MXFIT ACADEMY

MOBILITY & RECOVERY

Moving in to learning more about the training side of your performance. Wwe weill start with your Mobility, Movement & Recovery. 

IMPORTANCE OF MOBILITY

Tied in with mobility & recovery is also Injury Management. Ensuring that we are not only treating our injuries properly, but also recovering our injuries completely and going all the way to 100%, and not leaving it at just 70% like most people often do. 

RECOVERY

Your recovery is just as, if not more important than your actual training!

“There is no such thing as Over Training, there is only Under Recovering.”

The reson why recovery is so important is because this is where your progress and adaptaions are made. 

When we train, we are not making changes during our training. Let me say that again… We do not make progress and changes to our body during our training!

It is only when we leave the gym, and we put ourselves into an effective recovery state, that our body will start the repair and adapt to the stresses and loads that we have been subjected to, in order to be able to be better prepared for the next time that we do it. 

Therefore, no recovery (or poor recovery) means no progress, adaptaion and results!

There are 6 areas you need to focus on in order to get the most out of your recovery and subsequently, your training:

  • Blood Flow
  • Myofascial/Trigger-point relief
  • Mobility
  • CNS (Central Nervous System)
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition

You can learn more about each of these methods by clicking them above. 

When deciding on how to go about doing your recovery work, this is my recommendation…

Don’t do all these at once straight away!

The two that You should start with and get dialled in first are your Sleep and Nutrition. 

These two when done properly are the best and most effective ways to manage your recovery. You could have all of the other methods nailed, but if ou’re not sleeping properly every night, and eating correctly, then you will still struggle with your recovery and progress. 

So make sure that you start there. 

My next suggestion is to pick just one of the other 4 methods to begin with.

This is simply because if you just start doing all of the methods at once, you aren’t going to know which one is being the most effective or helpful for you. You will also struggle to be able to properly do all of them at once effectively. 

So start with one, try it out for 3-4 weeks, and see how you feel and if you think it is being effective. If not, then simply move on to the next one. If it is working well for you, then stick with it until you start to feel like you may need to add in something else. 

 

SLEEP

The time you spend sleeping is when most of your adaptations take place. This is the time that the body uses to repair the damage done to your muscles throughout the day and also to ‘recharge your batteries’.

As an Athlete, you need more sleep than the average person. With the recommendation for an average person at 7 hours minimum. You need to be getting 8-9 hours each night minimum in order to recover from your training stresses.

To try and make your time asleep even more beneficial, try to make your room as dark as possible, remove or switch off as much technology as possible, and make it as quiet as possible also. This will help you to have deeper sleeps which will be more beneficial for you.

Create A Routine!

One of the most beneficial things you can ever do to help you to not only get yourself good, deep, restorative sleep, but to also help you to fall asleep nice and fast is to create a routine around your bed time. 

This isn’t exactly ground breaking info, we know this and do it with babies and toddlers, but for some reason we decide as we grow older that we no longer need it. 

To get in the habit of falling asleep at certain times or situations, it’s important to create a routine. This doesnt need to be crazy, complicated or have many steps, and the simpler the better. 

The whole idea of creating a routine, is so that once we have run this routine enough times and we start to associate this routine with sleep. All we need to do is simply start the routine at just about any time and we will be able to pass out nice and easy. 

Tips for the routine;

  1. Include activities or actions that don’t require ‘screen time’. Try and remove any and all screens from 30-40 minutes out from the time you want to go to sleep. 
  2. Start by reducing light, making the room dark. This signals to the brain to start releasing melotonin and get ready for sleep. 
  3. Signal the body for down-regulation; There a several things that you can do that will signal the body to move into the rest/sleep state. These include; strecthing, breathing techniques, and consequently routines as well. 

NUTRITION

Nutrition is probably the biggest factors regarding your ability to recover from your training.

Basically if your body doesn’t have enough energy to repair the damage from your training, energy that is derived from the foods that you eat, then you simply cannot recover from your training sessions.

Eating not only enough food in order to recover, but also the right kinds of foods (macro-nutrients) is the key to optimal recovery.

Protein:
Protein is very important post workout, as it is what is going to be used to repair your damaged muscles.
Getting a good amount of high quality protein in post workout by either supplements or whole foods like chicken, meat or fish is going to be very beneficial for your recovery.

Carbohydrates:
Carbs are also essential to your recovery post workout. As carbs are used for energy in the body, you have just depleted most of your energy stores from your workout and now need to replenish them.
Carbs also play a roll in shuttling nutrients around the body. So they will also aid in your recovery by delivery the required nutrients to your muscles etc in order to help them to recover.
When it comes to choosing the right carbs post workout. You need to be consuming fast acting High Glycemic carbs. This is basically sugary and sweet foods. This is because you need these fast acting carbs and their quick uptake in order to get them into your system as fast as possible. This is where good old sugar and lollies can actually be helpful and good for you.

Total Calories:
But all of this would be pretty much wasted if you simply weren’t getting enough total food in each day.
Your total calorie intake for the day must at least match or be higher than your total energy consumption for the day. Otherwise, where is your body going to get the energy to do all the extra recovery work on your muscles?

BLOOD FLOW

This is a recovery method where we use low intensity (usually cyclical) movements,  to help get the blood flowing and pump fresh oxygenated blood through your body and your muscles. This is going to help to remove some of the negative byproducts that are left behind after hard training. 

