R120 is our natural recovery cream packed with copaiba, arnica and menthol - three key ingredients to help reduce muscle inflammation and let you recover faster and perform better.
In anticipation of our R120 product launch, we are going all in on recovery in this month’s newsletter!
Our bodies are capable of amazing things. But to perform at your best you need to recover appropriately. Read on to learn why recovery is so important for athletes and for recovery strategies you can implement to #achieveyourone20percent!
Why is Recovery So Important?
We know that rest and recovery are critical for athletes of all levels. But what does recovery mean? And what should you do to recover properly?
For answers to these and other questions we’ve reached out to the experts.
We asked Assaf Yogev, PhD Candidate at the UBC School of Kinesiology and co-owner of DRKHORSE Cycling, and Noa Deutsch, Bachelor of Sport Coaching & Science at Canterbury University, New Zealand and founder and Head Coach of Performance Training to help us understand the importance of recovery for athletes, and to recommend strategies you can implement right now to enhance your body’s ability to recover.
Assaf Yogev tells us that when it comes to improving performance, be it physical or mental, the most important part of any training program is not how much or how hard you train, but rather what happens when you don't train.
He explains that “During training, tissue damage occurs, muscle glycogen depletes, and over time physical and mental fatigue ensues. Recovery is the domain in which repair and remodeling of any training induced damage or deficiency occurs and is a key factor for any training endeavor.”
Despite the importance of recovery, Assaf says that modern lifestyles and busy schedules often give us little time for proper rest. He says that sufficient recovery cannot be accomplished by just “scheduling it in”, and that real recovery “requires amplification by using various aids to enhance its effect”.
Like what? For Assaf, the key building blocks for any recovery plan include:
- methods that help with replenishing energy storage such as glycogen within fatigued muscles, through high-quality nutrient intake;
- managing tissue inflammation caused by training stress;
- good quality sleep;
- massage; and
- making sure your mind is refreshed and ready for the next challenge.
Assaf says that by incorporating these elements into your training and “prioritizing recovery over training volume and intensity, performance will gain an upward trajectory”.
Noa Deutsch is a former junior elite triathlete who raced at the international level including ITU pro races. Now head coach at Performance Training, Noa educates her athletes to look at recovery strategies as a pyramid.
She says the bottom of the pyramid is the foundation. These are the recovery strategies you should focus on most because they are the most effective. As you move up the pyramid, the strategies have less impact on your recovery, with the tip of the pyramid often consisting of fads without supporting research. For best results, Noa encourages her athletes to focus on the fundamentals first before moving up the pyramid.
We asked Noa, what are the most effective recovery strategies? She says that at the base of the recovery pyramid there are 3 fundamentals all athletes should focus on:
- Sleep, downtime and mental relaxation
Noa tells us that sleep is the most effective recovery of all, but sadly is what we often neglect the most. She tells her athletes to try to get as close as 8 hours as possible, waking up feeling refreshed and ready for the next training challenge.
- Nutrition strategies
Noa says that while nutrition strategies should ideally be individualized for each athlete, it is important to master the basics – eat enough to support the amount and type of training you are doing, especially before, during and after training sessions, with a particular focus on appropriate carbohydrate intake for the effort and duration.
- Water immersion (hot, cold, contrast)
Research studies have found that cold water therapy (immersion at 10C-15C for 10 minutes) can decrease muscle soreness after intense training sessions and help lower body temperature leading to improved recovery.
Contrast bath therapy is a series of brief, repeated immersions in water, alternating between warm and cold temperatures. Research supports the use of contrast hydrotherapy to lessen muscle fatigue and to decrease pain, swelling, and lactic acid buildup following intense exercise.
Not quite ready to release your inner Viking in the ice bath? Try taking warm to cold showers. Start with warm water and after a few minutes gradually drop the temperature finishing with a bracing cold rinse.
Ambassador Fiona's 3 Top Tips for Recovery!
one20percent ambassador Fiona Majendie spent the summer in the U.S. racing for Red Truck Racing and is now back in Vancouver for her second year of medical school studies at the University of British Columbia. With her unique perspective of sport and science, we asked her to share with us her top recovery tips. Try incorporating these into your training routine today!
Fiona tells us that the body needs recovery because when we train our whole body is under stress – our muscles, our joints and our fuel stores. For our bodies to effectively make the adaptation to training stress and to allow fitness to increase, we need to rest. Rest allows:
- Muscles and tissue to repair; and
- Glycogen stores to replenish.
