As an Olympic athlete, I get asked often what my workouts are like. While I am happy share that bobsledders train like Olympic sprinters and Olympic weightlifters, my training is very sports specific and probably not helpful to anyone looking to train for anything other than bobsled. With that being said, you don’t need to train like an Olympian to recover like one. Recovery is one of the most underutilized aspects of training. Training hard and seeing fitness gains, weight loss progress or overall increase in strength is going to require workouts that continually challenge your body. Without proper recovery, you risk injury and can be more susceptible to illness. Personally, I rely on a number of recovery methodologies to keep my body healthy and able to train six days a week. Three main focal points for recovery for me are sleep, nutrition and inflammation management.
1) Sleep is king, or in my case, queen. When I don’t get enough sleep, like most humans, I am irritable, unfocused and more likely to injure myself. While I know sleep is important, I often struggle to get enough of it. My approach to better sleep is as follows:
- Have a night time routine (a routine is something you do with consistency), mine includes taking two droppers of Evn CBD Mint Tincture 30 minutes before bed
- Set a bed time – I set an alarm an hour before I want to go to bed, the alarm signals me to get my bed time routine started. I use a WHOOP strap to help determine my bed time and hours of sleep needed.
- Set yourself up for success – I need a cool room, eye mask, ear plugs and my CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help with my sleep apnea. Yes, Olympians can have sleep apnea too. If you feel like you always wake up tired, you might want to get a sleep study done to see if you have sleep apnea too!
2) I think we all know how important a healthy diet is for sports performance; It is also crucial to recovery. My focal points with food and recovery are:
- Hydrate, especially before, during and after exercise -- I drink a big glass of water right when I wake up in the morning.
- Eat real food. I do supplement with protein powders (I use a plant-based one), but real food is my main focus.
- I eat breakfast. There are a number of different diets out there and while I can’t tell you what is best for you (you should reach out to a dietician for that), for me I need to start my day with breakfast and I make sure to get some healthy fats (avocado, nuts, etc.) to help get my brain going.
The third piece of the puzzle is inflammation management. Exercise causes inflammation and for me, it can get out of control quickly. I like to manage my inflammation naturally whenever possible so I have incorporated a few things in my post training regime that helps:
- Do a cool down. A light jog and stretch after a strenuous workout helps bring your heart rate and blood pressure down gradually.
- Eat something, and drink some water. A post workout protein shake and water help me to restore the nutrients, electrolytes and hydration I lost while working out.
Those are my go-to tips and tricks to recovery. Follow me on Instagram @lagibbs84 to watch my journey to Beijing 2022. Happy recovering!