Monday, December 20, 2010

My Recovery "Kit" Power Players

"I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more."

- Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

At "CrossFit," working on dynamic back-squats with chains :)

Most days of the week I like to pull what I call "doubles." If I'm lucky with my schedule, I may be even able to pull a "triple." A "double" might look something like this: an a.m. workout, then a p.m. workout (ex: run/climb, "CrossFit"/"Bikram", bike/hike). A "triple"? Well, you just add a third activity to the mix :)

People ask me all the time, "How can you do that? Don't you get sore?" Of course I do. I don't think there's any fool-proof way of completely eliminating DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), what I am sure of, though, is that there are effective ways of doing "damage control," or lessening the soreness.

Ask any athlete, and they'll have their chosen recovery "favorites." Everyone has little tricks that work for her/him. There is no one "bullet" system, just as there is no one fool-proof diet for everyone. I just give suggestions on various nutrition principles that seem to work for the general public in weight management, increased energy, and better health. There's always the "special" diet that someone is on: gluten-free, vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic, raw foods, what have you.

The bottom line: its pure trial and error. Unfortunately, the learning curve is more steep for some people than others. I won't bother going into detail on my giving "CLIF" shot blocks a try during a trail race, or trying some new electrolyte product while hiking in the Himalayas. YIKES! Those items will work for some people, but not for others. I've found, that my stomach is extremely sensitive to sorbitol, which is in many "GU" & "NUUN" types of products. For others, they will have zero effect on them.

Due to my occupation in Oriental medicine, I've long had a fascination with the martial arts. If there were only several more hours in a day... :) I find the Shaolin monks fascinating: their training protocols, and astute medical texts, containing sparring/energy/recovery formulas. These active monks, really honed the world's first sports medicine (acupuncture & herbal formulas) in remote region monastaries. There they could experiment in the uses of these herbs and their interactions. You might say a Shaolin monastic was really a combination of monk-physician-athlete.

There were no emergency rooms back then. No one to treat sparring injuries that included deep injuries inflicted by weapons. While the majority of us are just looking to ease our quads or hamstrings after a hill run, the principles are the same: rebuild muscle tissue, strengthen it, reduce inflammation.

There are a hundred new "recovery" formulas and products available now. There's one I use that's an over-the-counter product, which you can purchase online, at REI, or at most running stores. That's the "HAMMER" product called "Recoverite." This is an excellent product, which my sensitive "petri dish" stomach has tested, tried and true. Its an L-Glutamine rich formula, that should be taken directly after hard exercise. The rest of the products are products that are referred to in ancient martial arts texts as being "bullet proof" in speeding recovery. The combination of liver (due to its extremely high amino-acid profile), seaweed (highest magnesium source in the world, better than chromium in stabilizing blood sugar levels) and the spice turmeric (nature's aspirin, not to mention anti-biotic). The three act as a synergistic blend to increase the body's natural capacity to heal itself rapidly.

"NEW CHAPTER" Turmeric Force may be purchased at your local health food store. *Consult your local acupuncturist or naturopathic physician before taking turmeric if you have low Vit. K levels and/or are on any type of blood-thinning medication

This is a picture of seaweed, the laminaria, species to be exact. I take a particular seaweed product, which I order from a Chinese medicine apothecary. Its therapeutic-grade, and very potent. If you have questions about this product, feel free to contact me, and we can see if this is the right product for you. *Consult your local acupuncturist or naturopathic physician before taking a seaweed product if you are hyperthyroid.

"Dr. Ron's" has the highest quality New Zealand, humanely-raised, organic, grass-fed liver available. Its not cheap, but its worth every penny. www.drrons.com *Consult your local acupuncturist or naturopathic physician before taking liver if you know you are pregnant.

recovery product called "Recoverite." www.hammernutrition.com

Acupuncture, in addition to the above suggested supplements, can also greatly assist in releasing "trigger points," reducing inflammation, and healing torn muscle fibers. Massage, with various, anti-inflammatory essential oils, can also be of benefit in soothing strained muscles, and aiding relaxation. Also, having a regular yoga and/or stretching routine is imperative. Its best to think of it as a "non-negotiable." That way it doesn't get ignored ;-}