Athletic progress is contingent on how well you recover and the recovery process begins as soon as the game ends. Developing a post game recovery routine is a habit that is essential for the mind and body in developing athlete readiness. When the season schedule becomes relentless, the athletes that are most prepared will have the most success. To quote one of my favorite sayings, "luck favors those who are most prepared."
The goal in the recovery process is to restore the body and mind back to pre game levels in the shortest possible period of time. During competition, the athlete can experience fatigue both mentally and physically. Here are some simple strategies to follow to help minimize the effects of fatigue:
- Rehydration - Fluid loss is the first item to address in recovery. Both volume of fluid and electrolytes (sodium) lost in sweat must be replenished to restore the body and mind back to pre game performance. Anywhere between 500 ml and 1500 ml of fluid is lost per hour, depending on the athlete. In addition to fluids being consumed during competition, it is recommended that the athlete consume at the minimum of 500 ml right after. Recommended recovery drinks are: water, chocolate milk, preferred BCAA recovery drink.
2. Macronutrients - Post game meals should be good sources of carbohydrates and protein. To replenish depleted energy levels, it is recommended to consume carbohydrates of higher glycemic index and good source of lean protein for muscle recovery. Consuming fruits such as pineapple (bromelain) or banana (potassium) right after a game help restore energy levels and muscle recovery.
Related Post: Eat Better, Perform Better; Game Day Nutrition Guide
For post game meal ideas, please check out my previous blog by clicking on the link above.
DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) usually sets in 24-48 hours after a game or intense training session and can cause muscles to feel tender, sore, and stiff. To minimize the negative effects of DOMS, active recovery is recommended for long term muscular gains. Start with light aerobic activity; 5 minutes on the bike or jog. Next, add these simple and effective recovery techniques:
Social recovery involves activity for members of the team away from competition as a mental refresher and team spirit bonding. Eating a big post game meal is a common social activity that members of the team and families can bond over. Social recovery is vital for the mind and soul after competition that can be both mentally and emotionally demanding.