Symmetry Blog

Train Hard! Race Hard! Recover Harder!

Symmetry Physio - Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Do you have an after training or racing recovery plan?



Train Hard! Race Hard! Recover Harder!!

Rest and recovery are essential parts of any good training program. After hard exercise recovery has a massive impact on your fitness gains and sports performance and allows you to train much more effectively. During this time between training sessions, our bodies are going through their adaptation processes and we are actually getting stronger and fitter. So it is essential we allocate time and appropriate strategies to recovery to optimise the effects we want from our training. Unfortunately, many people don't have an after training or racing recovery plan. Here are some tips to get your post-workload plans on track.

Replace Lost Fluids and Electrolytes

You lose a lot of fluid during exercise and while you can replace some of this during exercise it is not always possible to match your losses. So replenishing post exercise is essential for recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrition transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function. Adequate fluid and electrolyte replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who lose large volumes of fluids due to the duration of their events.

Recovery foods

After depleting your energy stores with exercise, you need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. This is even more important if you are performing endurance exercise day after day to trying to build muscle. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate. Purpose designed recovery drinks are a quick and easy solution!


Rest after exercise is essential for muscle and tissue repair and strength building. This is even more critical after a heavy training session or racing. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building. For longer endurance races this period is likely to be significantly longer.

Active Recovery

 Easy, gentle movement and stretching improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster and can accompany your rest from training. Remember this isn't training.


Massage feels good and is thought to improve circulation and removal of waste products. it is also a useful assessment tool to identify any tight spots in your muscles that may indicate an area of strain. Get onto these early!!

Ice Baths

Some athletes love ice baths, or hot/cold baths to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury. The theory behind this method is that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps to remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues. There has been research which has found benefits of contrast water therapy are reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).


Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. Maybe the most important recovery tool! During sleep, your body does its best healing, tissue growth and repair. Studies have shown that inadequate sleep actually significantly increases your injury risk.

Listen to your body!!

The most important thing you can do to recover quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. If you pay attention, in most attention, in most cases, your body will let you know what it needs, when it needs it. The problem for many of us is that we don't listen to those warnings. or we dismiss them. Now always remember to seek professional help if you sense something isn't quite right before it is too late. No one wants to be injured!!

Shay McLeod

Symmetry Physiotherapy


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