Tag Archives: recovery

Smart Recovery Improves Your Longevity

Hey there Team!
If you have been reading my blog for a while, chances are you have read a thing or two about recovery. That is no coincidence! I think recovery is a very under utilized tool in our lives. It’s almost like we don’t want to really talk about it, as if it’s not cool to look after yourself. Let’s change that!

"Most people are not over-trained, 
they are under-recovered."

-Joe Holder

I mean, it’s the guy in the office (Larry) that brags about the amount of training that he did that morning on almost no sleep, coffee and 2 Ibuprofen, that gets the “oh, wow, he’s cool”. Compare that to Dan who opted for no Netflix the night before, who did some Yoga or meditation instead and was in bed by 9pm. In our society Dan typically doesn’t get the same “cool” factor. He should though. Dan is setting himself up for success in the long term, whereas Larry is on his way to burn out and have plenty of injuries.

“Just focusing all on the training, and not on the recovery, can be a big mistake!” [1]

I have worked with professional athletes who had to do fewer and less intense workouts for a couple of months, because they had injured themselves in racing. In this case it was falling off a bike and landing on the head. Even though their training volume was drastically reduced they came back way stronger the following season!

Crazy huh?! Well, not really. Being chronically over-trained and under-recovered is not where you want to be for optimal performance. Sometimes it takes a serious injury to understand where you are.

“We want people to be exercising for life, you know exercise is medicine, it’s the best you can do for your body, for prevention of pretty much every disease, so we want people to exercise for a lifetime.” [2]

There is a lot of hype about the best and newest recovery methods, and sometimes it’s not easy to know what makes the most sense. Dr. Shona Halson, a former Senior Recovery Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport, and currently Associate Professor in the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences at the Australian Catholic University, highlights how we can best maximize our recovery time.

 

The core Foundations are:
Sleep and Nutrition (including hydration.)

Then add on:
Massage, (Great for muscle repair and for balancing the Nervous System)
Soft Tissue Work, Mobility
Compression (socks)
Stretching, Yoga
Meditation, Float Tanks
Cold Showers
Cold Water Immersion (ocean, lake, river)
Ice-Baths (use as “icing on the cake”)

For more detail check out this great podcast from TRAINED with Ryan Flaherty and Dr. Shona Halson with tonnes of knowledge.

Some often misread signs of under-recovery are fatigue and irritability. So why should a weekend warrior or just an active person care about recovery?

Who cares, right? It’s not like I’m about to go to the Olympics or anything. Well, it’s the smartest strategy for making sure that you are injury free, that you feel good and aren’t sore all the time, so that you can be consistent and be able to go out there and do whatever it is that you want to do! For the rest of your life…just saying… 😉

“Rest days are good too! Adaptation happens in rest.” [3]

Why not write down a list of what you use today in terms of recovery on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Is the list very short? What can you add to it? Maybe start investing in a monthly massage or get a foam-roller, or why not both? Are you able to make it to the sauna once in a while, or take a bath with added epsom salt? How is your sleep? What about meditation?

There are many small things that you can do to improve on your recovery, but you have to start doing them. Make space in your calendar and take care of yourself! You will feel better and your athletic performance will improve as well. What’s not to like?!

Wishing you a great weekend with lots of smart recovery!
😉

 


[1,2,3] Excerpts from the Podcast Trained: Shona Halson – How Recovery Can Push You Forward in Unexpected Ways
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Photo by Katee Lue on Unsplash

Tight Hip Flexors Weakens Your Breathing!

Hey there Team!
I hope you had a few nice days off during Easter and were able to spend some time outside. We had amazing (!) weather over here, so I was lucky enough to bike to the beach a few times. It was quite windy though, and I had to push hard on the pedals more than a few times. Breathing hard and being on a bike made me think about lung capacity. It’s a normal train of thought, right? 😉

Did you know that tight hip flexors (often seen in cyclists, but even more so for people who sit on a chair during many hours of the day) can decrease your lung capacity? Well, how does that work?

When your hip flexors are tight they pull your hips into a forward (anterior) position. This extra tension makes it harder for your diaphragm to do its work. If the diaphragm is unable to fully expand it means that you will not be able to inhale as much air as your body wants and needs. For instance, less air into your lungs means that you will have less oxygenation of your muscles.

Less oxygen, less power.
Less oxygen, less recovery, less power…

Dr. Kevin Kirsch explains it short and sweet in this video. He is an Art Of Breath Instructor with Power Speed Endurance. Check it out.

 

Try out the different positions once and see how it feels. Tilt your hips forward as far as you can (just like in the video), and then take a deep breath. Then bring your hips back into a neutral position and take a deep breath here. Notice how much easier it gets to breath deeply when your hips are in a good position. Imagine the impact that can have over a longer period of time.

Here are two previous articles that includes the couch stretch, and also here. I hope this can motivate you, coming from a different angle, to work on those hip flexors. I mean, who doesn’t want their breathing to be as effective as possible?!

Being aware of your breathing is the first step. Now go out there and practice.

Have a great weekend freeing up those hip flexors!
😉

 


The Recovery Process – A Secret Weapon

Recently I listened to a podcast with LeBron James and his trainer Mike Mancias. LeBron James is one of THE best basketball players of all time. Mark, his trainer and recovery specialist, is sometime referred to as his secret weapon. They’ve been working together for more than 14 years. What really stood out to me in this podcast, is how much emphasis LeBron and Mike puts into the Process of recovery, every single day. In order to stay injury-free,  and be able to play consistently at an extremely high level.