Some great ways of doing this is light/easy cycling, swimming and walking. All done at a pace that you could easily have a conversation with someone whilst doing it.

Remember, this is recovery work, not a training session. 

During race season, this could be effective the day after racing if you tend to come off a bit sore afterwards. 

A really good time to utilise this method is when you complete your ‘Readiness Surveys’ at the beginning of each of your training sessions on TrainHeroic. If you get a poor Readiness Score (between 1.5 and 2.5) then I would suggest that you do some easy blood flow work and possibly some Mobility or Massage work as well, in place of your scheduled training session. 

Do not worry about skipping a training session if you find yourself in this situation. You would only do yourself more harm than good if you were to train while in a state like this anyway, so getting a recovery session and some blood flow work in will be far more beneficial for you, both in the short term and the long term. 

However… If you do find yourself having to do this every week, or fairly regularly, then I would reccomend you reach out to one of our coaches to see what thet suggest, as this is not what we want to be seeing. 

Here is an example of a Blood Flow recovery session:

Exercise: Spin Bike

Length: 20-40 mins (depending on fitness level and amount of soreness)

Intensity: Low intensity (conversational pace) with Nasal breathing Only keeping HR below 180bpm minus your age (eg: for 20 y/o: 180 – 20 = 160bpm)

MIOFASCIAL/TRIGGER POINT RELEIF

In simple terms, this is basically a sports massage. Loosening the muscles, removing knots and tight spots.

This is massive and probably one of the most beneficial forms of recovery. If tight muscles and knots are left they can not only hinder your performance but they can actually cause further injury! So sorting these before they escalate is extremely important.

I highly reccomend that you find a good physiotherapist or massage therapist that you like and stick with them. As the more you visit them, the more they will get to learn you and your body and be able to better help you. 

This can also be done by yourself by foam rolling and using a lacrosse ball ect. Working on those areas you just trained and areas that might be a little bit tight.

MOBILITY

Static stretching, loosening up stiff muscles and improving your flexibility is also another great way to aid in your recovery and should be something you do every single day, at least once a day and even up to 3 or 4 times a day. Doing some static stretching after your workouts focusing on the areas you just trained is the very least you should be doing.

Attending yoga classes are also very beneficial, or you can do my favorite and sign up for RomWOD and follow their daily mobility program videos in your own time.

Hint: Doing some stretching (or a RomWOD) right before bed time is a great way to downregulate and helps you to fall asleep faster. 

Improving your mobility and flexibility will not only help you to move better, it will also help with injury prevention in the event of a crash.

CNS (Central Nervous System)

This is the pathways between your brain and the spinal cord and throughout your whole body. Your CNS gets pretty beaten up when you train hard and put a lot of stresses on your body.

This can be very deceiving as you may feel 100% but your CNS can be very fatigued. Going out riding in this state, your reaction times will be slower, you won’t be able to perform optimally and you are putting yourself at high risk of injury, the same goes for in the gym.

Pretty much the best way to recover your CNS is by Rest and Relaxation. Taking time out of your day to just chill, otherwise you will be just running yourself into the ground. This also ties in with our Sleep.

Kowing when to use this is something that over time you will learn to pick up just through feel and understanding of yourself and your body. But until you learn this, a really good way is to use your Resting HR and HRV numbers. If your resting HR is 5 or more BPM higher than your normal average, then you know that you have some serious fatigue build up and you need to rest and recover. Which also ties in with the next point…

FATIGUE MANAGEMENT

Training is a stressor, as are many things in your life, and they all have to be taken into account when it comes to recovery. It’s not just how much training you’re doing.

If you’re not adequately managing ALL the stress in your life, this will impact your nervous system and in turn, impact your health AND performance.

How do you know if you’re managing the stress?

Test and retest.

What I want you to do is take 3 measures of the state of your nervous system.

The 3 test are;

  • CO2 Tolerance Test
  • Resting HR
  • Heart Rate Variability.

Then you need to perform your 3 tests for about a week to establish baselines. Then you can perform those 3 tests at any point and compare them against your baselines to see what the state of your nervous system is. Because you have three pieces of data you’re going to get a clearer representation of where things are at. If you just used one thing, you can be misled.

If you have a chest strap HR monitor (recommended), like the polar H10. Then you can utilise the Elite HRV app! This is the way that I take my morning readiness reading every day. This will not only take your resting HR but also your HRV (heart rate variablity). The app will then store all of your daily readings and give you a ‘Readiness Score’ and a recomendation on if you can train hard, take it easy, or have a day off. 

Then do the CO2 Tolerance test…
– Take 3-5 normal breaths
– Take 1 more deep inhale
– Start exhale & time duration (exhale as long & as slow as possible)
– This time is your score.
Scores:
Elite – 80 + seconds
Advanced – 60-80 sec
Intermediate – 40-60 sec
Average – 20-40 sec
Poor – < 20 sec
Contact me with your results and if you have any questions.

It is also important to try and take these readings at the same time each day and in the same position (eg. sitting), so as to make this as controlled as possible. My personal recommendation is to make this a staple in your morining routine. So every day the first thing you do is get up and take your resting HR, and then do any of your other morning routines.