As an athlete, I strive for optimal performance every single day.
Over the past 8 years, I've developed a recipe for mastering performance. It's not lifting weights or speed work either...it's recovery. Smart recovery is a game changer for athletes.
Here are five steps to recover smarter:
1. INCREASE MAGNESIUM INTAKE
When you train hard, you lose a lot of vital minerals. Although it is just as vital as other minerals like sodium and calcium, magnesium regularly gets overlooked. It plays a role in the metabolism of nutrients, which is crucial post-training. And magnesium works to relax the muscles after training. You can't afford to let your magnesium stores drop for too long, or you sacrifice all the recovery boosting benefits that come along with it.
2. INCREASE VITAMIN D
Training and competition are taxing on your muscles, your CNS and your immune system. Getting adequate levels of Vitamin D will ensure that the vitamins and minerals you get from the foods you eat are metabolized. What's more, Vitamin D plays a big role in preventing you from getting sick after heavy bouts of training. I suggest getting a high quality Vitamin D supplement that is encapsulated in an oil, like olive or fish oil, to help with absorption.
3. FIND A SOLID WHEY PROTEIN
I don't have to sell you on the benefits of protein. You know protein is essential for recovery. But not all protein is created equal. Whey protein is especially good for recovery because it digests and funnels to the muscles quickly. But what you may not know is that there are whey protein options with added BCAAs, which are essential for muscle growth and repair after training. Different whey protein options offer different benefits so test out a few and find what makes you feel good!
4. GET MORE SLEEP
Yes… I know you have heard it before. And still you like to brag about how LITTLE sleep you need and how you can just keep going. Well my friend, you are dead wrong. Sleep is the time of our training day that matters more than your hours slaving on the training grounds. Muscle recovery, hormone balance and neurological restoration all happen during our sleep cycle. You should aim to get more than 7 hours in a pitch black room, cooled to around 68-73 degrees, and absolutely no computer or TVs around.
5. FOCUS ON ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Your nutrition is your FUEL for the day's workout. Today in our culture, food is more about convenience than it is about quality. Carbohydrates in the form of processed grains and sugars are destroying our guts and creating a systemic inflammatory response from the brain to the organs. Recovery is not going to happen if we dump these things on an already stressed body. Aim for whole foods like organic and non-GMO proteins, veggies, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and oils. Keep your nutrition simple and feel better in the long run.
Finding the right recipe for recovery comes with time, my friends.
Begin with this list and keep evolving.
Hit your training hard and your recovery harder!
Getting stoked. Staying fired up. Enjoying every moment that life has to give. That is the mission of Athlete "EROCK" Eric Botsford. Personally, Eric's goal is to look beyond where others stop, finding that deeper drive both physically and mentally. Though he has made his mark as a 6 time CrossFit Games Regional Competitor and Tough Mudder MC, Eric is always looking for his "flow", leaping from planes, surfing, diving, skiing. Knowing that this ride is better shared, Eric has been a devoted CrossFit Trainer and Box Owner, Mentor, and NCAA Strength and Conditioning Coach helping to bring other athletes to their fullest potential. Eric constantly strives to be a clear voice in the health and nutrition world, blogging the most relevant and up-to-date science on health and performance. He believes that the key to inspiration is education.