The Super-Charged Athlete — How To Speed Up Recovery

 

How To Speed Up Recovery

 

by Kate Strong, World Champion, Long-distance Women’s Triathlon

 

Kate Strong completing Austrailia's Ironman with a new personal best time

Kate Strong completing Austrailia’s Ironman with a new personal best time

 

It is many athletes’ dream to win every race they enter. Unfortunately, there are many stories where sportspeople lose their way and turn to illegal enhancers to gain that extra edge over their competitors and a higher possibility of winning.

Personally, I feel any person who turns to illegal drugs to win is missing the point of why we compete in the first place.

 

Kate Strong picture 2

 

Yes, it is great to earn a podium position, but the primary drive to compete should be to better ourselves not to amass gold medals. In every race I enter, I am competing to be the best I can be and if that merits a podium finish then great; it’s the icing on the vegan cake! If not, then at least I know that I delivered my A-game and there just so happened to be someone better out there on the day. Entering a race knowing I’ve cheated defeats the objective of competing and why I am on this sporting journey. In essence, I would see the victory as hollow as I would have cheated myself first and foremost.

 

Kate Strong and Medal Winners 3

 

In saying that, I am constantly striving to improve myself and discover the most effective (and legal) way of achieving that small edge over my competitors by assessing my daily physical, mental and nutritional routine.

 

It seems the main difference between professional athletes and us ‘regular competitors’ isn’t necessarily the number of hours they train weekly, but the amount of time they can spend resting. It seems that winners don’t train more; they rest more.

 

By reviewing my lifestyle and comparing it to the lifestyle of a professional, I’ve highlighted four main areas that I can apply to allow my body to recover quicker after a hard day training.

 

1. Soak

 

By soaking our legs in ice water, or cool water with Epson salts, for 10-15 minutes increases blood flow to our legs activating muscle repair quicker than doing nothing at all. If I’m near the ocean, I cheat and use a local salt bath: the ocean!

 

Kate Strong Soaking in ice water baths reduces muscle damage and recovery.

Soaking in ice water baths reduces muscle damage and recovery.

 

2. Sleep or Rest

 

Our body repairs itself during sleep. If your lifestyle doesn’t permit sneaky afternoon siestas or regular early nights, the next best thing is to reduce the amount of physical activity you carry out during the day: rest or sit down more, walk slower and avoid doing more sport.

 

Give your body time to rest and recover.

Give your body time to rest and recover.

 

3. Stretch or Recovery Training

 

After a workout, our muscles contract and restrict blood flow which, in turn, reduces the speed of recovery for our body. After a workout, I follow a quick stretching routine that covers the main muscles I use during triathlon. If I am unable to stretch due to time limitations, I ensure within 24 hours, I carry out light recovery training in the same sport the next day.

 

Kate Strong Stretching after a workout6

 

4. Sustenance

What we eat within 30 minutes after exercise is of paramount importance. Eating a high protein meal or snack in this 30-minute window stimulates muscle regrowth and repair.

 

What we eat after exercise is important.

What we eat after exercise is important.

 

To put into action the above, I have to get organized. Leaving preparation to last-minute invariable meant I either carry out everything too late, or not bother as I’m too tired.

 

The Key is Planning.

The Key is Planning.

 

The key is planning. Every Monday, I sit down and write my shopping list. That same evening I bulk-cook and portion the food to ensure it is sufficient for all my training sessions that week.

 

Kate prepares vegan food to sustain her during her strenuous training sessions.

Kate prepares vegan food to sustain her during her strenuous training sessions.

For sustenance, I created some delicious vegan recipes for a quick and easy protein fix including chia seeds, quinoa, salad or beans. These are available at Strong Kate!

 

Until next time… Enjoy!

Kate Strong

Kate Strong, aka Strong Kate, is a Welsh-born international traveller. Kate has spread her wings far and wide not only geographically but in every aspect of her life. Having graduated with a double Masters in Mechanical Engineering from French and English universities, Kate has had a diverse career path from working with fashion companies such as Gucci, Diesel and Benetton in Italy, at an environmental protection agency in Russia, to working as a Dive-Master in Mexico! Kate is a 2014 World Champion, Women’s Long-distance Triathlete.

Kate is currently based in Sydney, Australia with the intention to move to the shores of Lake Geneva mid 2015 to develop a conscious-living business promoting health and fitness products and services. Contact Kate with your thoughts and suggestions and follow Kate as she trains for upcoming events.

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