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· Sport and well being

Nutritionis a pillar of recovery. In previous articles, we were interested in the consumption of  proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids after sport to optimize it. Today, Coup d’barre explain to you the different recovery technics that exist to maximize it and thus improve your performance.  

The recovery is as important as the effort and the warmup. It takes integral place in the athlete preparation, it integrates in its training schedule. It’s a period after the effort in which all the systems called upon during the effort are restructured.  

It is necessary:  

-Rebuild the muscles, joints… used, in particular by providing nutrients such as proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals… 

-Reconstitute energy reserves by particularly consuming carbohydrates. 

-remove waste and toxins produced during exercise.  

-Allow the body to return to its initial parameters: pH, temperature…    

It is important in order to hold successive workouts, to avoid injury and to progress. 

Recovery and progression? 

Maybe you think that the recovery and the progression don’t go together, that it’s during the effort that we progress? Well, not really.  

During an effort, your body will undergo several alterations (muscular, articular, energetic, nervous...). These alterations will result in a decrease in your performance. The recovery followed by the overcompensation phase will allow it to rebuild and develop the damaged parts. Your body will adapt and progress in order to better put up the next session. Indeed, during recovery, your body will rebuild what has been spent and then there will be reconstruction beyond the initial level, that is called overcompensation. If you prefer, it’s as if your body said to itself “I suffered 1 time not 2” and therefore it strengthens in order to be better prepared and to suffer less the next time.  

Curve of progress with overcompensation 

So, during this overcompensation phase, your body strengthens physically (muscle improvement, respiratory improvement) but also mentally, it gains confidence, tons itself up and creates new connections between cells. 

It is therefore after the effort that we progress.  

Note: To benefit from the overcompensation mechanism, it’s necessary to product a significant enough effort to put your body and your mend in difficulty. It’s also important to reproduce an effort during the overcompensation phase. If the recovery is too long, the overcompensation (muscular, energy…) which required more energy from the body to be preserved will be cancel. However, beware of overtraining which can cause a slowdown in progression or even regression and anincreased risk of injury.  

Expenses and alterations (energy, muscular…) are proportional to the intensity and duration of the effort. The recovery time necessary to take advantage of the effect of overcompensation varies according to the effort made, your training level, your age... However, some technics can help you reduce it and enter faster in the overcompensation phase.  

The 2 biggest known methods are active recovery and passive recovery. Coup d’barre take stocks of these 2 technics very different.  

Active recovery:  

Active recovery consists of practicing low intensity effort (50 to 60% of your maximumeffort).  

This recuperation takes place in an aerobic process. That is to say, your body will use carbohydrates and oxygen to provide energy. It’s therefore important to go at a moderate speed in order to be in a right path. Too high a speed will have the opposite effect to that desired.  

During this effort, the blood flow will increase. In fact, the supply of oxygen as well asnutrients carried by the blood to the muscles and to the various cells of the body will intensify. The increased blood flow will eliminate the accumulation of metabolites (lactates, free radicals…) which can cause cramp, body ache or muscle pain. 

Note: Oxygen is an energy catalyst, muscles need it to function. During a high intensity exercise, oxygen is lacking, the muscles will then secrete lactic acid (lactate). This acid can be put to good use by the body to provide it with energy and reform carbohydrate stocks. However, if the production is too high, it will accumulate and can cause cramps, body arche or muscle pain. The more intense the effort, the closer you get to your maximum speed, the less oxygen present is sufficient to cover the muscles' energy needs, and the more lactic acid is produced which is not fully reused and therefore accumulates. At low or moderate rates, little lactate is produced, and it is fully reused to good effect. 

It is possible to do this recovery directly after training / competition or duringthe day or the following day. 

Active recovery directly after exercice:  

The sequence of intense effort with moderate effort helps maintain a relativelyhigh blood flow to promote oxygenation and nourishment of cells as well as the rapid elimination of accumulated metabolites (lactate). Indeed, after the session, the body is already engaged in a significant consumption of oxygen (aerobic process).  


