Post Game Recovery

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Recovery

As season 2017 approaches for our winter sports (Football, Netball, Basketball etc….) and everyone starts playing matches, one issue that often isn’t discussed in enough detail is RECOVERY.

Recovery – “To return to a normal state of health, mind or strength”

If we use Aussie Rules Football for an example – after a 2 hour game the athletes have been running at high speeds, burning the body’s energy stores, using up its hydration stores as well as copping plenty of bumps and knocks throughout the game. Usually the athlete then has 6-7 days before they have to play again – training 2-3 times before this next game.
So obviously the quicker the athlete can get their body to return to a “normal state” the more advantageous it is.

How can you as the athlete ‘speed’ up the recovery process??? (the million $$ question)

At RAD we have three non negotiables when it comes to recovery post game:
1. Drink
2. Eat
3. Sleep

DRINK – It is essential to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat during the game! This can be a combination of water, sports drinks or flavoured milk. Ideally consuming 1.5litres of fluid for ever 1kg of weight lost during the game. (as an example, some footballers lose up to 3-4kgs in a game!!






EAT – During the game you have burnt a lot of energy, we need to fill these stores up quick! With the two key things being: Carbs (fuel) and Protein (Muscle repair and development)

The body is most effective at replacing carbohydrate and promoting muscle repair and growth in the first ~60-90min after exercise, however this will continue to occur for another ~12-24hr.
During the first 30mins some options may include: Fruit, smoothie, Chicken salad sandwich, Flavoured milk.
Within the first 2 hours some options may include: Steak and vegies, Chicken risotto, Chicken burrito with salad and cheese.


SLEEP – ideally post game you want to be getting 8-10 hours sleep. This gives the body a chance to start repairing the damage from the game, re-charge the batteries and help get it ready to go for the next session.

Appropriate sleep quality and quantity is anecdotally reported to be the single best recovery strategy available to athletes (Halson, 2008)

The other 1%ers:

Ice bath:
Foam roll:
Active recovery
Compression garments:
Massage boots:

We won’t go into the detail of each of these 1%ers in this post – that will be saved for the next post.
The important thing to realise here is that not everyone responds to these recovery modalities the same – same as in the gym, what works for one person may not work for the next person.
Often recovery wise – what the individual thinks works for them helps. Everyone knows that there is a lot of research out there on ice-baths and their effect on recovery (good and bad), I will save the in depth discussion here for a future post but basically: If I have 2 athletes that have ticked off the 3 non-negotiables and are seeking further recovery – but one of them hates ice-baths, that is fine I will encourage them to perform one of the other 1%ers eg, massage and compression garments.



Another way to look at recovery can be done using the analogy of an empty glass – golf balls/sand.
Golf balls = our 3 non negotiables DRINK / EAT / SLEEP
Sand = the 1%ers

If we fill the jar with the sand first of all and then try and fit the golf balls in on top you will notice there isn’t much room for the golf balls to fit……
Eg. If you stay up all night doing ice baths, getting massage and active recovery – there isn’t much room for sleep and food/drink.

But if we place the golf balls in first – and then pour the sand in, you will notice the sand fills the gaps around the golf balls
Eg. If you eat and drink early on then complete some 1%ers before getting a good night sleep you can now fit everything in! Magic!



Post game – drink plenty of fluids (water, sports drinks) , Eat some good foods (salad roll, fruit smoothie) and then get a good nights sleep (8-10 hours).



Sports Dieticians Australia – www.sportsdietitians.com.au

Shona L. Halson (2008) Nutrition, sleep and recovery, European Journal of Sport Science, 8:2, 119-126[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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