Recovery & Regeneration
Sleep is the #1 key to of all recovery.
- The benefits of a good night sleep include: Nervous system balance, enhanced oxygen supply to the tissues, liver detoxification, repair of vital organs, repair of physiological control systems, energy conservation, and enhanced immunity.
- A good night’s sleep is extremely anabolic to the body.
- Chronic problems with sleeping lead to all sorts of problems such as: Poor concentration, impaired decision making, poor memory recall, mood disorders, increased anxiety, elevated daytime levels of stress hormones, loss of lean muscle mass, adrenal fatigue, reliance on artificial stimulants, an increase in stored body fat, reduced testosterone and growth hormone levels, etc.
- Chronic sleeping is extremely catabolic and severely detrimental to recovery and performance
Why Can’t Some People Sleep
There are 2 main reasons why people can’t sleep:
- an imbalance in the nervous system due to excessive stress;
- unstable blood sugar levels due to a poor diet.
Balancing Your Nervous System
- Exposure to all stimulants (caffeine, black tea, coffee, red bull, etc) must be reduced
- Reduce night time exposure to EMF’s (turn off phone, playstation, TV, Computer, etc)
- Drink herbal teas such as camomile and valerian.
- When it becomes dark outside make sure to dim the lights inside and allow your body to unwind
- Learn to breath properly. Breathing exercises designed to activate abdominal breathing can greatly help relaxation
- Try a hot bath, steam, or sauna in the evening and keep warm
- Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chai, meditation, meditation cd’s, listen to peaceful music, or progressive muscle relaxation
- Make your room completely dark and reduce exposure to all noises
- Use supplements at your own risk, and as a last resort.
Balancing Blood Glucose Levels
- This is very simple. You must increase your intake of natural wholefoods, previously mentioned, and reduce your intake of highly refined and processed foods.
The Mid Afternoon Sleep
- Highly recommended as a restorative practice, provided that it doesn’t interfere with night time sleep patterns.
- Can enhance anabolism between training sessions.
- 30 to 40 minutes are recommended.
- Recovery shake
- Light stretch/yoga
- Swim/aqua jog
On Arrival to Tournaments
- Check Body Weight
- Eat and Drink
- CV Recovery (machine and high rep circuit based)
- Morning swim also the next morning
- Cycle, Row, or Jog for 5-10 mins
- Recovery Shake
- Hot Shower
- Ice Bath (3 min) or Cold Shower (2 min)
- Light Snacks (“if hungry”)
- Relax (body and mind)
*e.g. light music, meditation tapes, 30 min nap, massage, meditate, PMR, etc
While on national team duty (training and competition), all players irrespective of training or fitness status must complete a daily subjective monitoring form.
These forms allow the medical and conditioning team to subjectively monitor an athlete's physical and mental status. The results can be correlated to the training load so that an effective training program is adhered to while also alerting to the possibility of over-training, decreased immune function, injury status and medications taken.
The form will cover questions such as:
- How did you sleep?
- How are your energy levels?
- Any injuries, pain, tightness, or stiffness?
- Any symptoms of sickness?
- You may also be required to perform other tests such as hydration tests and jump tests in order to monitor recovery in more detail.
USOC has a very informative section on sports nutrition here
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