Tag Archives: muscle recovery

Finish Your Workout With Protein

15 May

If you train at my facility, then you know that every training session ends with a reminder to “eat and get your protein.”  And, although protein consumption can come from a variety of sources, whey protein shakes are a quick, convenient, and portable way to ensure that you’re getting an adequate quantity and quality of post-workout protein.

Drink a protein shake right after your workout to aid and facilitate muscle recovery.  Consuming protein, following your workout, “can increase muscle protein synthesis by 100% for up to 24 hours,” says Michael Roussell, PhD and nutritionist.

Additionally, keep in mind that protein consumption should not be limited to post-workout.  To maximize muscle protein synthesis throughout the day, aim to get some protein every three to four hours, including lean protein at every meal or snack.  Research shows that active individuals should get about 0.6-0.8 grams of protein, per pound of body weight, per day.  Competitive athletes may need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, daily.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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What Are You Doing Outside the Gym?

27 Jan

M_Id_122832_Walking_the_dog[1]OK, so you’ve hit the gym a few times this week, and you’re feeling pretty good about it (as well you should).  And, since the effects of your workout are both cumulative and residual (studies show that the metabolic impact of resistance training persists in your musculature for up to 48 hours), you’re getting a good return on your exercise investment.

Keep doing what you’re doing and, additionally, consider this:  There are 168 hours in a week.  If you’re working out 2-3 days a week, for an hour each day, that leaves a lot of time spent outside the gym or weight room.  Are your efforts outside the gym complementing your time spent exercising?

Diet & Nutrition

There’s no need to be extreme or fanatical about what you eat, but your diet may be the single-most important aspect of your strength and fitness regimen.  You can drive a Ferrari but it won’t perform optimally on crappy fuel.  Same goes for your body.  The quantity of your dietary intake is important — you need an adequate and appropriate number of calories to consistently be at your best.  The quality of the foods you eat is equally important.  Your meals and snacks should be well-balanced, each incorporating clean carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein.  Check out my blog posts on pre- and post-workout nutrition.

Rest & Sleep

If you’re working hard in the weight room, your muscles need time to adequately recover and regenerate.  Always allow a day of rest between workouts, especially if the workouts involve similar muscle groups and movements.  And get a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis.  For most of us, 7-8 hours a night should help to ensure that we are ready to face the challenges of the day — mentally and physically.

Stay Active

Engage in outside activities and interests that require you to move around.  Cut the grass, work in your garden, walk the dog, take a hike or bike ride, go bowling.  Avoid excessive periods of inactivity.  Limit your time in front of the television and/or computer.  Don’t allow yourself to be sedentary.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Compression Garments and Their Effects on Exercise Performance and Recovery

4 Apr

2012_Under_Armour_ColdGear_Mens_Ventilated_Compression_Shorts[1]Companies like Under Armour have revolutionized the compression garment industry.  And it has gone way beyond functionality, as this attire has become interwoven into our fashion culture.  Over the past several years, researchers have studied the use of compression garments to determine their potential effects on exercise performance and recovery.

The theory behind these products is that the compression they provide improves/increases circulation, which, in turn, enhances performance and recovery (keep in mind medical compression stockings have been used in the treatment of poor venous blood flow for more than 50 years).

Compression garments speed recovery through direct compression and improved muscle oxygenation. Wearing these garments after exercise has been shown to virtually eliminate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and has shown real improvements in muscle recovery.

Recent research with athletes has shown that compression garments may provide ergogenic benefits (enhancing physical performance) for athletes during exercise by positively influencing psychological factors. Research has also shown that compression garments may promote enhanced recovery during periods following strenuous exercise.  Other investigations have suggested that the use of compression garments during recovery periods may reduce the symptoms associated with delayed onset muscle soreness.

Although there have been limited investigations linking the influence of compression garments on athletic performance, it appears the use of compression garments may have a positive effect on athletes during exercise and during recovery periods following exercise. To date, no studies have reported negative effects on exercise performance, and so the use of compression garments may provide a useful training tool for athletes across a wide variety of sports.

Ultimately, it appears that compression clothing is an effective recovery strategy following exercise-induced muscle damage.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Muscle Recovery 101

13 Jul
Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey on Whole Grain Bread

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey on Whole Grain Bread

The way exercise works is actually pretty simple.  Exercise helps stoke your body’s fat-burning and muscle-building capabilities.

The harder (and higher intensity at which) you train, the better response you get.  Moderate- to high-intensity exercise stimulates the mobilization of your fat stores (that means it gets fat out of “storage” and into the bloodstream where it can be used by the muscles as energy).

This effect can last up to 24 hours (some experts contend the effect lasts even longer) and allows you to burn more fat even when you’re not exercising.

After your workout, your body is hungry for and ready to convert consumed proteins into new muscle.  Depending on your strength and fitness goals, consuming the right nutrients after your workout can help you burn more fat and/or add more muscle.

CARBOHYDRATES

Volumes of research prove that consuming carbohydrates within 30 minutes post-workout can stimulate muscle glycogen re-synthesis (energy, in the form of stored glucose, in your muscles).  This can help restore your muscles’ energy supplies for future workouts.

PROTEIN

Equally as important, consuming protein, particularly its essential amino acids, immediately after and up to 3 hours post-workout provides the body with the building blocks for muscle protein synthesis. When you combine carbs with protein after a workout, especially a prolonged, resistance training session, you can maximize the results of your strength training regimen.

