There are three things that I recommend for recovery to the athletes that I coach and to our athletes here at Peaks Coaching Group. These are critical to enhancing your recovery. Everyone talks about recovery, but no one really understands just how extremely important this is. So many of us watch the Tour de France on TV and can’t imagine how those riders can recover day in and day out for 21 days. Racing over mountains, riding in breakaways and giving their all every day for a chance at glory seems impossible and it would be impossible if they didn’t spend the entire REST of their day focused on recovering. Right after the stage ends recovery begins: Cool-down on the trainer, recovery shake, shower, massage, nap, food, more food, and more sleep. Pro cyclists do nothing extra. They don’t carry their luggage down the stairs, heck they don’t take the stairs!
Since the rest of us can’t spend our remaining parts of our lives focusing on lying around and watching TV, we need some simpler tools that take less time for us to use and make a difference in our recovery. I have found 3 things that can make a big difference!
3 Recovery Tools the Pros Use
#1 Compression boots
If you don’t have a massage therapist on staff, then these are the next best things. Put them on your legs, turn the TV on and enjoy the gentle squeezing and releasing of the legs that simulates a massage. I usually do this for at least 30 minutes and most times for 45 minutes. It feels good, helps to flush out the muscles squeezing them to push the blood out and then releasing them to allow new blood to rush in and enhance recovery. The next day my legs feel lighter, more supple, and consequently ready for the next tough workout.
Speedhound makes some great recovery boots that I use and have been super pleased with. They are simple to operate, work super well and I like how you can micro-adjust the pressure of the boots on your legs. They just work.
#2- Percussion gun
Relatively new as a recovery tool, these have multiple different types of heads to use on various parts of the body. What does a percussion gun do exactly? Basically, it is a massager, with deep oscillation, and different speeds that you can adjust for different muscles and how sore you are! The head moves back and forth and lightly “punches” you to give you a massage. Moving the gun over your legs, arms, neck, and even lower back allows you to give yourself a nice massage without exerting additional energy! And this is the magic of a percussion gun really!
When you give yourself a “self-massage”, you have to exert energy to help you recover which sometimes seems like a “net zero” effort. However, with a percussion gun, the gun does the work! Just charge the baby up, turn it on and let it do its work.
This is outstanding! Again, SpeedHound comes to the rescue with their Pro Percussion Gun. It has 6 different heads; the battery lasts for 5 hours and even comes with a 2-year warranty. Not only that, but it’s half the price of other percussion guns out on the market. I love mine and don’t even think about taking it away from me!
#3- deltaG Ketone Esters
This should be another tool in your recovery arsenal. Ketone esters have been shown in three research studies to enhance recovery in three ways:
- Increase sugar uptake, blood insulin secretion, and glycogen resynthesis in recovery.
- Improved mTORC1 signaling, which controls protein synthesis, in recovery after a workout when ingested with carbs and protein.
- Prevention of overtraining symptoms as well as helping professional athletes enhance performance throughout 3 full weeks when used during athletic recovery.
What’s important to understand is that you take the Ketone Esters WITH carbohydrates. There is a misconception out there that ingesting ketone esters is the same as cutting carbohydrates out of your diet. It is not! Adding ketone esters in, when also ingesting carbs is what makes the difference helping glycogen synthesis.
The results show that when ketone esters are combined with sugar, they improve insulin secretion, sugar uptake, and glycogen synthesis when ingested with protein. The sugar also activates mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) which targets and improves leucine-mediated protein synthesis. In conditions where your recuperation period needs to be fast, ketone esters, as well as glucose administration, might offer a better possibility to ensure that glycogen is renewed in a shorter amount of time before using up energy during your next physical activity. Without ketone esters, glycogen would be restored to baseline levels in 24 hours.
I use and recommend the DeltaG ketone esters. These are the original ketone esters developed and invented by Dr. Kieren Clarke and are outstanding in every way.
So, there you have it. Three real world things that you can do both inside and outside your body to enhance your recovery. These things aren’t that costly, don’t require a team of nutritionists or massage therapists to be on call and can be easily implemented right after our workouts and then during downtime in front of the TV relaxing on the couch.
Hunter Allen is a is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach and former professional cyclist. He is the coauthor of “Triathlon Training With Power”, “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” and “Cutting-Edge Cycling,” co-developer of TrainingPeaks’ WKO software, and CEO and founder of Peaks Coaching Group. He and his coaches create custom training plans for all levels of athletes.