am at risk for catching something, like when I am flying or during and after a hard training block. I take USANA vitamins, which are guaranteed to not be contaminated. By adding a bit more vitamin A, C and E, along with some Zinc and Selenium for immune system boosting, often I can avoid illness. There are also homeopathic products with Echinacea and reishi mushroom that can help if you already have something and want to get rid of it. Taking these products does not give you a free ticket to exercise; you still have to cut the training if you are sick.

COMMON SENSE

Most of us know when we are on the edge of illness, just as we can sense an injury before it actually happens. The key is to quit while you are still ahead. It is always true that a couple of days off while you are healthy will be better than a week off being sick.  Although all of us make that mistake over and over, it is still good to think of it when you have the option to quit while you are still healthy.

Good luck with happy, healthy training!

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Endurance Recovery

Bob Seebohar MS RD CSCS Director of Sports Nutrition, University of Florida

Talk to ten endurance athletes and you’ll get ten different post-workout recovery concoctions. Should you focus on protein, vitamins, carbohydrates or simply purchase one of the many recovery products that line store shelves and appear in magazine ads? Most supplement ads tout ‘maximum recovery,’ but it’s important to maintain awareness of some key principles with solid clinical research supporting their effects. Keep in mind that no supplement will allow you to go from a sedentary lifestyle, or one with limited training, to a 20 hour per week training schedule overnight. Gradually increasing the volume and intensity of your training will allow physical and physiological changes on the structural and cellular level, which support strong performance increases. The following recommendations can help you stay fueled during your scheduled training program and during periods of high mileage and intense training.

 

Recover from what?
Before getting into the importance of additional nutrients in recovery, we need to ask the question, recover from what? Since endurance athletes are involved with such varied workouts, there is no single product or magic food that can supply what is needed for all these workouts. Workouts and races come in many different lengths and intensities, and two types of workouts in particular are of utmost importance to recover from: glycogen depleting or maximum lactate. A glycogen depleting workout is one during which you have put in enough hours to deplete the glycogen stores in your working muscles and are on the brink of bonking. A century ride or a two and a half hour run at moderate intensity are good examples of glycogen depleting workouts.  During training sessions when you exceed your  lactate threshold (AKA anaerobic threshold), you are in the realm of maximum lactate workouts. Characterized by considerable lactate buildup in the working muscles, these workouts involve repeat intervals nearing your maximum heart-rate combined with a period of rest. You can see why it’s important to know what you are recovering from before you decide what to use for recovery.   Most other workouts do not need special recovery strategies as long as duration and intensity are lower than the workouts just described.   Be wary of general recommendations that are entirely too broad to be effective.

The following are the most important nutritional strategies to focus on for optimal recovery.   Remember that these focus entirely on post-workout recovery.   True nutrition recovery begins before a workout since you want to make sure your fuel and fluid stores are full prior to exercise (this helps to speed the post-workout recovery process).

#1: Water, water, water:
The backbone of any recovery program is always water! Water alone can give substantial benefit in your recovery, but even greater gains can be found combining it with other nutrients. However, no other nutrient or magic pill will work without water as its backbone. All cellular reactions, including the basis of ATP production (electron transport-oxydative phosphorylation) require water and oxygen. Without water, the entire process of converting nutrients to glycogen and protein is limited. Choose water first, whether by itself, in a formulated sports drink or through foods such as fruits.

 

Keep in mind that the average fluid loss during exercise is 1-2 liters (33.6 to 67.2 ounces) per hour. Some individuals may lose even more than that during intense workouts/races in extreme heat and humidity!

It is recommended to drink 20-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.

#2: Replenish your carbs:
Following water, the second most important nutrient group to consider is not proteins, but carbohydrates. The primary fuel source for endurance athletes is glycogen…period! If you don’t restore your fuel, you aren’t going anywhere fast, and some carbohydrates are better than others at restoring glycogen to the working muscles.  Keep in mind that a window of opportunity exists where your depleted muscles open their acceptance to this fuel, further allowing for maximum replenishment. Depending on what data you reference, this window is somewhere between 20 minutes and two hours following exercise.

