Enjoy the Ride

Enjoy the Ride

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Adequate Recovery for Optimum Fitness

The more you train, the more fitness you’ll gain, right? Wrong! Fitness gains actually occur during periods of rest when the body has a chance to adapt and recover from the stress of training, not during the training session. So the reality is the more intensely you train, the more rest and recovery time you’ll require. Many athletes are guilty of not including enough rest and recovery in their training regime. Since I live in South Florida, where the weather permits training outdoors year-round, I often witness the symptoms of overtraining amongst amateur and even elite level cyclists. Ignoring the early symptoms associated with overtraining can create performance setbacks that take weeks, even months to recover from. Hereare a few signs you might be over-trained and tips on how to recover between workouts.

Signs you might be over-trained:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Indecisive mood or easily irritable
  • Frequent colds, coughs, illness or injury
  • Heavy legs even after a day of rest

Try these suggestions on how to better recover between workouts:

  • Active rest – light exercise such as swimming or very easy spinning for 60 minutes or less can sometimes be more beneficial than a day of complete rest. The key is the workout out needs to be easy enough to simply increase blood flow to the working muscles without producing too much muscular force.
  • Massage – just like active rest, massage increases blood flow to muscles and circulates fresh nutrients to speed the recovery process.
  • Stay hydrated – muscles are composed of about 80% water, so being as little as 2-3% dehydrated will instantly decrease performance and increase recovery time. During rides consume at least 8oz of a sports drink every 15 minutes that contains 50-75mg of sodium per 8oz.
  • Cyclists need carbohydrates – a diet high in carbs (60-70%) is best. During long rides take in 50-100g per hour to prevent muscle breakdown.
  • Refuel – have a snack within 30 minutes after training that includes carbs and protein in a 4:1 ratio. Examples are chocolate almond milk, almond butter on whole wheat toast or Greek yogurt with fresh berries. Follow up with a balanced meal.
  • Sleep – this is when your body releases most of the hormones responsible for repairing and rebuilding the muscle tissue damaged by training. If you train more than once a day, a short power nap will do wonders for the recovery process. If you have troubles falling asleep try avoiding caffeine after mid-day and not eating within 2 hours of bedtime.