Avoid Overtraining With Optimal Muscle Recovery Part II


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In Part 1, we reviewed active and passive recovery Protocols that included: Sleep, Power Naps, Massage, Thermotherapy, Cryotherapy, Contract Therapy and NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.)

In Part 2, we will review Nutritional Strategies for Recovery. Most people who train come to learn fairly quickly that nutrition is 80% of the factor on how well and how quickly you can achieve your fitness, health and performance goals.

Most beginners think that the only critical factor is how long, how hard and how frequently you train. Once you begin to recognize that your body adapts to exercise during the rest periods between exercise intervals, you realize that rest, recovery and adaption to exercise activities are critical to your success.

You also recognize, unless you plan your nutrition program carefully, your body may not have a critical nutrient, at the critical times and in the adequate amounts needed to optimize your developmental adaptation and performance. There is still conflicting research on the quantity and timing of your meals.

Should you eat 5 times/day, 6 times/day, 7 times/day or more is still being argued (though most studies lean toward 6)?

The Nutritional Strategies listed below are among the commonly suggested strategies recommended by the majority of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

You should always keep these recommendations in mind. The Individuality Principle is always in effect. You are an individual with individual goals, needs wants and certainly a distinct physiology. Your nutritional needs just like your exercise needs will vary.

Just because a famous bodybuilder has discovered the perfect exercise and nutrition prescription for themselves, does not mean it is perfect for you. Nutrition and exercise will vary greatly among individuals, their chosen sports and even their positions within that sport. Even on the same team, in football, the Center’s needs are completely different from the Wide Receiver’s needs.

If you intend to optimize training induced adaptations, you must ensure both micro and macro nutrients are readily available. This includes your need to maintain your body’s energy stores. Not just energy for training and competition, but the energy required for repair, recovery and adaptation.

You should know that all exercise activities will draw-down your glycogen stores. How much and how quickly is dependent on Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type of exercise (F.I.T.T. Principle). If carbohydrate intake is inadequate, muscle glycogen stores cannot be restored and your performance, as well as your ability to recover, repair and adapt, are all degraded.

It is recommended that you consider 3 Critical Periods of Dietary Supplementation:

  • Pre-Exercise
  • During-Exercise
  • Post-Exercise
  • Pre-Exercise: Consume 1-4 grams of Carbohydrate (CHO) Kgram (Kg) of Body Weight (BW), 1-4 hours prior to exercise. *Note: Ranges are provided based on individual needs. The lower end for shorter and/or less intense training, and the higher end for longer and/or more intense training.
  • During Exercise: Consume a beverage containing 25 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of protein within 30 minutes of initiating exercise and periodically through your training session. Many studies show this beverage caused a greater Growth Hormone and Insulin response, post-exercise; a decrease in muscle protein breakdown, an increase in post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rate, a reduction in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) an overall increase in exercise capacity, all suggestive of less damage during exercise and enhanced recovery and adaptation post-exercise. *Note: Similar results were reported in completely separate studies when athletes consumed 10 grams of Bench Claim Amino Acids: Leucine (5000mg), Isoleucine (2,500mg) and Valine (2,500mg) pre-exercise prior to exercise and 10 grams post-exercise. Additionally, some studies show that BCAA are more effective when combined with Glutamine: 9 grams, 20 minutes prior to your workout, the second serving of 9 grams immediately following your workout and a third serving before bed, to increase Growth Hormone levels during sleep.
  • Post-Exercise: The consensus for Endurance Athletes is to consume 1.0-1.85g CHO/kg of BW/hour (for 2 hours) post-exercise. Studies show this promotes glycogen resynthesize and protein synthesis.

The consensus for strength athletes is to consume 0.8g/Kg of BW/hour (for 2 hours) plus 0.4g of whey protein hydrolysate plus free Leucine and Phenylalanine/ Kg of BW/hour (for 2 hours)

*Note: Consume these beverages immediately post-exercise.

One study reported a 45% reduction in glycogen synthesis rates when carbohydrate was consumed 2 hours post exercise compared to immediately post exercise. While Creatine Monohydrate does not specifically fall into the realm of Muscle Recovery, you cannot over-look this supplements positive impact on the rapid regeneration of the cells’ energy molecules: ATP-CP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate – Creatine Phosphate).

I do advise caution however with older adults. Creatine Monohydrate has been shown to increase Blood Pressure (BP) in older patients. This would be Contra-Indicated for hypertensive patients or anyone borderline HBP.

Most of you are hard-working and dedicated to your fitness program. I offer these recommendations to help get the most from your training and that requires you to focus on your Rest and Recovery Program. Some or all of your hard-work can be negated without a good recovery program.

For the IFPA Certified Personal Trainers reading this, you should be very aware this level of programming is far beyond anything your competitors will do. This is one more reason you can accomplish more for your clients, in far less time, safer and more effectively than any non-IFPA Certified Trainer.

For more detailed, useful and practical information on training, rest, recovery and optimizing performance while avoiding over-training, please consider the IFPA Program Design Specialist Certification Course.

For more information on nutrition protocols consider both the IFPA Certified Sports Nutrition and Advanced Sports Nutrition Course.

The knowledge, skills and abilities you learn in these courses will help you become a Master of Your Craft!

Good Luck,

Dr. Jim Bell


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