Recovering and Optimizing Performance
Michael Jeffrey MS, CSCS, NASM, FMS, YBT
Recovery.…One of the most important yet forgotten words when it comes to enhancing your overall sports performance. Throughout my career everyone is always asking me, “What can I do to improve my performance out on the field?” This question is so common because society is telling us more is better; lift more, run more, and jump more. This is engrained in our minds from a young age so people are doing as much as they can thinking that this is going to make them a better athlete on the field. But in reality all anyone is doing is overworking their body potentially leading to decreased performance and multiple overuse injuries. Being in this over-trained state can sometimes take months to recover from, and I have seen athletes lose out on their season because they are training way too much.
Less is More
Training with the proper intensity (% of one rep max) and volume (total amount of work done relating to sets and reps) is often overlooked because some athletes are lifting way more than they should. Without the proper guidance young athletes continue to train this way because they are never told that they are actually breaking down their bodies. It is our job as certified strength and conditioning coaches to know how the body responds to training so these youth athletes can see proper adaptation leading to increased performance on the field. It is a constant problem strength and conditioning coaches battle because many sports will over-prescribe volume when it comes to practice, speed and agility sessions, and extra training sessions leading to over-trained athletes.
How to Fix This Problem
With sports today I understand that overtraining can be a difficult problem to combat, but it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. With the amount of practice, training volume, and sports specific training youth athletes need to be recovering properly. This is an issue that often gets ignored because several young athletes are willing to put in the work in the weight room, but when it comes to recovery it usually is a priority low on the list. The following key points are simple, yet effective methods to help your body recover and optimize your performance.
With our busy lives I understand that it can be difficult to sleep enough, but it is essential for our muscles to recover. Our body best recovers while we are sleeping, but if you are not getting enough sleep you will not recover properly. The following benefits can be seen with getting 8 hours of sleep each night:
To recover and see increases in muscle mass eating in a caloric surplus is essential. Not eating enough causes your body to break down which leads to you being over trained because you simply do not have enough fuel. The following information can help your body recover when it comes to your nutrition.
Carbohydrate Intake: The intake of daily carbohydrates will be different for each individual and it is dependent on your current health and performance goals. Here are a few guidelines:
Protein Intake: The intake of protein will be different for everyone based on body size and training goals. Protein is essential for muscle recovery-here are some guidelines:
Fat Intake: Many people are scared of fat because they don’t realize the energy and health benefits that can be seen with fat intake
Water: Why is it important?
How Much Water?
Vitamins and Minerals: Help our body to function and perform optimally
Mobility training is a form of training used to improve flexibility by actively stretching the muscle to help it return to its original resting length. This will not only help you feel better on a daily basis, but it will help your muscles to grow and improve your overall strength. Besides the strength benefits, you will also see improvements in your functional movement making you a better athlete on the field. The following specific benefits will be seen with mobility training:
In closing, I hope that some of these tips will help you remember to listen to your body. Sometimes less is more even though that is going against what society is telling us. Proper recovery should be an essential component of your daily routine because it will make you the best athlete you can be in the long run. If you really want to get that competitive edge I hope that you use some of tips I have given you in this blog and execute them in your daily life.