Tag: functional fitness

Recovery: How to do it like a professional

Recovery is crucial for athletes competing at all levels – from weekend warrior to professional. The quicker you can recover, the quicker you can get back to your regular rhythm.

There are a few things you can do after a competition (or strenuous training) to help with quick recovery.

Hydrate

Few things are more important for your performance and recovery than hydration. Dehydration can cause muscle fatigue, lack of coordination, and muscle cramps – three things you don’t want to experience on competition day. Water is essential for every cellular process in your body (including recovery), so it is important beyond just the athletic components. Webmd.com suggests that you should drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound. For a 150 pound athlete, that means between 75 and 150 ounces of water a day is an acceptable range. Not sure if you’re getting enough water? Consider investing in a water bottle you really like, figuring out how many ounces it has, and keeping track of how many times you fill it up throughout the day.

Add Anti-Inflammatories

Studies show that choosing foods or supplements rich in antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories can help with delayed-onset-muscle-soreness (DOMs) after your workout, and can even enhance the recovery of the muscles themselves. (1) Consider adding a turmeric supplement to your regimen, and a few tart cherries (or tart cherry juice) per week. On competition week, up the tart cherry dosage to one serving per day. Tart cherries have antioxidant compounds that are believed to work their magic by decreasing excess inflammation. Less inflamed, less sore, and enhanced recovery sounds too good to be true.

Massage, Foam Roll and Stretch

Massage and foam rolling can help by getting blood flow to sore or fatigued muscles, which can reduce inflammation. Stretching aims at combating muscular tightness and range of motion. (2) Stretching can be static or dynamic, and in either case should not be done cold. Combining the techniques is a winning strategy – massage or foam rolling gets the blood moving and warms up the muscles to stretch and increase the range of motion.

Detox Bath 

An Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) bath can help promote muscle relaxation, allowing achy, cramped muscles to loosen. If you are bathing in hot water, your blood vessels will also dilate and release built-up cellular waste. (3) A hot bath will also help you sweat some of those toxins out. And a spell in the bath could do wonders for your mental relaxation, as well.

Cool it on the Booze 

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it aids in dehydration. So while you may want to reach for a cold one after your competition, if you have more physical tasks to complete the following day (say, a second day of competition), you might want to pass or drink lots of extra fluids to compensate for the booze. You may not perform as well on day two.

 

Sleep 

Six to eight hours of high-quality sleep will help sustain you for competition. There are lots of biological reasons to get a good night’s sleep before and after your competition, including how sleep affects your metabolism, mood and fatigue (4). It may be harder for you to fall asleep after a competition. All the more reason to take a relaxing epsom salt bath before your head hits the pillow.

 

(1)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25795285
(2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/massage-foam-rolling-and-stretching-a-recipe-for-muscle-recovery/2014/07/15/a0d7519a-0907-11e4-bbf1-cc51275e7f8f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9d5212521c70
(3) https://asweatlife.com/2017/06/recover-at-home-with-epsom-salt-baths/
(4) https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-167-sleep-and-athletes

 

Competition Day: What to Tell Your Athletes Ahead of Time

It is crucial that you communicate competition-day logistics to your athletes before event day.

This sets you up for success and keeps your focus off of answering athlete questions throughout the day. We recommend sending your athletes an email with all the information they’ll need for competition day. We recommend sending this email 7-10 days before the competition.

Here are a few things you should tell your Athletes ahead of time:

  1. Where to park (or NOT park):

    It’s helpful to send a parking map with any all-clear or off-limits parking zones clearly marked. You might consider taking a screenshot of your venue from the Google Maps Satellite View and marking off the “Yes” and “No” zones to attach to the “Week of Competition” email. If there is a specific place you want them to set up their tents (or NOT set up their tents), you need to tell them that in advance as well.

  2. The Food Vendor Situation:

    Your athletes need to know if there will be food onsite, what that food will be, and if it will be free or available for purchase. If it’s available for purchase but has specific payment requirements (like Cash Only), be sure to indicate that as well.

  3. When they are working out:

    Your athletes need to know the heat schedule before competition day for several reasons. The first reason is food timing and knowing when/what they should plan to eat. The second reason is because it allows them to invite spectators without expecting them to be there all day and wait around. And the third reason is so they know how long they will have to rest and recover. Note: *Check out this post for tips to making a great heat schedule.*

  4. Special equipment needs:

    Most athletes will have a stocked bag of their preferred equipment. But it’s  still better to let folks know what they might encounter on competition day so they can pack their bag accordingly. For example, if Annie makes an appearance, you definitely want to give athletes a heads up that they will need a jump rope – especially if you didn’t publicize your workouts beforehand.

  5. Anything you DON’T want them to do:

    If there is something you don’t want athletes to do, you need to tell them. For example, if you don’t want athletes using the gym bathroom and instead want them to use the Port-O-Johns, you need to tell them.

  6. Waivers:

    Some competitions require athletes to print and sign their waivers ahead of time. If you’d like athletes to bring their waivers to the check-in table, that’s great! Just make sure you include a copy of the waiver and set the expectation in the week-of email.

  7. Check-in information:

    Include any details about when athlete check-in begins on competition day. You might include any details about what you need to check-in (for example, all team members must be present to check in, etc)

What other information do you send to athletes on competition week?

Tips for Making Your Heat Schedule

A heat schedule is a must-have for a well-run competition.

If you want to have a smooth competition, a heat schedule is absolutely essential. A heat schedule helps keep you on the clock. It keeps your athletes and judges informed about when they need to be ready. And a timeline ensures that you have “go-times” for volunteers who are doing things like equipment changeover. *Check out this post for more information on how many volunteers you need at your competition.*

While it is critical to have a heat schedule, your standard “this is the order in which athletes signed up” timeline might miss the mark. Take a tip from regionals and the games: heats organized by ability level make for a more exciting competition day.

There are a few ways to approach organizing your heats by likelihood of earning a spot on the podium.

  1. Now, you could do all the leg-work yourself and export the athletes’ performance in the Open. But that is a lot of unnecessary work, especially because the athletes can do the work for you. You can ask them to provide their region placement in the past Open as a registration question.
  2. Alternatively, you might consider running a qualifier workout. In this scenario, you would program a workout that is representative of the difficulty level of your event. Athletes would complete the workout and log their score by a certain date (with or without video submission – you choose), and you can make your heat schedule from there. You could also decide to have the qualifier score count towards their overall event placement, or wipe the slate clean and use it just as a heat scheduling tool. If you have a lot of athletes competing and your competition day timeline is stretched a bit thin, it might be very useful to have athletes complete one of the scored workouts beforehand. This can also be useful if the workout is longer and/or boring for your spectators to watch.
  3. A strategy that our friends at Lex Artis use is one we endorse and love. At the point of registration, they ask athletes to answer one additional question: “How likely is it, on a scale from 1 to 5, that you podium? (1 meaning very likely and 5 meaning just for fun).” Athletes typically know and are honest about their ability levels. And you’re happy, because they do the work for you!

Have you used another strategy to make your heat schedule? What worked? What didn’t? We’d love to hear about it.