POST-WORKOUT (Carb + Protein Combo) SNACKS

Here’s a short list of ideas for your next post-workout snack:

  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt with berries/fresh fruit
  • Hard-boiled egg and apple slices
  • Lean turkey/chicken breast sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce, tomato, and sliced avocado

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

How to Improve Force Production

4 Feb

revwads18cut-1[1]There are many factors that affect force production (the amount of force produced in a muscle, or muscles).  Improvements in force production can optimize sport-specific skill performance, including running, jumping, throwing, and hitting/striking.

Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy weight (e.g, 65-80% 1RM) produces greater tension in the muscle which, in turn, leads to greater motor unit (neuromuscular) recruitment, which affects force production.  The number of active motor units is directly proportional to the amount of force production.  (It should also be noted that heavy lifting and explosive concentric training [see below] have the potential to activate more fast-twitch muscle fibers)

Preloading

Preloading is the tension developed in the muscle before you move the weight.  When you bench press, deadlift, or squat, you can’t move the bar off the rack or floor until sufficient force is developed in the muscle to overcome the inertia of the barbell.

Overload Eccentric Training

Use very heavy resistance (≥ 100% 1RM) to perform “negatives,” which emphasize the lowering phase/movement of a lift.  For safety reasons, it may be advisable to use a spotter (or spotters) for certain exercises, such as the bench press, to assist in returning the weight to the original (up) position.

Explosive Concentric Training

When training for explosive concentric movements — where the goal is generating velocity — use relatively light resistance.

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises exploit the stretch-shortening cycle to generate maximum force in minimum time.  This involves “prestretching” a muscle immediately before a concentric action to enhance force production during the subsequent muscle action.

Rest

It’s important to incorporate rest days into your training regimen in order to allow muscles time to recover and repair.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Finish Your Workout With Protein

10 Jan

best-protein-poweders[1]If you train at my facility, then you know that every training session ends with a reminder to “eat and get your protein.”  And, although protein consumption can come from a variety of sources, protein shakes are a quick, convenient, and portable way to ensure that you’re getting an adequate quantity and quality of post-workout protein.

Drink a protein shake right after your workout to aid and facilitate muscle recovery.  Consuming protein, following your workout, “can increase muscle protein synthesis by 100% for up to 24 hours,” says Michael Roussell, PhD and nutritionist.

Additionally, keep in mind that protein consumption should not be limited to post-workout.  To maximize muscle protein synthesis throughout the day, aim to get some protein every three to four hours, including lean protein at every meal or snack.  Research shows that active individuals should get about 0.6-0.8 grams of protein, per pound of body weight, per day.  Competitive athletes may need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, daily.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

What Are You Doing Outside the Gym?

9 Oct

M_Id_122832_Walking_the_dog[1]OK, so you’ve hit the gym a few times this week, and you’re feeling pretty good about it (as well you should).  And, since the effects of your workout are both cumulative and residual (studies show that the metabolic impact of resistance training persists in your musculature for up to 48 hours), you’re getting a good return on your exercise investment.

Keep doing what you’re doing and, additionally, consider this:  There are 168 hours in a week.  If you’re working out 2-3 days a week, for an hour each day, that leaves a lot of time spent outside the gym or weight room.  Are your efforts outside the gym complementing your time spent exercising?

Diet & Nutrition

There’s no need to be extreme or fanatical about what you eat, but your diet may be the single-most important aspect of your strength and fitness regimen.  You can drive a Ferrari but it won’t perform optimally on crappy fuel.  Same goes for your body.  The quantity of your dietary intake is important — you need an adequate and appropriate number of calories to consistently be at your best.  The quality of the foods you eat is equally important.  Your meals and snacks should be well-balanced, each incorporating clean carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein.  Check out my blog posts on pre- and post-workout nutrition.

Rest & Sleep

If you’re working hard in the weight room, your muscles need time to adequately recover and regenerate.  Always allow a day of rest between workouts, especially if the workouts involve similar muscle groups and movements.  And get a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis.  For most of us, 7-8 hours a night should help to ensure that we are ready to face the challenges of the day — mentally and physically.

Stay Active

Engage in outside activities and interests that require you to move around.  Cut the grass, work in your garden, walk the dog, take a hike or bike ride, go bowling.  Avoid excessive periods of inactivity.  Limit your time in front of the television and/or computer.  Don’t allow yourself to be sedentary.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Compression Garments and Their Effects on Exercise Performance and Recovery

11 Mar

2012_Under_Armour_ColdGear_Mens_Ventilated_Compression_Shorts[1]Companies like Under Armour have revolutionized the compression garment industry.  And it has gone way beyond functionality, as this attire has become interwoven into our fashion culture.  Over the past several years, researchers have studied the use of compression garments to determine their potential effects on exercise performance and recovery.

The theory behind these products is that the compression they provide improves/increases circulation, which, in turn, enhances performance and recovery (keep in mind medical compression stockings have been used in the treatment of poor venous blood flow for more than 50 years).

Compression garments speed recovery through direct compression and improved muscle oxygenation. Wearing these garments after exercise has been shown to virtually eliminate delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and has shown real improvements in muscle recovery.

Recent research with athletes has shown that compression garments may provide ergogenic benefits (enhancing physical performance) for athletes during exercise by positively influencing psychological factors. Research has also shown that compression garments may promote enhanced recovery during periods following strenuous exercise.  Other investigations have suggested that the use of compression garments during recovery periods may reduce the symptoms associated with delayed onset muscle soreness.

Although there have been limited investigations linking the influence of compression garments on athletic performance, it appears the use of compression garments may have a positive effect on athletes during exercise and during recovery periods following exercise. To date, no studies have reported negative effects on exercise performance, and so the use of compression garments may provide a useful training tool for athletes across a wide variety of sports.

Ultimately, it appears that compression clothing is an effective recovery strategy following exercise-induced muscle damage.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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