You may be recovering from workouts the wrong way – Health

You’re at the gym, on your last set of squats, at the end of a hard week, and your legs feel like lead. You’re happy with your progress, but your muscles have gone on strike and you need to find a way to improve things. Then he thinks: maybe some ibuprofen or an ice bath. But that can jeopardize all your work: Research shows that some of the most popular recovery strategies can negate the benefits of exercise.

After all, lying on the couch is not a signal for your body to build muscle or strengthen mitochondria: it is the Workout that does it. Exercise stress – minor injuries to working muscles, waste products such as lactic acid, buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood – is the alarm that tells the body to strengthen cells to better withstand the next stress, which improves health and performance. .

Recently, researchers have begun to investigate recovery tools (ice, anti-inflammatories, active recovery and nutritional supplements, for example) and their role in suppressing the signals needed for adaptation.

There is increasing evidence, for example, that immersion in cold water can bring short-term benefits but long-term penalties.

Because of a combination of reduced muscle blood flow and increased hydrostatic pressure, getting into a cold tub can help with muscle soreness and fatigue and reduce signs of inflammation. But researchers speculate that reduced blood flow to muscles may also impair “the synthesis of muscle proteins that are most responsible for muscle growth,” says Brad Schoenfeld, a professor in the exercise science program at Lehman College in New York. .

It is made

This can mean a reduced response to resistance training, including less improvement in muscle growth, strength and power. Similar findings emerged for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Chronic use of ibuprofen reduced muscle strength and size after an eight-week resistance training program in young adults. A review by Schoenfeld concludes, “The study provides evidence that athletes who want to maximize muscle adaptations should limit ibuprofen consumption while keeping the dose and frequency of use low.”

For athletes facing a race or series of competitions, when resting muscles are needed more than adaptation, recovery should be a priority. But if the goal is to gain strength, and conditioning, you should choose tools that optimize these improvements. But which tools?


When in doubt, experts say, start with the basics. Sleep and proper nutrition are still the best forms of recovery. “Sleep deprivation can result in reduced performance, increased pain perception, lower immunity, increased inflammation and changes in metabolism and hormones,” admits Shona Halson, professor of exercise science at Australian Catholic University.

Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones can also stimulate recovery. According to Keith Baar, a muscle physiology researcher at the University of California at Davis, leucine-rich proteins, such as those found in chicken, beef and fish, activate a protein essential for muscle repair. Alcohol, on the other hand, inhibits it.

After a really heavy full-body workout, Baar recommends that athletes eat 0.4 gram per pound of body weight of easily digestible leucine-rich protein. “You should try to consistently eat this amount of protein at each meal (every 4 hours) for the next 24 hours to keep that protein activity high during recovery,” Baar advised.


THE creatine it also shows promise as a nutritional resource that can balance recovery with adaptation. A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Sports Medicine suggested that creatine monohydrate reduces the level of exercise-induced muscle damage as an acute response to training, while promoting long-term training gains. A combination of less pain and more gain.

Preliminary research by Baar indicates that cannabidiol, or CBD, may have a similar effect. A study conducted last year indicates that CBD decreases post-exercise inflammation without blocking the signals associated with muscle building. Schoenfeld adds that both massage and foam rolling appear to have beneficial effects on recovery. At the very least, he says, there’s no downside other than the time spent, so both options are viable.

What about active recovery? A study conducted by a group of researchers from Germany and Australia and published in Frontiers of Physiology looked at whether it could help preserve the benefits of a four-week high-intensity training program. The researchers hypothesized that a brisk 15-minute run after a high-intensity session would reduce the amount of circulating lactic acid, a potent metabolic signal, and therefore decrease adaptation.

Rather, this active recovery not only preserved the performance improvements, it also resulted in an even more pronounced increase in the anaerobic capacity of the group that recovered only passively. Active recovery appeared to act as a way to prolong training rather than a means of recovery, the authors concluded—hence the extra improvement.

But the easiest and most underused recovery technique may be not needing recovery in the first place. The reality, Baar added, is that if more people could be more cautious and progressive in their exercise choices, recovery wouldn’t be an issue. /TRANSLATION BY RENATO PRELORENTZOU

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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