 

To keep things simple, always try to start your recovery immediately following exercise. During this time, insulin sensitivity is at is highest. Insulin, which allows sugar to flow into your bloodstream, works most efficiently immediately following exercise. In addition, high glycemic carbohydrates are broken down easily and further increase the flow of glucose into the bloodstream. This glucose can then be converted to glycogen in your working muscles, in essence ‘filling your tank.’ To ensure you have refilled your glycogen fuel tank to the top, always practice using a high glycemic recovery product/food immediately following exercise. Glucose (also known as dextrose), a high glycemic carbohydrate, is twice as effective at restoring muscle glycogen as fructose, a low glycemic carbohydrate. Whether a carbohydrate is a simple sugar or complex carbohydrate makes little difference on the recovery rate – the key for post-workout nutrition recovery is the food’s glycemic index.(Gonzales, Roberts, Roy) Whether a food is a liquid or solid will not make a difference either, though some claims state that liquids offer more efficient absorption. But remember, regardless of the form, the glycemic index is a direct indicator of the breakdown of the food into your bloodstream and is most useful as a tool to help select foods for post-workout recovery.

It is recommended to eat 1.0-1.5 grams of carbohydrate (high glycemic index) per kilogram of body weight immediately after exercise to promote optimal recovery.

Here is a short list of high glycemic index foods. A more complete Glycemic Foods list is available at www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm

plain bagel
Rice Chexs
baked white potato
 
dark rye break
Rice Krispies
pretzels
 
bran flakes
Total cereal
skittles
 
white bread
Instant cooked rice
Gatorade
 
Cheerios
short grain white rice
watermelon
 
Cocoa Krispies
Graham Crackers
sucrose
 
Corn Bran
Vanilla Wafers
Soft drink
 
Crispix
Saltine Crackers
Dates
 
Grapenuts
glucose
Maltodextrin
 
Raisin Bran
  
 
#3: Protein demands:
Over the last ten years the media, the body building world, fad diets, and new research have made protein the magic nutrient for recovery. Proteins play many critical roles aiding in recovery, including the building of new tissue; as a primary constituent in cell membranes and internal cell material; comprising the enzymes which allow the body to function and breakdown fat, carbohydrates and other proteins; aiding in blood clotting; acting as a critical agent in muscle contraction; and aiding in regulation of acid-base balance. Though protein is critical in many aspects of recovery, it always works better when combined with carbohydrates. A high protein meal or nutritional product with little or no carbohydrates is relatively ineffective for any endurance athlete as a recovery product. On the other hand, protein added to high glycemic carbohydrates can actually further increase the shuttling of glycogen back into the working muscle. Protein is not a preferred fuel source for your depleted muscles, and ingesting too much protein following a workout may actually hinder the resynthesis of muscle glycogen.

Six to twenty grams of total protein is recommended in the nutrition “window of opportunity” following exercise.

#4: Electrolyte demands:
With excessive sweat, the body may also require the replenishment of electrolytes. The primary electrolytes lost in sweat are sodium, chloride, potassium and phosphorus. Electrolyte replenishment only becomes problematic for those athletes who consume only water during a long exercise bout in heat, or poorly designed electrolyte replacement and energy drinks. A ‘during race’ nutrition plan should always contain some electrolytes in order to keep homeostasis. With excessive sweat, body fluids can become hypotonic (low in electrolytes) when not replenished. The key here is to simply make sure what you drink and eat following exercise contains some or all of these electrolytes. Be careful not to drink plain water following exhaustive exercise. Water alone will actually dilute your electrolytes even further, and may cause additional nausea. Most sports drinks contain sodium. The better sports drinks will focus on all of the key electrolytes in doses large enough to help you replenish your lost stores.

 

Notes from the Endurance Research Board:

Your recovery nutrition plan should begin even before you finish your workout.  Maintaining adequate hydration and carbohydrate intake during exercise can both improve your performance in your training sessions and help you recover more quickly.  Plan ahead to have your recovery nutrition foods immediately following each training session and/or race.  Be sure to include foods and/or drinks that are easy for you to consume during the recovery period.  While whole foods offer all the benefits of complete recovery nutrition, recovery drinks are often easier to prepare and more palatable at the end of an intense training session or race.  Think ahead to get ahead!   
By Neal Henderson, MS CSCS

 
Focusing on these four nutrients in the post-workout recovery window will offer you a more efficient and faster recovery from your glycogen depleting or maximum lactate training sessions or races. Here is a list of further recommendations to assist you in your post-workout nutrition plan:
1) Your recovery starts before you start working out. Make sure you are properly fueled prior to exercise and replenish lost water, carbohydrates and electrolytes during exercise. Most athletes look at their post-exercise nutrition program as primary for recovery even though what is consumed prior to and during exercise is equally as important.

