It is no surprise that scientists have been trying for decades to improve the process of recovery and reduce the soreness, injury and fatigue that result from training. Yet wading through the different research that has been produced can be baffling, contradictory and can lead to you making wrong decisions about your own training and recovery. Below are the best tips for recovery after a cycling trek.
Often effective in reducing muscle damage, active recovery (light recovery training) has some positive effects but can also exacerbate overtraining, injury and reduce energy. As with most approaches, if it doesn’t seem to be working for you, opt for passive recovery.
The jury is out on whether the kit has any benefit during training. But a variety of studies and testimony of top riders suggests that pulling on a pair of compression tights after training can make recovery a little more effective.
The Right Foods
- Cherry juice – Originally studied in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2006, cherry juice was found to have notable benefits on muscle damage. It’s been shown to reduce muscle pain and reduce loss of strength over several days of intensive training.
- Beetroot juice – Studies in the Journal of Applied Physiology show that beetroot juice can boost your stamina and VO2max owing to high levels of nitrate. Some are even calling it the new EPO.
- Fish – Fish contains oils that can have a notable effect on the recovery. The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are able to increase the oxygen intake of damaged muscles and generally lower fatigue.
- Milk-based drinks – While professional supplements are more likely to provide the correct ratios of carbohydrates and proteins, supermarket milkshakes like Frijj or ForGoodnessShakes have often been found to be similarly effective.
- Fresh tropical fruit – Pineapples, passion fruits and mangoes are known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potency to reduce muscle damage after a session.
Recovery Drinks & Tabs
In addition to a healthy diet, topping up your levels of antioxidants, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates is essential, and often supplements can speed this process.
Contrast water therapy, basically alternating a hot and cold shower or bath, can help reduce inflammation and simultaneously increase circulation. Although the science at times doesn’t support it, many athletes and coaches respect this method of speeding recovery.