There many ways to improve recovery between sessions. From myocascial tissue release, nutrition and rest to supplements and stress management techniques. I will go over some strategies that have yield good results for myself and others in this program.
Myofascial Release, MFR, self-myofascial release
Fascia is elastic tissue that wraps around most of the muscles and joints of the body. It can become tight, overused and even bound (causing adhesions). There are several methods that you can do to treat the fascia with care and help with durability.
- Foam Roller: This is a great tool that is easy to use, effective and cheap. For under $20 you can pick one up. Simply lay the foam roller under the targeted area of the body and roll back and forth (no need to rush it!). Focus on tender spots. Try it on your quads and calfs. Then try it on your IT band (side of your upper leg). Most people will feel that one right away! The goal is to use it consistently and keep the fascia happy and resilient. The "tenderness" will dissipate as you use it more often.
- Lacross ball: This is another great, cheap and effective tool. Simply place it into a tender area and add pressure. For example, you can put the ball in your chest and stand up against a wall. Breath deeply as the ball pushes into the " trigger point". One of my favorite ways to use the lacrosse ball is under foot. Rolling back and forth to keep the tendons pliable. This is great after long hikes, skiiing and snowboarding.
- Massage: If you have access to a good massage therapist, and can afford it, go in as often as you can. I work with a few massage therapist and usually go in at least twice a month. If I am really pushing it, I go in once a week. They can make a big difference and find areas that are bound, that you might not be aware of.
- Percussive tools: Theragun, Hypervolt, etc. These are hand held tools that reciprocate at a high rate to stimulate circulation in whatever part of the body you use it on. They look a lot like (and perform a lot like) a jig saw. In fact, there are videos on how to make one out of a jigsaw! I have used the Hypervolt and find that it helps circulation and recovery. They are not as cheap as the foam roller or lacrosse ball, but do provide ample worth.
- Gua Sha, Graston, IASTM tools: These are stone or metal hand tools that are used to "scrape" the skin and increase circulation in that area of the body. I use this stainless steel tool and really like it. It does not take much pressure to get a positive effect from these kinds of tools. You will need some kind of oil, cream or lubricant to keep the friction down while using them. The skin will often become red as circulation increases, this is common.
Bodies are made in the kitchen. This is one of my favorite sayings and I feel that it is true. You can train as hard as you want, but if you do not eat at least decently well, you will not thrive. I do not advocate restrictive diets or demand students to stick to a cookie cutter nutrition program. Just eat like an adult and drink adequate water :).
If that means you want to eat Paleo, Keto, Vegan or whatever, then great. Go for it. Personally, I eat a rather open diet of meat and vegetables. Fish, grass fed beef, game meat and bacon are my go to animal proteins. Colorful vegetables and some fruit are always part of the day. I also consume a lot of healthy fat. Avocados, olive oil, fish oil, MCT oil and nuts are always on the menu.
I don't think you need to take supplements to enjoy this program. If you are interested in what I take, or what others have taken while on this program, I will outline that below. Again, this is not necessary and is truly "supplementation" to your healthy eating habits.
- Fish oil. I take Krill oil and/or a high quality fish oil.
- Multi Vitamin. In a perfect world, we would get our vitamins from our diet. But, sometimes we need a little help with that. I use this one most of the time . While writing this course, I was provided Athletic Greens to test and review. It is quite an investment at $97, but it does provide a very diverse range of nutrients and seems to improve my gut health. People like Tim Ferriss rave about it, and I tend to appreciate what he has to say and recommend.
- Creatine. This is a cheap and proven supplement to improve endurance and strength. For $20 a kilo, it is hard to go wrong!
Caffeine, Coffee, Tea
Caffeine can be a helpful supplement for cognitive enhancement as well as a performance booster during training and activities. You do not have to take caffeine of drink coffee or tea to use this program. I enjoy coffee and tea and drink them daily. If you drink them too, then awesome. Cheers to you :)
Tim Ferriss mentioned Four Sigmatic in his podcasts, so I tried them out. I have been using the coffee with lions mane and chaga in the morning and reishi elixir at night. I have tried several other products of theirs and they are all high quality. There is less caffeine in the coffee (40mg or so) but the chaga seems to provide a good bump in energy. The packs are great for backpacking or on the go use.