2) Water is the king of all recovery nutrients. Your first line of defense is to drink plenty of fluid (not plain water), as a Sports Drink during exercise. Ideally the drink will have easy to digest carbohydrates and all electrolytes in advanced levels. Plenty means 20 -24 Oz fluid for every 1lb. of body weight lost during exercise (Gonzales)

3) As an endurance athlete, your next line of defense is carbohydrate replenishment. Always remember that carbohydrates are your preferred fuel source. Carbohydrates, not protein, are the nutrients which fuel your workouts and if not replenished will negatively impact your performance. The Glycogen depleting workout requires 1.5g/kg body weight of high glycemic carbohydrate immediately following workout. Maximum lactate or Power workouts which do not deplete your glycogen don’t require as much carbohydrates post exercise. Cutting your carbohydrate’s down to about ½ is likely sufficient.   

4) In order to repair microfiber muscle tears and rebuild what has been damaged due to a hard workout, protein is key. Approximately 6g to 20g of a quality protein should be adequate in restoring amino acid levels in the blood and nitrogen balance. However, too much protein may hinder glycogen resynthesis, so don’t grab for that Body Building supplement with 50g of Protein. Glycogen depleting workout: 4:1 ratio of high glycemic carbohydrate to protein. Maximum lactate workouts require greater muscle recruitment and hence greater tissue damage and repair. Following these workouts protein is necessary to help rebuild muscle, though this can be supplemented with less carbohydrates (see recommendation above). A ratio closer to 1:1 is a good target. Isolated or Hydrolyzed Proteins are absorbed more quickly than food proteins or Protein Concentrates. To maximize your protein absorption immediately following exercise look for products using the higher quality Protein Isolates and Protein Hydrolysates.

 

5) Key amino acids further support complete recovery.   To improve recovery a supplementation program which includes at least 5g of Glutamine and 4g of the Branched Chain Amino Acids Leucine, Iso-Leucine and Valine can make a considerable difference.
 
6) The primary electrolytes lost in sweat are sodium, chloride, potassium and phosphorus. Make sure your recovery program contains these key electrolytes, especially when exercising in heat or for a long duration. Proper levels of these electrolytes will keep you in water balance, which affects virtually all body functions.

7) Improvement from hard exercise happens during sleep, not during your workout. Without proper rest between hard workouts, your body will not adapt and improve. If you are lacking proper sleep, hard workouts are useless and can actually send you into a downward spiral of increasingly worse performances.

 

References:

Blom PCS, Hostmark AT Vaage D, Kardel KR, Meahlum S. Effect of different post-exercise sugar diets on the rate of muscle glycogen synthesis. Medicine Sports and Exercise. 1987; 19: 471-496.

Burke LM, Collier GR, Hargreaves M. Muscle glycogen storage after prolonged exercise: effect of glycemic index. Journal of Applied Physiology. 1993; 75: 1019-1023.

Gonzales-Alonso J, Heaps CL, Goyle EF. Rehydration after exercise with common beverages + water. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 1992; 13: 399-406

Ivy JL, Lee MC, Broznick JT, Reed MJ. Muscle glycogen storage after different amounts of carbohydrate ingestion. Journal of Applied physiology. 1998; 65: 2018-2023.

Maughan R, Leiper JB, Shirreffs SM. Re-hydration and recovery after exercise. Sports Science and Exercise, 1996; 9:1-4 

Reed MJ, Broznick, T Lee MC, Ivy JL. Muscle glycogen storage post exercise: effect of mode of carbohydrate administration. Journal of Applied Physiology. 1989; 66; 720-726 

Roberts KM, Noble EG, Hayden DB, Taylor AW. Simple and complex carbohydrate rich diets and muscle glycogen content of marathon runners. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 1988; 57: 70-74

Roy B, Tarnopolsky M, MacDougall J, Fowles J, Yarasheski K. Effect of glucose supplement timing on protein metabolism after resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1997; 82 :1882-1888.

Volek J, Fraemer W, Bush J, Incledon T, Boetes M. Testosterone + cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients + resistence exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1997 82: 49-54.
Wolfe, RR. (2001). Effects of amino acid intake on anabolic processes. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. 26(suppl.): S220-S227..