Recovery in Sport: Better nutrition but forgot compression clothing

This week we had a home football match to play and I had tennis to play immediately afterwards.

During the week I ate well and alkalised my body. I bought three OTE carbohydrate bars ready for Saturday.

In the match I played centre back. There was less running in this position but more tackling and fast sprints. There were two forwards with speed, so the game had pace.

At half time I sipped my electrolyte drink. I felt good during the match and no calf tightness. After the match I drank my recovery drink and ate 1.75 carbohydrate bars. I did not feel as hungry compared to previous week.

I went straight to tennis and played one set. My partner and I won, with the end score being 7-5. It was a hot day and I could feel fatigue in my body. I started to cramp in my toes and calf. I realised I had not drank enough electrolyte.

At change of ends on the court I drank electrolyte. It took a little while to work, but my cramp did recede, and after the tennis I did not suffer further cramping.

I got home and realised I left my compression leggings at work. I was disappointed as I always look forward to wearing them to help my recovery.

I decided to have a hot shower and then have a 10min cold water bath. I like the cold water baths. After the initial shock of the cold, my legs feel good in the cold water. When I get out of the bath I feel like my legs are fresher and a little numb, I like it.

For the rest of day we were at a BBQ and playing with my children. My legs felt good.

I am not able to play football this coming weekend. My plan is to continue alkalising, buy a thermometer to test the temperature of the bath and drink alkalising salts (have not done so on a regular basis yet).

I must remember to prepare my compression clothing for recovery. In fact, I could get into a routine of checking I have everything in place for recovery pre match.

I also want to start ice baths. Once I test the temperature of the water I can adjust it with the ice.

Last week I avoided mid week training, as my legs needed more recovery time. This week I can feel my legs will need training, but towards the end of the week. Getting the balance between rest and flexibility, and training will be important.

I have a weekend of no football. Next game in two weeks.

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Recovery in Sport: Food good but forgot the compression clothing

This week we had a home football match to play and I had tennis immediately after.

During the week I ate well and alkalised my body. I bought three OTE carbohydrate bars ready for Saturday.

In the match I played centre back. There was less running in this position but more tackling and fast sprints. There were two forwards with speed, so the game had pace.

At half time I sipped my electrolyte drink. I felt good during the match and no calf tightness. After the match I drank my recovery drink and ate 1.75 carbohydrate bars. I did not feel as hungry compared to previous week.

I went straight to tennis and played one set. My partner and I won, with the end score being 7-5. It was a hot day and I could feel fatigue in my body. I started to cramp in my toes and calf. I realised I had not drank enough electrolyte.

At change of ends on the court I drank electrolyte. It took a little while to work, but my cramp did recede, and after the tennis I did not suffer further cramping.

I got home and realised I left my compression leggings at work. I was disappointed as I always look forward to wearing them to help my recovery.

I decided to have a hot shower and then have a 10min cold water bath. I like the cold water baths. After the initial shock of the cold, my legs feel good in the cold water. When I get out of the bath I feel like my legs are fresher and a little numb, I like it.

For the rest of day we were at a BBQ and playing with my children. My legs felt good.

I am not able to play football this coming weekend. My plan is to continue alkalising, buy a thermometer to test the temperature of the bath and drink alkalising salts (have not done so on a regular basis yet).

I must remember to prepare my compression clothing for recovery. In fact, I could get into a routine of checking I have everything in place for recovery pre match.

I also want to start ice baths. Once I test the temperature of the water I can adjust it with the ice.

Last week I avoided mid week training, as my legs needed more recovery time. This week I can feel my legs will need training, but towards the end of the week. Getting the balance between rest and flexibility, and training will be important.

I have a weekend of no football. Next game in two weeks.

Recovery in Sport: First cold bath, increasing carbohydrates

This week was a different intensity of sport. I ran a 30 min fitness session, which was followed by drills and then 6 aside game. I went straight to tennis and had easy set of doubles and played single games for about 30minutes.

I ate two additional OTE carbohydrate bars immediately after football and just before tennis. I did not feel so hungry or tired. The football training was not as taxing this week, so this may have made a difference.

I drank Electrolyte during tennis and wore compression garments throughout all sport.

This week I read more on ice baths. The suggested time in the bath is 10 mins at 10-15 degrees. It has been raised that a cold bath may be just as effective.