“Recovery never ends, recovery never stops.”
-Mike Mancias

When we look up to athletes that we think are awesome, we pretty much only focus on how hard and intense their work-outs are. It’s easy then to do a quick copy and paste on some kind of version of that, for our lives.

Meaning we focus almost exclusively on what kind of training we should be doing. It makes sense since the main focus on athletes are when they are competing in their Arena, and we see their incredible performance.

The thing that not a lot of people see though, is the work behind the Arena. Just like LeBron, the top athletes that I have worked with over the years are all consistent performers on behind the scenes stuff, in particular recovery. It might not be the sexiest part of living an athletic lifestyle, but as Mike says “it’s a never ending process…that’s the approach we must take, in order for us to be successful and provide longevity for these guys.”

“it’s a never ending process…that’s the approach we must take, in order for us to be successful and provide longevity for these guys.”
-Mike Mancias

 

LeBron who already has had a long and amazing career, is still playing, and is not planning on quitting anytime soon. He contributes his success to being consistent with the Process. The Process of his recovery work, hydration, eating clean and training.

When it comes to Nutrition, Mike and LeBron work along the lines of “less is more, keep it simple, eat organic, no artificial ingredients”. They make a conscious decision of eating clean and staying away from artificial drinks, artificial sugars and fried foods consistently during the 9 months of basketball season.

-Ok, sure. But, that’s their job. I’m not an Athlete, why do I have to care about this? If it takes all that work to play continuously at a top level in sports, don’t you think you need to do some work in order to “play well” in your life? If you want to have a life of quality – whatever that means to you – you are going to have to put in some work. Period.

So what can you do for your recovery work? The easiest place to start is to plan in some kind of mobility work daily. Make a conscious effort of when and where you are going to do it. Here is a good place to start.

I often suggest to sit on the floor and do some mobility exercises during the first 10 minutes of watching Netflix, TV or similar. It’s easy because it’s time that you already have. It’s just a conscious decision of doing a few simple moves on the floor, instead of flopping onto the couch immediately.

Start thinking about what you can you do in your life to create a Process that helps you being fitter and more energizedHow would that Process look like in terms of Hydration, Nutrition and Recovery work?

Work on implementing that plan, and have a great weekend!
😉

"A good plan implemented 
today 
is better than 
a perfect plan implemented 
tomorrow."
-George Patton

 

 


Listen to the full podcast of #349 of the Tim Ferriss show here.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Don’t kill an ant with an atom bomb!

Rather than just doing even more of the same, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy?!
The way I see it, the origin* of your pain can be located either externally (think muscles and ligaments) or it can be internally (think organ, organ-systems and nerves), even though the symptoms look the same, like back pain.

It is important to know where the origin of your pain is, because how you go about treating the problem should be different depending on what most likely caused it.

How to tell the difference?
Let’s say you overdid it in your last work out session with 100 pushups. Or maybe you spent the whole day digging in the garden. The next day you will have a hard time getting out of bed, your back hurts and you are in agony.

If this is an external problem (muscles, ligaments) you will feel better if you go into the sauna, take a hot bath, get some massage, and do some mobility work. You may not feel back to awesome the first couple of days, and even though your recovery is not a straight line at 45 degrees on the graph, you are constantly and consistently improving. Like on graph 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graph 2 on the other hand represents more of an internal problem. You think it is an external problem because your back hurts, so you treat it just like in the example above with a hot bath, sauna, massage, mobility work etc.

But, you don’t get much relief. Maybe it feels a bit better for a day or two, or maybe even a week, but then you are right back where you started. This is when you need to ask yourself how is my digestive system really working? How are my kidneys and liver doing? What can I do to help my digestive system and organs?

Did you know that:
   Constipation can cause low back pain and often a deep pain into the hip.
   If you are dehydrated your kidneys don't like it and you could feel tenderness and pain in your low back.
   An overwhelmed liver will indirectly cause pain in your right shoulder.
   Tired kidneys will refer pain to the area of your shoulders and neck.
   Any kind of digestive issue can also cause neck pain via the X cranial nerve, aka the Vagus nerve.
   The pancreas, our super hero of blood sugar regulation will refer pain in between the shoulder blades.

 

If you have already seen a couple of different physios, and a chiropractor, and so on and it doesn’t seem to have helped, finding yet one more will not “fix it”. By now you should have gathered that their working tools are not suited for your particular issue.

If you have had your problems for a longer period of time, and you cannot solve them with your usual methods, it’s time to be smart and start looking at the functions inside the body. Take responsibility for your own health, get involved in the solution, and figure out what you can do daily to help yourself.

Next week we’ll discuss this further by looking at two different case studies.

Don’t kill an ant with an atom bomb. Think more like a ninja, and make a better targeted effort instead.   😉

 



*The origin of your pain does not have to be (and seldom are) where you feel the pain, which is the symptom. If you only put band aids on the symptom but never look for the root cause (the origin) you might never solve the problem at hand. Assuming you didn’t just break your leg in an accident, then of course your pain is where the problem is!
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Photo by ARTHUR YAO on Unsplash