The 3 R’s of Endurance Athletes: Recover, Rest, Regenerate

triathlon-2

With the Stanley Cup on the line, many people have hockey on the mind.  Hockey players are tough, endurance athletes who push themselves to be the best they physically can be. How do they do it night, after night?

Endurance athletes are a notoriously stubborn bunch, preferring to push forward with tough workouts day after day. While such a work ethic is admirable, it’s impossible to go all-out all the time. You won’t train as effectively and you’ll likely break down with injuries and ailments. On the other hand, if you can focus on having high-quality rest and regeneration, you’ll be able to get more return on investment from every minute of your workout.

Regeneration increases your energy, boosts your immune system, and helps you get the most out of each training session, which ultimately will improve your performance. Regeneration improves your hormone profile, decreases inflammation, and improves tissue quality, thus decreasing the number of overuse injuries you may experience. Here are five recovery secrets of endurance athletes:

  1. Recover with proper nutrition. Refueling after training is like putting money in the bank–it’s the body’s safe deposit box for muscle sugars called glycogen.  Without “good for the body” food after exercise, the body is unable to completely recover from workouts and improve performance.
  2. Rehydrate.  You can jump start your recovery and optimize performance by staying hydrated throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you all day.
  3. Take a Calcium Supplement. Your body absorbs the calcium content of food in the small intestine.  However, through proper rehydration it decreases the normal rate of urinary calcium so the need for extra calcium after a workout is eminent.
  4. Regenerate with B-12. Vitamin B-12 is called a ‘micronutrient’ and is used to convert proteins and carbohydrates into energy. They are also used for cell repair and production.  Athletes who lack B-12 have reduced high-intensity exercise performance and are less able to repair damaged muscles or build muscle mass than their peers who eat a diet rich with B-vitamins
  5. Get More Sleep. During sleep important things happen to aid in the muscle recovery process. Besides just feeling more rested and ready to tackle the day, adequate sleep (at least 7 uninterrupted hours) can make a big difference in the recovery process and is the easiest way to boost endurance performance.