Lift, Rest, Grow: 4 Ways to Recuperate Faster

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Antioxidants, Whey, Ibuprofen, and Cold Water Submersion Enhance Recovery

by: Robbie Durand

Research has advanced our knowledge of physiological, biomechanical, and the psychological aspects of physical training and performance. The majority of research has focused on training, although most exercise induced adaptations take place during recovery. Recovery is one of the least understood and most under researched constituents of the exercise-adaptation cycle. Athletes spend a much greater proportion of their time recovering than they do in training. Yet, many clinical studies have given more attention to training with very little investigation of recovery.

Recovery from training is one of the most important aspects of improving athletic performance.  Overtraining is usually thought of strictly in terms of training, yet overtraining might also be expressed as underrecovering. If the recovery rate can be improved, greater training volumes would be possible without incurring the negative sequelae of overtraining.

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Treatment with antioxidant vitamins, ibuprofen, cold water submersion, and whey protein administered simultaneously was helpful in protecting performance, but this was apparently not due to reduced muscle soreness or damage.

Researchers examined the effects of antioxidant vitamins, ibuprofen, cold water submersion, and whey protein administered simultaneously on short-term recovery. In the treatment trial, participants were provided with two oral doses of 1000 mg of vitamin C and 400 IU of Vitamin E soft gel capsules. The first dose was taken with dinner the night before the exercise protocol, and the second dose was taken on the morning of the exercise test. Ibuprofen doses (400 mg; two ADVIL liquid gels, 200 mg capsules) were given to participants 30 min before each exercise session. The protein supplement, 23 g of whey protein, was mixed with 200 ml of skimmed milk to form a protein shake. The protein shake was given to participants within 3 min of finishing each exercise session in the treatment trial. Each occasion consisted of morning and afternoon sessions (AM and PM). In each session, participants performed two bouts of high intensity anaerobic cycling separated by 30 min of rest. Each bout consisted of three Wingate tests (3*30s Wingate tests) with 3 min of active recovery in between. Power output, RPE, and pain scores were averaged and compared between the two sessions (AM vs. PM) and between the treatment vs. control (4 bouts). Creatine kinase (CK) levels (i.e. markers of muscle damage) were also measured 24hr after the AM bout. Power output, CK, muscle soreness, and RPE were measured as recovery indices.

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So whats interesting is that if your involved in performance sports that consist of back to back performances, the use of antioxidants, whey protein, ibuprofen, and cold water immersion therapy will improve performance but its not due to reducing muscle damage or soreness.
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Creatine kinase increased in both treatment and control 24 hr after the AM session. Antioxidant vitamins, ibuprofen, cold water submersion, and whey protein administered simultaneously was effective in maintaining mean power in the PM sessions, but there was no significant effect of treatment on peak power, pain, or RPE. Treatment was helpful in protecting performance, but this was apparently not due to reduced muscle soreness or damage.

Whats interesting is that if your involved in performance sports that consist of back to back performances, the use of antioxidants, whey protein, ibuprofen, and cold water immersion therapy will improve performance but its not due to reducing muscle damage or soreness.  I would not recommend long term ibuprofen use but it may be good short term for increasing performance like the results found in the current study, but the anti-oxidants, whey protein, and water immersion therapy can be used continuously without any long term effects.

-Al- Nawaiseh, Ali M.; Pritchett, Robert C.; Bishop, Philip A. ENHANCING SHORT-TERM RECOVERY AFTER HIGH INTENSITY ANAEROBIC EXERCISE. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

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