How can I recover in between workouts?
This is the third question that I’m answering this week to help our athletes at RxFIT prepare for The Festivus Games next weekend.
At the beginning of the competition, stake out a corner or area under a tree with your friends and family. Set up camp there for the day. This will become your “homebase” throughout the competition and will help you relax in between workouts — a crucial component to fitness competitions.
Recovery starts with what you put inside your body. After each workout, drink plenty of fluids. You can’t go wrong with water, but this would also be a good opportunity to drink some flavored water (BCAA’s, Gatorade, etc). When your heart rate has slowed down and you feel back to normal, you may also want to drink some protein.
The reason I place so much emphasis on hydration after a workout is because you don’t want a “water-belly” before the next workout. The tendency is to drink fluids when you’re nervous, and that causes you to over hydrate and feel sluggish going into the next workout. Therefore, if you drink when you’re not nervous (i.e. after a workout), you won’t drink more than you need.
The timing of your eating in a fitness competition isn’t much different than hydration.
What you will find is that you actually lose your appetite during the day. It’s really, really hard to eat. Your stomach won’t want certain foods, especially before your next workout.
This is why you want to eat most of your calories when you’re relaxed. For more on the specifics, read Game Day Nutrition.
After each workout, spend 10 or so minutes talking about the workout at homebase. But after those 10 minutes, get your mind off of fitness.
Talk about other topics like what you want to eat for dinner or what sporting event you’re excited to watch. Essentially, talk about anything except your standings on the leaderboard or your strategy for the next workout. That time will come.
20 minutes before the next workout is all you need to warm-up and think through your strategy. Any time spent before then warming up, listening to pump-up music, or talking through strategy is energy misplaced.
In my opinion, the hardest part about fitness competitions is the waiting. You have a lot of down time in between workouts.
The top athletes at a fitness competition are rarely those who win the first event. They are the ones who recovered the best in between workouts and performed optimally during each event.
If you aren’t deliberate about what you drink, eat, and think about in between workouts, your performance will suffer in the late afternoon.
Take this upcoming weekend as a learning experience. Take notes after the competition. Reflect on how well you recovered in between events.
But above all, make sure you have fun. That is the reason you signed up for this event in the first place.