Active recovery directly after exercise will therefore be quickly effective. About10min are needed to maximize recovery.  

Active recovery some hours or day after exercise: 

These sessions are also called: scrub sessions. It takes place as a entire session, afew hours or the next day after intensive training or a competition. In this case, the active recovery time will have to be longer than the active recovery directly after exercise insofar as it will be necessary to reactivate the respiratory process (aerobic system). It takes 10 minutes for the mechanism to snap back into place. Thus, it is recommended to do a session of at least 20 to 30 minutes, which can last up to 1 hour. 

Passive recovery:  

During passive recovery, you put your body to rest completely, that is, it will not be subjected to any muscular or energetic strain.  

You can see passive recovery as recovery where you wait for your body to rebuild itself, regenerate on its own. However, there are ways to maximize passive recovery such as massages, hot and cold baths, stretching, sauna ... 

Stretching: Can help relieve muscle pain, but it does not speed up recovery. 

Sauna: In addition to effective recovery after exercise, the sauna has a calming effect. It helps raise body temperature and therefore increase blood circulation. The muscles will be more relaxed andthe muscle pain will be reduced. The hot steam from the sauna dilates the pores allowing toxins to escape. However, it is contraindicated for people with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases and a sauna session that is too long or too intense can cause an overload on the body. The temperature should be between 80 to 90% with a humidity of 15 to 30%. The session should not exceed 3 passages of 10min maximum alternated with a passage in ambient air and a cold shower or bath. 

Massage: Massage is a good way to recover and has a soothing effect. It helps lower stress levels, limit muscle pain, relax muscle fibers, tissues such as tendons, ligaments… and promote venousreturn. 

Hot bath: It allows muscle relaxation and promotes blood circulation thanks to its dilatory action on the peripheral blood vessels. However, hot baths should be avoided if you want to make anothereffort in the hours that follow. The water should be between 38 and 40 ° C.   

Coldbath: Cold water causes vasoconstriction which results in decreased blood flow. This decrease around damaged tissue reduces edema and inflammation. It can also decrease the perception of muscle pain. The water should be at a temperature below 15 °. 

Contrastingbath (Hot / cold): It is possible to condense the 2 techniques (hot bath / cold bath). This technique will make it possible to combine the various benefits of these 2 methods. It accelerates peripheral blood circulation by vasodilation and vasoconstriction. The recommended protocol is to stay 1 min in the cold bath then 2 min in the hot one, repeating this sequence for 9 to 15 minutes.

Comparison of active and passive recovery:  

These 2 techniques are debated as to which is the most effective because there is no precise answer on this subject. They both allow you to recover but in a different way with different properties. The choice will depend on the effort made but also on the person and their preferences. Coup d'barre will give you some clues to find out which one could be the most beneficial for you depending on the effort made. 

In all cases these 2 recovery modes have an acceleration effect on it. 

The advantage of active recovery is that it will allow you to eliminate waste and toxins faster than passive recovery. It also allows you not to stay inactive which can be a good way for people who need to exercise every day (physiological factors). 

The advantage of passive recovery with these various aids is that it will allow youto further reduce muscle tension, heal injuries and better rest in the event of accumulated intense fatigue. It also allows you to rest nerves and mentally, to loosen up a bit from your sessions to be more attacking and motivated for the next one. 

In summary what to do? 

During a short effort (maximum 1 hour), at high intensity active recovery is recommended. The longer the effort will increase, the more passive recovery will be favored. For an effort exceeding 2 hours, it is recommended to do a passive recovery. 

To give you an idea of the recovery time needed after your session: 

To conclude:  

One of the keys to optimizing your performance is recovery. Without it, you will stagnate or even worse you will regress or have an increased risk of injury. We have seen 2 methods to optimize your recovery and thus your performance. You can choose which one suits you best depending on your preferences and the effort you put into it. These methods along with a healthy lifestyle (good nutrition, hydration and good sleep) are the key to success. 

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