This week I had a 10 min cold bath after sport. It was freezing getting in but after 3minutes my body adapted to the temperature and it felt nice. I could imagine putting ice in to keep it a little colder. My feet got slightly tingly towards the end of the bath. I actually over stayed in the bath by another 4-5 minutes. When I got out of the bath my legs felt cold, light and semi refreshed. I put my 2XU recovery leggings on until 11am the following morning. My legs felt slightly tired and tight because I played more tennis than normal. But, they did not feel heavy and cumbersome.

It was a good test doing the cold bath. I will try ice in the bath next time. I need to buy a thermometer to test the water temperature.

Our first game of the season is next weekend. In the team there are two injuries. A player strained his calf during training and another has low back pain after 45 minutes of football. I am treating them both and deciding how best to advise them on recovery. Ice baths maybe a good start after the match.

Recovery in Sport: Brendan Brazer, Alkalising, ice baths coming

A fortnight ago I was looking forward to playing football after alkalising my body during the week.

It maybe placebo, but I felt less tension in my body drinking alkalised water (pH drops and Greens powder) during the week. The tension in my Achilles was less. My thigh muscles felt lighter with less tiredness during the day.

We did fitness training and had a 60 min squad game. I had more desire to run faster with the new feeling in my legs. I could play faster in the game and recover quicker. I did tire after 45minutes, but I put that down to fitness.

I continued my nutrition regime of Nuun electrolyte drink, SIS recovery shake, and OTE carbohydrate bar.

I also wore my 2XU MCS compression leggings during training and 2XU recovery leggings for 24 hours after training.

Post football training I went directly to tennis and played for 1 hour. I did feel slight fatigue during the tennis. I may need to increase my carbohydrates intake between football and tennis, and during tennis. I plan to have a bite of carbohydrate bar every 20 minutes, after 60 mins of training. I also must continue to drink electrolyte drink during tennis.

I realise my fitness levels are not match level yet. This may be the main reason for my fatigue levels during tennis. Listening to my body, I think there was an element of both fitness and nutrition. I will continue to play with my nutrition to optimise my performance.

On element of recovery I have yet to implement is the Ice Bath. I will read into this more and test Ice Baths in the near future.

In my gym training I am not doing leg strengthening. I don’t want to slow my running speed down with heavy big muscles (very different to cycle training). Once I feel my leg speed is better, I will introduce a measured amount of leg strength in my gym training.

I have been reading a book called Thrive by Brendan Brazier. He is an Ironman athlete who alkalises his body and is a Vegan. He talks about Cortisol and what the foods we eat can do to our bodies. His performance vastly improved by alkalising his body. He has great shakes, energy bars and meals in his book. He has also produced recipe books.

I plan to follow the principles of Thrive and assess what I am eating after sport and between sporting events. Eating the best foods most of the time will add to my goal of consistently performing at my best.

This weekend I was away and could not attend normal football training. Instead, I did some fitness training with another player (manager) in the team. We decided to do 15 minutes of interval training.

I wore my 2XU MCS compression leggings and drank alkalised water with a Nuun (electrolyte) tablet in it. I do not recommend mixing a Nuun tablet in with Alkalised water. It tasted terrible. I would separate the two drinks in the future.

This was the first time I had performed 10meter sprints interspersed with jogging. The more I did, the better my legs felt. I could lift my knees and quickly plant them down for quick acceleration. I felt I could go faster and my legs felt light. Sprinting does not replicate how a player moves in football training. I want to assess football drills and fitness, and change my interval training to make them more sport specific. I feel some research on the web is needed.

The Manager has asked me to run the fitness element of training. I look forward to sharing some new football specific fitness drills and some of the information on nutrition. If the whole team benefits from better nutrition, the entire teams performance will improve.

Recovery in Sport: Ice Baths and the media

As I look more into recovery I am more aware of what newspapers, magazines and the web are showing in elite sport. I have read about ice baths being used by Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, Professional Football Teams and Professional Cycling teams. I have not read the research thoroughly yet, but empirically, there appears to be evidence ice baths  help recovery with specific athletes. In a previous blog I noted that a Professional Cycling Team in the Tour De France used ice baths at a temperature of 10-12 degrees celsius.

Today I have noted ice baths mentioned twice more in the media. The first was Andy Murray talking about age and recovery after his first round match in the US Open this year….

“It was tough and I had to do a lot of running in very humid conditions,” said Murray. “I’m getting old now – 28 years old. I need to get in the ice bath and cool off a bit.”

In the Daily Mail there was an article about a new football team owned by the Crown Prince of Brunei. He has employed Steve Kean, former manager of Blackburn Football Club. The first two changes he has made at the club are the introduction of ice baths and protein supplements (see attached image).IMG_1894

The question I ask is..why do ice baths continue to appear in the press, as a recovery strategy for elite athletes across a range of sports. It is an assumption, that not all athletes like ice baths, but for those that do like it, it forms an important component of their recovery strategy.

