We are constantly asked how to best recover between rides, either multiple efforts on the same day or big days back to back.
There are a few key factors that you can implement immediately to help you improve your recovery, it is not sexy, just some basics, that with consistency will always beat quick fixes.
A couple notes on this, no amount of pre, during, or post-ride/workout nutrition will matter if your day-to-day diet consists of soda and Ho Ho’s.
Having a diet based on whole foods, adequate protein and drinking enough water will always be the best thing you can do to have recovery on lock.
Here are some good protein goals to try and hit on a daily basis:
Protein - .8-1 grams of protein per pound of ideal body weight per day.
Water - ½ ounces of water for every pound of body weight.
Example of a 185 pound male who has an ideal body weight of 165. Try to eat 132-165 grams of protein per day, and drink 82.5 ounces of water per day as well.
Proteins are the building blocks of the body. What gets torn down needs to get built back up, and it is protein that does the building.
Staying hydrated is important as well, water is the lubricant that helps everything get to where it needs to go.
Pro Tip: Drink a protein shake immediately upon finishing your workout or ride.
About an hour later, try to eat a well-rounded, balanced meal consisting of lean protein, complex carbs, and two fists full of veggies. Another easy way to think about serving sizes is to break up the plate into quarters...One quarter lean protein (chicken breast), one quarter complex carbs (yams) and one half of your plate veggies (salad w/ vinaigrette dressing).
Drink water throughout the day, trying to hit the ½ ounce per pound of bodyweight goal...Even more if you know you sweat a lot!
Sleep is one of the most underrated necessities for recovery. 7-8 hours of sleep is a great place to live. Try to get into a routine, and prioritize sleep. Pro athletes typically sleep about 10 hours a night and also sprinkle in naps when needed to really help boost recovery. This is very hard to accomplish in modern day life with families, jobs and the hectic schedules that we all tend to have...But if possible shoot for that 7 hour time frame as a minimum!
Try to plan your week where you are getting at least one day of full rest per week. Rest days can have activity in them, but the intensity is low and it resembles a much more active recovery than anything else.
3. Active Recovery
Just because you are sore and everything feels achy and stiff, it does not mean that sitting on the couch and binge-watching Game of Thrones is the best remedy! Most of the time getting up and getting outside, doing some light activity is much more productive for recovery than complete rest.
Recovery is key and usually just takes a little bit of life organization to be able to put some habits in place that can really make a difference!