by Matt D’Aquino

Do you ever wake up the next day after a grappling or weights session with sore muscles?

Many people wake up sore and uncomfortable after a session of judo, weights, running r any other intense exercise. A great deal of people surprisingly donÕt have much idea about how to recover from a session, or even where to begin.

This article is going to give you brief explanation of what steps you should take to help your body with recovery. There are many different means of recovery from massage, nutrition, hydration, compression, sleep and cryotherapy.

But many of these forms of recovery are expensive or not readily available to athletes no training at a sporting complex. Therefore we must use other means in order to recover in between sessions, especially at training camps where there are 2 or more sessions in one day.

First step: Hydration

The first step in recovery is hydration. If you are dehydrated you cannot perform at your optimum level so make sure you are hydrated throughout the training session. A good way to know if you are hydrated at during a session is to weigh yourself before and after to see if you are the same, if you are lighter it means you are less hydrated than the start.

During vigorous training try to drink at least 200ml of water every fifteen minutes.

For general knowledge sake room temperature water (although is not as nice) is more easily absorbed than cold water.

Please also be aware that the best fluid to re-hydrate from is water. Many sports drinks have a lot of sugar with little or no re-hydration value, despite what the label may say.

Second step: Cool down and stretching

After your session it is very important to cool down and stretch. A cool down should consist of low impact exercise (eg walking around the mat) and stretching all muscles worked. Hold each stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds each.

Third step: Nutrition

Immediately after your session try to ingest some sort of simple sugars, eg piece of fruit, sports drink (not for the hydration value but of sugar) muesli bar or some lollies. This is especially important at training camps where you have multiple sessions in one day. You must recover as quickly as possible between sessions.

You have a window of approximately 1 hour after a session when your body is craving nutrients. So as soon as possible eat a meal high in complex carbohydrates (to replenish energy stores) and plenty of protein (to repair muscles) as well as a glass of water to re-hydrate.

Many body building companies make supplements that are to be taken purely after a training session. These protein supplements are full of fast acting proteins (for quick absorption) as well as simple and complex carbohydrates to give your body more energy.

Bear in mind that when dieting for competition recovery after a session becomes very important but also tricky due to the fact that many athletes donÕt ingest carbohydrates at night time. Therefore these athletes must get a protein meal as soon as possible.

Fourth step: Shower

The shower is the best place to complete hot and cold periods. 1 minute cold and 1 minute hot is the best way to remove lactic acid and other waste products from your body.

Fifth step: After shower

After your shower (because your muscles are nice and warm) you may like to stretch again. Place emphasis on the muscles that really are still stiff and sore.

Sixth step: Before bed

Before bed if you have many bumps and bruises it might be wise to take 1 or 2 anti-inflamatories, e.g. Nurofen to help relax your muscles and joints. Please be sure to follow the instructions on the packet.

As well as taking anti-inflamatories I highly recommended taking a multi-vitamin especially for those dieting for competition or on a low carb diet.

Make sure you also get a good night sleep, everyone is different but studies suggest a minimum of eight hours sleep a night is recommended due to the fact that your body does all of its recovery while you are asleep.

Seventh step: Following day

If you are still sore the next day then make sure you start the day with a protein and carbohydrate rich meal of some sort. This may include eggs, bread, cereal, oats, milk, yoghurt etc. If your muscles are still sore have anther stretch after your morning shower or on your lunch break at work.

These guidelines are what I believe will aid recovery between training session and this is very important during regular training, but espeicaly at training camps.

Please note that these guidelines are something that I follow and are in no way meant to replace that of a medical professional. If you need more info talk to your coach as well as some of the older athletes at your club and get some ideas about what they did in order to recover from training.