Top 6 Athlete Recovery Practices
You must have felt it at some point in your training. Sometimes there is the feeling of heaviness and soreness that occurs as soon as you wake up. Other times, you’re just so beat up even if it’s your rest day.
Recovery is the product of smart training and even smarter recovery. These two create gains in performance, body composition, and overall fitness—everything you want and need as a BarraFIT athlete.
If you aren’t sure how to dial in recovery, let us give you some Gracie-style secrets. These practices have aided Jiu-Jitsu athlete’s good health, peak performance, and longevity in our sport.
We at BarraFIT have gotten smarter in our approach to fitness and training. We train for life and make sure we are not overdoing during each training session or undergoing recovery. The keywords that guide us are consistency, balance, and steady improvement.
Recovery Tip #1: Sleep for at Least Eight Hours Every Night
Most athletes, especially younger athletes, fall into the trap of overestimating their recovery abilities. As a result, they end up in a chronic state of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation not only makes recovery difficult but also affects reaction time.
Sleep is the most crucial thing you can do for your recovery. And it doesn’t matter what sport you play, whether it’s Jiu-jitsu or weightlifting. Also, let’s face it. You just feel ready to go for that BarraFIT Combat class after a full eight hours of sleep.
Recovery Tip #2: Foam Roll
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. Doing this releases tension that has built up in your major muscle groups. It is also a must if you’re prone to DOMS or delayed-onset muscle soreness. That said, a foam roller is a sound investment for your muscular recovery and your training by extension.
Recovery Tip #3: Take an Ice Bath
That’s right! We have a saying in sports—an ice bath is a nice bath. It isn’t just catchy; it’s also true.
Ice baths cause your blood vessels to constrict. We get it; that sounds bad. However, it’s amazing when you’re trying to reduce inflammation and swelling.
You don’t need to stay immersed in ice for as long as Brock Lesnar or Wim Hof. Follow the three-minute rule. That is, immerse yourself for three minutes, stop, and repeat as often as you need.
Recovery Tip #4: Stay Away From Booze
If you ask the likes of Kron, Royce, Kyra, Carlos (Flavio’s coach), Rener, Ryron, or any member of the Gracie clan, they’ll tell you one thing—stay away from alcohol. There is some science that explains why what they say is true.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association has found that as blood alcohol concentration increases, so too do disruptions in gross motor skills and coordination. Worse yet, alcohol is calorie-dense, meaning that you will suffer the neurological effects of alcohol with a growing midsection.
Alcohol is also a major stressor—not something you want during recovery. A drink every now and then may not affect you much. However, consider how much better you will recover and perform on the mats without it.
Recovery Tip #5: Consume Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Every problem you experience from poor recovery is the result of inflammation. Inflammation can occur in various parts of the body. To minimize inflammation, you need to eat more anti-inflammatory foods. As a rule of thumb, avoid these inflammation-aggravating foods:
● High in dairy
● Loaded with saturated fat and refined sugar
Instead, consume these:
● Fatty fish
● Cruciferous veggies (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower)
● Green tea
● Watermelon (ask Royce)
Recovery Tip #6: Hydrate
Training causes microtears in muscles. These tears signal muscle protein synthesis and other anabolic hormones responsible for recovery. Water is crucial to the process.
Muscle protein synthesis is what causes muscles to recover and grow more resilient. In a state of dehydration, muscle protein synthesis slows down dramatically. This can prolong your recovery time and make you prone to injury the next time you train.
A safe rule of thumb would be to drink two liters of water when you do not train. On your training days, go as high as four.
Final Thoughts: Train. Recover. Improve.
How you choose to recover can determine the effectiveness of training. For this reason, you need to dial in your recovery.
Here, we’ve given you our six simple recovery tactics. Do these and watch your strength, aerobic capacity, Jiu-jitsu performance, and striking power improve by leaps and bounds!
Flavio Almeida | Co-Founder BarraFIT Studio Scottsdale