Well, here I am at the other side of birth, now a parent. While I process this behemoth of an experience - and prepare a batch of postpartum posts - I've invited a special guest blogger to MN for a couple weeks.
I was first attracted to Mercedes Pollmeier's posts over on Vertical World's blog. Her words concisely and intelligently convey some of the concepts I ramble on and on about in posts about the yin athlete. In this series she'll share with us, from a strength and climbing perspective, her practical advice on recovery.
Mercedes is a Strength and Conditioning Coach over at Modus Athletica. She received her Masters in Human Movement and first started working with climbers of all abilities, including elite level/competition climbers in Colorado. Currently she runs specialized performance programs specifically designed for climbers and alpinists in Seattle. She also trains an array of outdoor athletes online, helping them reach their goals with accountability and efficiency. She is also the author of Simple Strength.
Enjoy these bits of wisdom while I'm snuggling baby Rumi, taking my first lead falls in five months, and running with a gravitational pull of what feels like the moon. I've added ample hyperlinks to useful bits elsewhere on this blog for your reading pleasure.
How to optimize your recovery before your next climbing session.
by Mercedes Pollmeier
If you are one who is training a ton this winter as well as trying to ski or enjoy winter sports on the weekends, you probably aren’t giving enough attention to your recovery. The more efficiently you recover, the sooner you are ready for the next hard workout, as well as avoiding plateaus and burn out.
As an active person, if you don’t recover adequately, you will more than likely weaken your immune system, as well as underperform and feel fatigued. The reason for this is when we exercise and then add in stressors of life and work, without recovering properly, our ‘sympathetic nervous system’ takes over, which is our fight or flight response. This system accelerates heart rate, disrupts sleeping patterns, reduces metabolism, increases carbohydrate cravings etc. If this system takes over for too long, you could potentially ‘hit the wall.’
A good place to start the process of recovery is right after your workout or climbing session. Supplementing with a protein drink, either a carb + protein blend, or a BCAA’s drink, within 15 minutes of finishing your workout, will kick start your recovery. Eating unprocessed/natural food, within one hour of your workout is also essential in your recovery. Doing these two initial steps can stimulate growth hormone and testosterone in your body to activate recovery, and help repair your muscles efficiently. Next, you want to focus on activities that decrease the activity of the ‘sympathetic nervous system’ and increase ‘parasympathetic nervous system’, your rest and recovery response. Things like foam rolling, stretching, yoga, meditation, and massage all stimulate this response. These will improve circulation and blood flow, so that wastes are taken out of the body while being replaced with new nutrients. Aim for about thirty minutes a day of intentional recovery.
Some other recommendations would be to sleep around eight hours a night, drink plenty of water, vary your training intensity and try cross training, avoid using anti-inflammatories, and be sure to eat as many nutrient dense foods, and avoid processed foods. All of these things can help reduce your stress, help you get ready for your next workout, and lower your risk of getting sick this spring!