I recently read a book about recovery, the absolute most important component of sports performance. Apparently. The book, Good To Go is written by a Christie Aschwanden, an international level athlete in several endurance sports, scientist and science journalist, which seems like a pretty good background to on this topic. She investigates the industry that has arisen around recovery and the science behind it. She comes up with a few interesting conclusions.
About scientific studies – Sports science studies are mostly small studies which are difficult to ‘prove’ statistically. They tend to favour the proposition. Study design is also an issue.
About Hydration – you don’t need electrolytes, you don’t need to hydrate, you can drink when thirsty.
About Nutrition – it doesn’t matter when you eat, or what form the food is in. Important is composition … unless you need multiple performance in a single day
About Ice / cold – inflammation promotes growth, repair, recovery. taking away inflammation hinders … unless you need to compete soon
About Heat – – there are no ‘toxins’ arising from exercise that need to be flushed
About Massage – there is no evidence of benefits for recovery, but it is enjoyable and it is possible there is a mechanical effect on the neural system and promotion protein synthesis
About Foamrolling / Compression – there is a small amount of evidence that they may work
About Psychological Recovery – relax, do something you enjoy
About Sleep – It works. Indeed it is the only thing that is guaranteed to make a difference. Get enough sleep.
There are plenty of other things that pop up in different parts. The book is definitely worth a read.
Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.