Thursday, July 7, 2016

Keys to recovering so you have a successful next workout.. sooner. Part 1; Feeding the machine

Part I of the Consistency series
Consistency is key in all matters!

In all matters of life and success the key is always being consistent.  The same holds true in exercise and fitness, but what are our limiting factors when working out?  Certainly time and family obligations can get in the way but many times it's the soreness or lack of recovery (of the previous workout) that prevents us from getting to that next workout. This two part post will address what sports science has to offer to allow you to reach your goals faster, by knowing what the professionals know. 
When Soreness Attacks..

Post workout muscle soreness is nothing new to anyone who has exercised. It's universal- no matter what type of workout you do; running, local muscle endurance(push up's etc), hypertrophy (body building) or power(Olympic lifts). Its usually and indicator that you've accomplished what you set out to do, whether it was to get faster, gain endurance or achieve a better physique.
Why Am I So Sore?
Post workout soreness occurs from several elements, lactic acid is usually the main culprit. Lactic Acid causes cramping  & is a normal byproduct of muscle metabolism. Lactate clearance is one of the things your body gets better at as you work out more and more(known as a hormonal adaptation). By understanding whats causing your soreness you are better equipped to deal with it.
Know Thy Enemy..
The production of lactic acid is balanced by your body's ability to clear it out, when this process falls behind, the lactate begins to build up faster than it can be cleared. There are ways to speed up this process and providing your body with what it needs certainly is a great start.
Feed The Machine!   (water it too!)
In an earlier post we discussed how far in advance calories and hydration were required to be available for your workout (click here for that post). The truth is that you have to consider what you're eating as well as when you're eating it. Foods rich in B complexes are essential to keeping the energy synthesis moving, and avoiding falling behind with the lactic acid buildup. B1, B2, B6, B12, Folate and Niacin are all needed for the process to work. Getting these vitamins from foods as opposed to pills (Marco-nutrients are superior to Micro-nutrients) also makes a difference. 
Thinking Big (Macro)
Your body can digest vitamins from food quicker and easier than from pills so here's what you need to know;
Thiamin(B1) needed to metabolize carbohydrates

Riboflavin(B2) involved in carbohydrate metabolism
Niacin (B3) involved in protein metabolism

Pyridoxine (B6) Runners should be sure to stock up on these foods as hemoglobin(carries O2) is synthesized from B6, needed for protein metabolism

Folate (B9)

B12 this is a big one!! Needed in Fat, Carb and Protein metabolism, can have serious consequences if missing. If your low on energy, there's a chance you may have a B12 deficiency. Also keep in mind you need B6 to absorb B12, so being deficient in one leads to a deficiency in another!!!
Lay Off the Sauce
How do you feel after a night out on the town? Usually run down and tired, correct? The enzyme we use to metabolize alcohol robs us of the ability to create energy (from Fat, Protein and Carbs). Niacin is the first and greatest vitamin to be affected so if you're going to drink, make sure to boost your B complex and specifically Niacin. Also consider the effect alcohol has on hydration and you can see the double whammy effect drinking has on not only recovering from your last workout, but getting ready for your next one. 
The takeaway message is get plenty of whole foods, lean meats, fish and poultry, and limit alcohol consumption after or before a workout to ensure peak performance.

Today we provided principles, so you can adapt your own protocols, don't hesitate to contact us with questions. 
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Dr. Serafim is a Rehabilitation and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He lives and works in the Exton PA area and has devoted himself to furthering his understanding of movement related disorders. He teaches continuing education and operates a private practice. More information can be found at and feel free to like us at our facebook page.