I will be looking more into ice baths, what they do, how to do it and I will test it on myself. Stay tuned for more blogs on Ice Baths

Recovery in Sport: Second 90 mins of football, better hydration, mid week training, and alkalising

Last week I played my second 90 minutes of football. I decided to drink more electrolyte during the match. I finished off my entire bottle of electrolyte at half time. Compared the the previous week, I did not cramp in my calves at the end of the match, and I did not feel so thirsty. After the match I drank my recovery (SIS) shake and ate a recovery (OTE) bar. I ate lunch within 1 hour of finishing the match. I felt good after the match and did not get the tiredness I felt in my body after the first 90 minute match of football I played.

I wore  my 2XU recovery leggings in the evening after the match. I wore them all night and through the following day. My legs felt good when I was wearing them, and I did not have pain, or as much tightness when I took them off. This week I did a mid week interval training session. I did not use my recovery leggings after the session, and my legs have felt sore and tight for the last two days. My hamstrings feel particularly tight. I must wear my leggings when I train midweek.

I will be testing my MCS performance leggings in training tomorrow. It could be raining so it will be interesting to see how they perform.

I have realised I must use my electrolye drink and recovery shake after my mid week interval training sessions. This may reduce my post session pain and tightness, and prevent injury, in the same way it does for match day. I will be training tomorrow with tightness in my hamstrings and I hope to avoid an injury.

This week I have started alkalising my body. I bought an alkalising pack from Energise for Life. The pack included Greens, Alkalsing Salts, Udos oil and PH drops. I have used the Greens, PH drops and Udos oil for the past three days. I will start the salts tomorrow. I must admit, my body feels less stiffness in my legs and I can sprint with less tiredness. My Achilles, Injured 4  weeks ago, has less twinge to it. I know I will get fitter in the following weeks but there is a difference in how my body feels. I will explain more as the weeks go by.

I am now looking at alkaline breakfasts. In the past, eating well has required lots of preparation and forward thinking. I want to find simple breakfasts I can prepare easily and I like to eat. I have found a few on the Energise for life website and will test them in the following weeks.

I am interested to see if my body is alkalised (tested with PH test strips), I have good hydration and recovery plan, and I use compression clothing what happens to my performance. At the same time, I will be working on fitness, flexibility, strength, speed, and eating post workout and dinners. Of course there are the ice baths to trial.

More to come in the following weeks.

Recovery in Sport: Testing 2XU compression leggings

On the weekend, I tested the 2XU recovery leggings after my first 90 minutes of football. My legs were painful around the knees and lateral quadriceps, on my left side more than my right, after the match. I ate, showered and then put on the compression leggings.

Instantly my legs felt more comfortable. I am not sure why? I can imagine the compression of the leggings support the soft tissues and, therefore, could reduce tension on nociceptors (pain nerve endings) in the myofacial system. The effect of compression on swelling would most likely have effects after a period of time wearing the leggings. The sizing chart on the 2XU website, achieved the perfect fit for my body.

I wore the leggings all day and that night. The next day (lunchtime) I took them off. The legs remained less painful. Even though there was some heaviness still in the legs, I felt they were beneficial to wear.

I compare the feeling I have in my legs the next day, when I play football, and I would normally wake up sore, stiff and very heavy in the legs. I will now test if the morning after effect of the leggings is consistent.

Three days after playing football I did interval training in the gym. The legs were tired and heavy, but I see this as a normal adaption to training. Despite the Physiological effects of the leggings, I know I felt significantly more comfortable with them on after playing football.

I am about to test the 2XU MCS performance leggings in training. If they are as comfortable as the recovery leggings I will be very excited….

I decided to use the 2XU MCS performance leggings in my interval training session in the gym this week.

The leggings had spiral shaped patterns in the material in approximate alignment with muscle groups of the legs. They did feel tighter to wear compared to the recovery leggings. I instantly liked wearing them for comfort.

I jogged to the gym and my legs felt light and ready for action. I did a 10minute run for a warm up and then a circuit of different anaerobic movements. The leggings did not impede my motion and were cool to wear.

I did not feel any pain in my legs during the workout. This was 3 days after my football match. I took the leggings off after the interval training session. In the morning my legs felt slightly heavy from the workout. I wonder what would have happened had I worn the recovery leggings (I will do this next time).

I will test the leggings in a football training session. I want to know if the muscle pain I got in my first 90 minute match will be less or abolished.