You will probably be surprised to hear that many of the best athletes in the world train just like everyone else. So what makes these athletes elite? It could simply be that they know how to rest, or more specifically, they understand the importance of workout recovery and actually practice it. How fast professional athletes recover from training sessions generally dictates the amount of energy they will put into their next workout. So, if an athlete puts 100% effort in workout A on Monday, ideally, they want to put 100% effort in workout B on Tuesday.
The muscle recovery phase is where youth football athletes refresh, build muscle and get better. Creating a recovery plan, and documenting off-day recovery habits (integrate into training log) is recommended, as this will aid to improve athlete performance.
YFO Athlete Recovery Tips
- Nutrition. You have a set goal to replenish the nutrients and calories lost during vigorous workouts. Making smart choices will easily get you these necessary nutrients. Avoid fast foods as they will slow muscle recovery and have no nutritional benefit whatsoever.
- Protein from plant sources, spinach, chard and other leafy greens, various seeds & nuts (if not allergic), lentils & beans and chia seeds. As an example, legumes have 18 grams of protein per cooked cup and are perfect for athlete recovery.
- Fruits are nutrient packed, antioxidant powerhouses well constructed to aid in your muscle recovery. Fruits take less energy for us to digest, a conservation of this energy will instead go to muscle recovery. Fruits are also a great source of carbohydrates while providing athletes a burst of vitamins and minerals.
- Rest. This is time to heal and recuperate before the next training session. Sleep is mightily important, that is creating a quiet space to get rest especially at night. Get the playstation out of the bedroom, as the bedroom is strictly for sleeping. Michigan State University published an article on the importance of rest and recovery, in this article they state- ‘Athletes who are sleep deprived are at risk of losing aerobic endurance and may experience subtle changes in hormone levels..’.
- Hydration. Drinking heaping glasses of water helps in the healing and recovery process.
- Stretching. This will help to reduce the soreness that results from tedious workouts. Stretching helps to increase flexibility as well thwarting off the stiffness that comes from strenuous exercise.
One key point is to avoid overtraining. When you train at a point where your body craves recovery, injuries will surface.