How to help the body recover after exercise

Discussion in 'Training, Fitness and Health' started by Cathryn, 17 Apr 2008.

  1. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Three weeks down and counting to the big trip and I'm vaguely nervous. I did 21 miles yesterday - pain free, effortless (ish) and came home with a massive grin on my face, fully confident that me and the gammy leg will soar up the steepest hill between Toulouse and Salzburg.

    Today though...knee aches. Feels a bit illio-tibial from what I remember from my running days.

    Also, the physio suggested I look into what foods and supplements I should devour whilst exercising and also to help the body recover. Any bright ideas? I was thinking carbs whilst exercising and milk afterwards but are there any supplements or things I should be taking?
  2. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Non technical answer - I've used nuts and orange juice at the end of a cycle ride to provide carbohydrates, liquid, and protein. (Nuts are easy to carry a big bag, not get crushed in your bag either, and just snack on a handful). This seems to have helped me a bit.

    I think its meant to be taken within 1hr (is that right?) of stopping your journey.
  3. Blue

    Blue Legendary Member

    I presume you are stretching and icing the area after each ride.

    I have found that Devils Claw is a good anti-inflammatory - but expensive.

    Were you pushing into a headwind on the ride? I find I have to spin in a very easy gear if I don't want a headwind to cause post ride pain.
  4. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    Bag of frozen peas on the knee !!!!

    Milk good post ride and just eat normally, or a bit more carbs and fruit after. Supplements are a waste of time - proper food please - far more tasty !

    Carb drink on the ride if it's beyond what you normally do - not only does it keep performance level, you'll recover better as well.
  5. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    Protein afterwards. So eggs, meat, milk etc.
  6. col

    col Veteran

    Carbs and protien night before,and after,so pasta,potatoe,chicken ,tuna ect.
  7. Horace Goes Skiing

    Horace Goes Skiing New Member

    You'll need the following after exercise, ideally within 20mins of warming down:

    Protein: to help rebuild your damaged muscle. Fancy powders are all very well, but something milky, like milk, will do the trick.

    Carbohydrate: to provide the energy needed to rebuild the damaged muscle. Bananas, Lucozade or similar will be fine.

    Many people swear by SIS Rego, or Choco Milkshake or just a plain old 'nana and yoghurt. It all ends up the same in your stomach, so experiment until you find something you can guzzle shortly after a ride. And don't forget to stretch!
  8. col

    col Veteran

    I understood that the time after exercise could be up to twice that?But that was a while ago.
  9. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I seem to be doing most of this - lots of milk, eggs, meat etc. I'm a bit crap at stretching and don't ice, so I shall start doing both.

    My physio's mentioned something called creatin. Anyone know anything about this? I did think about testosterone patches as it seems to work for the fast boys...but I like being a girl! :smile:
  10. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Creatin only seems to benefit those who are doing very heaving, intense work loads during their training. It doesn't seem to be any help for the lower intensity, endurance type training that most recreational riders undertake.

    The only exception might be for vegetarians as natural creatin is normally sourced from red meat. However, as many of the creatin supplements also seem to have some 'provenance' from animal products, it's not an easy issue in these cases.

    There is also an issue which makes my recommendations about it's use extremely cautious. It's a product that is heavily used in bodybuilding, which immediately makes me wary. I have a suspicion (and nothing more) that some manufacturers may have 'boosted' the effectiveness of their product with a trace of steroids. You can just imagine peer to peer recommendations that Brand X seems to work 'unbelievably well' and suddenly the whole gym makes the switch. What a great way of marketing it! It might seem unscrupulous, but not inconceivable. My suspicions were also aroused when all the track sprinters caught for using nandrelone all claimed to be heavy users of creatin. Or have I fallen for their smoke screen?

    I think a normal eating regime will be more than sufficient for your needs. At 'touring speeds' you should be able to utilise the food eaten during regular meals which together with a degree of 'fat burning' is the classic endurance fuelling regime. However when you get to the hills (mountains!), it's more likely that the increased efforts required will need you to burn your glycogen reserves. As you can only store about 2 hours worth in your blood, regular 'nibbling' will help, along with plenty of fluids. Don't forget that a 50:50 regular coke / water mix is an effective (if messy) fill for your bottles in hot weather.

    As for recovery, it again depends on the intensity of the exercise you have done. Its' obviously possible to 'endurance ride' forever (well, 90 hours of PBP seems like forever!) without the need to recover, but as intensity increases, so your body needs more time (and help) to overcome the energy debt it will be in. There seems to be a golden time to do this (of declining efficiency) of up to 2 hours after exercise. The maxim used to be that some protein with the bulk of carbs helped in the assimilation, but there is less certainty over this. However the important bit is that eating and drinking after exercise is important and the sooner you get on and do it the better. 'I'm too tired to eat' or 'all I need is sleep' are unacceptable if you have plans for the following day.

    Stretching is more controversial. I know world champions who have never stretched. Ever. Not even to tie their shoe laces. If you enjoy it - do it. If not, there's probably better things to do with your time.

    The use of ice packs (baths) is however based entirely on science. Training is based on over extending your physical abilities and then allowing the body to adapt. Setting aside any specific injury, it's inconceivable that hard training will not cause any little tears or other damage to soft tissues which will result in swelling. Swelling constricts the capillaries which results in a decline in the flow of blood, oxygen and food needed by the tissues to recovery. Ice reduces swelling and hence you recover faster. If you have any suspicions that you might have aggravated an old problem or given some part of your body a hard time, wrap a bag of frozen peas in a tea towel and ice it. Or immerse yourself in a wheelie bin of iced water if you're Paula Radcliffe. Obviously, cyclist endure less 'impact' than runners, but localised icing is a useful technique.
  11. yello

    yello Guru

    Hard to add on the good advice already offered. From what I have read, the body needs protein within 20 - 30 minutes of exercise to start the muscle rebuilding. I have a rollmop when I come in from a ride... but I'd eat them anytime! I also have chocolate milk for protein & carbs. Oddly, the combination isn't as gross as it sounds!

    Stretches - I've read something that backs up what Tim says, i.e. they're not essential. This goes against everything I was ever taught during years of football training, so it is difficult for me to accept - but I reckon it's sound. I do stretches after long rides (calf, hamstring, quads, groin) but it's to relax the muscles, I feel better for it. I don't always stretch after shorter rides of less than, say, 90 minutes because I don't feel the need to.

    Edit: supplements. It's my belief that the jury is out on the benefits of pills etc. Indeed, there was a thread on CC not so long ago about the dangers of vitamin supplements. Whatever the truth of it, it's fair to say you will find opinion and research supporting both for and against arguments. Personally, I don't take supplements - because they're expensive and I'm a tight wad! I prefer the natural solutions - hence rollmops and chocolate milk!
  12. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Tim and Yello thank you for such sound advice. I'm going to print out your replies and take them with me! I'm reluctant to use any supplements as well, out of suspicion and a reluctance to look like Fatima Whitbread but I wanted to ask the question!

    Thanks again, I'm really grateful for such excellent advice on the forum.

    I'm also quite chilly, having just got in from a ride and downed a pint of cold milk and am icing the knee with sprouts :biggrin:
  13. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Many Sporting organisations suggest Chocco or flavoured milks as the best post ride rapid recovery product, C+ also agreed with this recently. I use nesquick with milk just to give a bit of extra carb hit. Milk's me, I'm some sort of Food Scientist!

    Also agree with keeping a steady carb flow from the start of your ride.
    This guy knows plenty about fuelling on a ride...
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