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Proactive Recovery: A Pro’s Approach

IRONMAN Champion Matt Hanson discusses steps he takes to minimize recovery time and maximize performance.
AltRed Single Serve Image by Nelson Hegg

I believe we need to think about two separate types of recovery, reactive and proactive. Habits and routines, like getting proper nutrition down after a workout, a proper mobility routine, and sitting in the Normatec boots will all certainly help jumpstart the recovery process, yet they are very reactive. These are actions that you perform after the damage is done. There are many proactive steps that you can take that will help limit the amount of recovery that you actually need without hindering your workout adaptation. These include getting plenty of sleep, making sure the body is awake and ready to go before workouts. Properly warming up and doing mobility before starting hard sessions, and ensuring you are fueling and hydrating well both before and during workouts. 

Proper nutrition is hugely important to performance and both forms of recovery I’ve mentioned. While the foundation of my daily nutrition strategy is based on whole foods I am able to enhance it with a few key supplements. Proper nutrition is hugely important to performance and both forms of recovery I’ve mentioned. I try to rely mostly on whole foods to build the foundation for my daily nutrition strategy. However, I do take a few daily supplements. I take AltRed on a daily basis. Most people think of AltRed as a performance enhancement supplement. Certainly, there have been a number of quality studies published that show that taking AltRed can help reduce lactate production and increase circulation which results in an increased performance. These same benefits will also reduce the recovery time necessary after a workout, a fact that has also been well documented in research. Increasing blood circulation and reducing lactate production during exercise will also result in reduced muscle damage. This is especially important to me on days where I have multiple harder workouts with a relatively short time between (i.e. Monday through Friday!). I also take a daily multivitamin as there is sufficient research out there that shows that it can help reduce the risk for upper respiratory infections. Again, a proactive action.

Be as proactive about your recovery as you are reactive. Make sure you make time for the little things. I try to set a daily routine and stick to it as much as possible. I wake up 45 mins before my morning swim and make a cup of coffee and sit in my Normatecs. I go to swim then eat a light breakfast with another cup of coffee, this is when I take my MultiV and AltRed. After the food has had a chance to settle, I do my mobility routine and head out for a bike and/or run. I make sure to get some calories in immediately after each usually in the form of fruit and a recovery shake then start thinking about the other reactive recovery steps I need to make. I’m certainly not saying you all should copy my routine as everyone’s situation and schedule differ. I am suggesting that you should spend some time and develop your own recovery routine. Have a coach or friend help you. Write it down if you have to. Then try to stick to it as much as possible. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Good luck and safe training!

Matt Hanson at home Photo by Matt Hanson

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