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Guilty As Charged…
Lack of Adequate Recovery
Written by: Yolanda Schmidt
Regardless of your status as an athlete in your chosen sport, recovery is a necessity to maximise your performance in and out of competition. You can all agree that pain and fatigue are our greatest training interrupters. However, a rest day allows time to recover physically and mentally.
I decided to write this because it didn’t matter how good my diet was or how many rest days I took, I constantly felt lethargic.
Glycogen stores (energy stores) need to be replenished and you can achieve this through a rest day/s. You are doing yourself more harm than good by over training. Therefore increasing the risk of injury, and can result in reduced athletic performance, staleness and even depression.
By definition, recovery is returning the body to its original condition or better. You are fully aware that sufficient rest is required for your body to recover and allow for optimum performance at training, yet you still over train in fear of being left with a guilty conscience. Even the strongest athletes can be weakened by inadequate recovery time. This recovery period allows for muscle to repair and grow.
…recovery is returning the body to its original condition or better
Recovery in the short and long term
Short term recovery is what you do directly after an intense workout. This may include stretching, replenishing fluids lost and energy stores, and optimising proteinsynthesis (this reduces muscle breakdown). This means eating the correct foods post training. Everything you put in your mouth can assist or deter your recovery. Make healthier, less processed choices. Flushing out of the lactic acid build up in the muscles occurs during this recovery time. Give L-Glutamine a shot as well.
Long term recovery is seasonal. Strategically designed training schedules will include recovery days or periods during a training season. Most coaches adapt training programs by modifying workouts and varying the intensity, time and distance. In a fighter’s case this occurs in the lead up to and post-fight.
However, the largest factor impacting recovery is sleep. Sleep deprivation is highly overlooked as a recovery method. This is where my recovery is lacking, averaging four to five hours a night. When your body is constantly not obtaining adequate sleep you will start to see changes in cortisol levels (stress hormone). This impacts the stress levels, muscular function and recovery, and mood. Sleep deprivation can decrease glycogen synthesis and decrease the activity of the human growth hormone (during the recovery period). As an athlete you require seven to ten hours a night. Let’s be real, this is even a struggle as your average Joe, let alone an athlete in preparation for a competition, and juggling a day job.
It has been proven through research that sleep deprivation can also negatively impact your metabolism, slowing it down, and for a fighter this is not ideal. Similarly, research proves that sleep deprivation reduces reaction time and aerobic endurance, so not only does sleep impact your mood, but it impacts your cognitive ability too. Go take a nap…now!
…Go take a nap…now!
Recovery strategies will effect each person differently. Compression garments, stretching, hydrotherapy, myofascial release (foam roller, acupuncture, and massage), sleep and nutrition are all factors that influence your recovery. Experiment with a variety of strategies to find what enhances your recovery best. Most athletes spend little time dedicated to recovery in the fear of spending too little time in training.
Taking recovery seriously can assist your performance greater than one extra training session can. You have one body, avoid leaving it until you are forced to take time off due to injury or being burnt out. Rest, recover and advance.
You have one body, avoid leaving it until you are forced to take time off due to injury or being burnt out. Rest, recover and advance..
Written by Yolanda Schmidt
Muaythai Fighter : 32 Fights (25W-6L-1D-9KO)
- WKN Australian title
- WMC NSW State Title
- WKA Australian Title
- Thapae Stadium title
- 2x MTA Gold medalist (2014, 2015),
- 2x IFMA Bronze medalist (2015, 2016)
- Australian Female Muaythai Fighter of the year 2015
- Australia’s most inspirational fighter of the year 2016