“Besides sleep and food what else can I do for recovery”. — something I’m asked every Q&A. So let’s dive in!
First— you guys are gonna hate me when you get to that conclusion slide 😉.
Improving recovery from or between workouts is a popular topic. Especially when we’re thinking of athletes, multi day/session workouts or alas our basic gen pop selves 😂🤟🏻
There’s common approaches we all see. Such as Ice baths, compression, etc. I get a sassy “BUT IF ICE DOESN’T WORK WHY DO ATHLETES DO IT” response often. But it doesn’t NOT work — just now how you want it to.
When we talk about exercise damage + recovery we look at a few things. Creatine Kinase & blood lactate levels are one assessed here. We can also look at things such as force production & force recovery – the “true” marker of recovery but a BIT harder to assess.
A current review paper looked at active vs passive (doing nothing) recovery and did find it DOES favorite active recovery, decrease CK and BLC + cold water & food are effective at this.
But this doesn’t mean it’s a GOOD thing. Acutely this is effective! But another meta looking at post exercise active recovery are meh 🤷🏼♀️. & while they are shown to decrease blood lactate may not decrease muscle lactate persay. But may offer a slightly more benefit than none.
& other data on cold immersion suggesting this blunted response it offers is actually possibly detrimental to muscle recovery/adaptation/repair. Which may be why we see it in competitions vs training.
Overall— sadly you’re going to have to likely just do the unsexy work. Maybe don’t go full potato right away post workout. Eating is still a good thing. Manage the volume you CAN recover from (this will decrease this too 😂👏🏻). Recover. Sleep. Repeat.
And you guys thought I was gonna reveal some big secret didn’t ya? 😂🤪🏃🏼♀️🏋🏼♀️