While in North Carolina we trained and rode with Max Shute from Max Shute cycling camps in Boone North Carolina. Max is a Ph.D., a Senior Coach for Carmichael Training Systems. Max lives in Valdosta, Georgia and Boone North Carolina. He coaches athletes training for competition in road cycling, mountain biking, triathlon, and marathon.
Are you training as hard or harder than your buddy and not seeing the same gains in fitness? Perhaps he or she knows something you don't. Perhaps they sleep longer and more thoroughly. Perhaps they know what and when to eat recuperative foods. The training stimulus is only 1/3 of the equation. Without the proper diet and plenty of sleep your training gains will be minimized. When we nail all three we get maximum returns on our training investment. It's not just recovery, it's all about allowing super-compensations to materialize.
A body at rest is much different than one doing physical work. Influx of oxygen and other nutrients, as well as waste product removal, across cellular membranes can increase 100 times when doing maximal aerobic work. We have very specialized transporters that migrate from within the cellular cytoplasm to the surface membrane to facilitate this increased need for fuels. Once the workout is over these transporters remain for a certain amount of time, diminishing back to normal status by 90 minutes. Why do they hang out at the membrane? To replenish muscle glycogen and allow amino acids to start the super-compensatory process and repair. This is where a recovery drink serves us well. While absorption of nutrients from a recovery drink is less than a real “meal” they are convenient and do provide what your body needs quickly. Ideally we would eat egg whites, antioxidant rich fruits, and pastas but these food items are often not palatable or available soon after racing or training. Have a recovery drink ready to get the replenishment and recovery started. Then have a delicious healthy meal as soon as practical and your appetite returns. Tupperware is your friend. Have eggs boiled, pasta and rice cooked, and fruits handy so you can grab great food before you get on with your day.
Simple tips for thorough and fast recovery:
Ingest both protein and carbohydrate within 60 min of a hard workout or race. You need about 0.8g-1.2g of carbohydrate and 0.2g-0.4g protein/kg body weight. Avoid fatty foods as this will slow digestion and absorption.
Take a nap! A mid day siesta isn't being lazy, it's being smart. Not only will you speed recovery the remainder of your day will be more productive. These naps should be 10-25 minutes long. Can't nap? As a wise man once said “Don't stand if you can sit, don't sit if you can lay down”.
Get to bed early and sleep as long as you can. You need 8-10 hours of sleep per night. That usually means you need to be in bed for 9-11 hours.
As a coach I see the difference all the time. My clients that sleep soundly, eat great food, and train hard and smart make gains three times as fast as those that only get 2 of the 3 correct. Those that only train well often are subject to burn out and a constant level of fatigue. It's striking. Getting it all right is the only way to live. We all work, we all have families, we all have limited time. With just a little planning and time management you can have it all. Don't waste your time with junk miles and junk food. Train, eat, sleep, repeat. Listen to your body. If you are reading this you are likely a motivated person. If you are unmotivated you are unlikely ready to train physically. When you get everything in a healthy rhythm your gains will be maximized. And that's motivating!