Without proper rest, not only do we not improve but we put ourselves at risk of injuries or overtraining syndrome.
Fiona’s top 3 tips for recovery:1. Sleep
Fiona tells us that for sports like running and cycling where we are depleting are glycogen stores throughout our run or ride, it is important to replenish those after the workout with carbohydrate intake. Protein is also an important component of the post-workout meal as it aids in immediate muscle repair.
An ideal ratio of grams of carbohydrate to grams of protein in a recovery meal is 3:1 or 4:1. And keep taking enough protein on board throughout the day for your body weight and level of activity to ensure your body can repair those muscles and tissues and prepare you for your next training session.
The body needs muscle repair and refueling to adapt from the stress of hard training days, and that is what easy days allow. A short easy spin, a jog or a walk allows the body to adapt to the stress of training and increase your fitness.
Many thanks to Fiona for sharing her insights with us!
Stretching and Mobility for Recovery!
photo credit Chris Thorn @christhornvisual
We round out this month’s newsletter with a look at the benefits of dynamic stretching pre- and post-workout to enhance recovery.
We asked our amazing one20percent ambassador Gemma Slaughter, NASM-CPT, sub-3 hour marathoner, functional strength and conditioning trainer, and all-round one of the fittest people we know, for her advice. Gemma talks to us about mobility for endurance athletes and shares one of her favorite dynamic stretches for runners and cyclists.
Her 3 key takeaways for endurance athletes are:
- Warm up for physical efforts by preparing your body using dynamic stretches
- Start your training sessions with dynamic stretching to mobilize joints, lengthen muscle fibres and increase blood flow through your body
- Preparing your body for work will provide it with the ability to function optimally
- Recover from your physical efforts by stretching passively
- Post ride/run stretching re-aligns muscle fibres and encourages re-oxygenated blood full of nutrients back into the muscles
- Passive stretching after workouts, combined with a nutrient dense, high protein, fibre rich snack or meal is the winning recipe for recovery and longevity in life and sport!
- Between workouts schedule 2-3 mobility and stretch sessions weekly to increase your range of motion and build stability in your joints
- To move and function well we need a reasonable amount of flexibility in our joints. Stretching can help us achieve that
- Our bodies also require a certain level of stability in our joints
- This means that stretching (flexibility) alone does not decrease the risk of injury or improve performance
- Mobility, which is a combination of flexibility and strength, is the complete package which makes up our total movement capacity.
Gemma shares one of her favorite dynamic stretches for pre- or post-workout for runners and cyclists
Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch with Overhead Side Bend
What it stretches:
- Hip flexors (psoas and iliacus)
Benefits of stretching your hips/quads:
- Increased posterior chain strength
- Less low back pain
Gemma tells us that if our hip flexors are tight, it can cause our glutes to become weak. The opposing muscles to the hip flexors are our vital glute muscles. (*Altered reciprocal inhibition describes a phenomenon where if one muscle becomes overly tight, the opposing muscle may become inhibited.)
Strong, active glutes help to reduce both knee and back injuries while increasing our overall strength and power output for sport.
How to perform the half kneeling hip flexor stretch:
From a kneeling position place the left knee on the floor (or stretch mat) directly under the left hip, and place the right foot in front of the right hip so that the right knee is directly over the right ankle and the right hip is in a position of ninety (90) degrees. Place both hands gently on the right thigh to help maintain a straight, tall spine.
Here you should feel the stretch come up through the back thigh and hip and into your core muscles.
To improve this stretch, raise the hand on the same side of the body as your back leg, to feel it extend up through your torso. You can also bend slightly to the other side to expand that stretch further.
*Do not hyperextend your back or dump the hips.
Hold the stretch position for 30-45 seconds at a time for a total of 2-5 repetitions; try to move into the stretch a little deeper with each repetition but be sure to keep your core braced to not allow the pelvis to rotate and lose the stretch. Complete all repetitions on one side before alternating to the other hip.
Our thanks to Gemma for her expertise! Learn more about Gemma’s training and personal one on one fitness programs at @gemmaslaughter
Before recovery comes training! When you are out running, riding or whatever you do, make sure you have a good anti-chafe chamois cream to #protectyourbits! Our petroleum-free P120 and V120 natural chamois creams for men and women are made with natural, effective, and non-toxic ingredients that are ethically sourced, natural plant derived and cruelty-free.