It’s my day off of training, now what do I do?
This seems to be a commonly asked question throughout the strength and endurance athlete population. Often times athletes feel the overwhelming need to “do something.” Examples of this “something” are often “I just have to sweat today” or “If I don’t work out today, I will get weak.”
Having these feelings that compel us to train even on a scheduled day off can be a gift and a curse at the same time. This desire to train is an indicator of a good work ethic, but at the same time can lead to overtraining and ultimately possible injury. In my opinion, the best 275-lb power lifter in the world (Alan Best) told me a very true statement about training:
“To lift at an elite level, we need to find that grey area between overtraining, and training just enough. There is some overlap there, but that is where we need to be to take it to the next level.”
Here are four steps that will help ensure athletes realize their potential by maximizing recovery time.
Four Steps to Maximize Recovery
1. Proper Nutrition (eating every 2-3 hours throughout the day)
Many times we get too wrapped up in one thing in our diet – How much protein am I eating? and I have to keep my diet low fat.
We must remember that protein is vitally important to recovery, but just as important is our muscle and liver glycogen stores (from good complex carbohydrates, not beer, ha-ha). Our intake of good fats (unsaturated and Omega 3-6-9) is vitally important to our body’s energy systems as well!
Think of your body as a furnace. If you don’t’ put good dry wood (good complex carbs/healthy fats) into the fire, the fire (metabolism) will turn off. In essence, if you are always eating low carb, you are starving your body’s energy system/glycogen stores. The body goes into conservation mode and your natural metabolism turns off. This may work for your average sedentary computer jockey, but when we ask it to perform at a high athletic level, our performance suffers!
Brian Kiraly’s Recovery Diet
- 1.5 gallons water a day
- 05:30 – ¾ cup plain oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 cup fat-free milk, 1.5 scoops ALLMAX Isoflex whey protein isolate
- 08:30 – apple, peanut butter jelly sandwich on 5 grain whole wheat and almond butter
- 11:00 – 1 cup brown rice, 1.5 chicken breast, ½ cup green beans
- 14:00 – medium sized salad, 4 hard boiled eggs, ½ cup brown rice
- 15:30 – Isoflex Triple Layer Protein Bar
- 17:00 – 1 cup brown rice, avocado slices, 2 chicken breasts, 8 stalks asparagus
- 20:00 – low-fat cheese stick, ½ cup unpopped plain popcorn
- 21:30 – 1.5 scoops ALLMAX Casein protein with 5 grams ALLMAX glutamine
2. Proper Water Intake
Remember our body is made of roughly 60% water and our muscle tissue is made up of nearly 80% water!! With this in mind, it is easy to see why our level of hydration directly affects our strength levels. Every day athletes across the globe underestimate the value of proper water intake. Here are just a few things that our hydration level directly effects:
- Body temperature
- Transport of nutrients throughout the body
- Our ability to metabolize fats
- Our ability to flush toxins from the body
The recommended Adequate Intake (AI) for water is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. 3.7 liters is roughly 1 gallon of water throughout the day. Keep in mind that your individual need for water will vary based on your body composition (larger body & increased muscle composition equals an increased need for water intake.)
Continue any dietary supplementation you may be doing to aid in the recovery process.
Many of the cornerstones for a solid supplement routine have been shown to greatly enhance recovery. ALLMAX creatine, micronized glutamine, Omega-3 fish oil, beta-alanine and of course, Isoflex protein (which are very popular throughout the strength and endurance community) are a few of my personal favorites to help aid in quick recovery.
4. Three Recovery Techniques
Commonly overlooked keys for recovery are self-myofascial release therapy (SMRT), mobility and flexibility training.
These three techniques are vitally important and can drastically improve your athletic performance when implemented correctly. Remember that with muscle movement comes fresh blood transporting the oxygen and nutrients to allow our muscles to recover and grow! Check out my website Kiraly Strength Systems to view an instructional video on some of the above listed active recovery techniques.
With this in mind, I will foam roll & static stretch in the A.M. and P.M. of my off-days. I have noticed a significant difference in the quickness of my recovery and in my mobility or ability to move pain-free.
Follow these tips, train hard and supplement wisely and you’ll notice a huge difference in your strength after recovery.
Written by Team ALLMAX Athlete Brian Kiraly, Professional Power Lifter