They don’t wake up and head out for a quick run or head to the gym for a quick session. No. Every workout is planned, targeted and tracked. So when it comes to recovery they’re not just doing a few stretches and downing chocolate milk. This is how to recover like an Olympian.
Stretching after exercise allows your body temperature cool down and heart rate return to normal. Stretching your hard worked muscles after a workout helps enhance flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
It’s no wonder that marathon swimmer, Chad Ho and 10 000m track athlete Dominique Scott name stretching as part of their recovery routine.
“I stretch as much as possible but that’s about it. My life outside of training is very relaxed so I do get a lot of rest.” Chad Ho
Refuel with Food
After an intense workout, your body is depleted and getting in some form of nutrition is key to recovery. Olympians Wenda Nel, Marc Mundell and Dominique Scott all make sure to have a good meal after intense workout.
“I make sure to get the necessary nutrition, sometimes I will get a recovery massage depending on the training sessions and then I also try and get adequate sleep.” Wenda Nel
Ice Baths and Cryotherapy
Ice baths and cryotherapy help send nutrient rich blood back to the arms and legs and help flush out lactic acid that causes post workout soreness and fatigue.
The first thing Olympian and Bronze medallist Henri Schoeman does after a workout is jump into an ice bath. Other Olympians who use freezing water as a recovery tool are race walkers Lebogang Shange and Marc Mundell who also makes use of Cryotherapy (cold water therapy).
“After normal training sessions I try and get into an ice bath or cryotherapy (cold water therapy) to get the blood flowing.” Marc Mundell
Depending on your pain threshold and type of massage, a post workout massage is either going to be painful or relaxing. Sports massages help increase blood flow, help relieve muscle soreness and relieve stress.
Olympians who use massages to help them recover are Lebogang Shange and Dominique Scott.
“Frequent stretching and weekly massages also help my muscles stay loose and injury free” Dominique Scott
Most muscle recovery occurs while we are sleeping. Sleeping forms a crucial part of both pre-game preparation and recovery. Mari Rabie, Dominque Scott, Henri Schoeman and Chad Ho all list sleep as an important recovery tool.
“..The best thing to do for recovery is sleep. As much as possible.” Henri Schoeman
How do you recover? Share in the comments below.
*excerpts taken from Nutreats interviews with the quoted Olympians.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.