My friend (and brilliant writer) Robert Anasi asked me to include some information here on keeping the body together as we get older. Some of us still feel drawn to proving and improving upon our athleticism (in Robert's case his bad-ass-ness too). Well, I am 37 and feel alot younger than that (like a kid much of the time) but truth be told I am older than alot of the people whom I follow in the world of strength and performance. Bob is a handful of years my senior and has a background as a very serious amateur boxer. He also likes to party and I am not much of a social or party-going dude. But I will do what I can for him and for my other readers.
nutrition- I will keep this really simple. One of my heroes in the strength sports world, Dan John, has recently taken to saying things like: if you are not eating breakfast, and eating within two hours before working out, then do not ask me anything about supplements. He also advocates flossing twice daily and taking a good quality fish oil. I couldn't agree more.
partying - you will pay for partying. Not saying you should stop but realize the price you will pay. Partying affects sleep, nutrition and mental clarity. All three are clearly of importance when carrying out weekend warrior activity.
foam rolling and myofascial release - learn how to do it. There are great resources available on the internet and on this blog there are some links. Buy a firm foam roller and a tennis ball/ baseball (that one hurts)/ lacrosse ball (also hurts but at least there are no seams). Use them a lot. Email me if you want recommendations for free web-resources on this stuff. And check the sidebar on the Terminal City Training blog.
sleep - just do it. frequently. for long periods. and take naps.
water - just drink it. lots of it. even if you aren't thirsty.
more recovery time - you will eventually need more recovery time as you get older. Accept this and embrace it. More recovery might mean longer rest periods between sets, less volume when training, taking easy days when you really need them. You can still train really hard. But sometimes less is more. And you gotta get smarter about it.
strength train- of course I say that. It will help prevent injuries and can significantly prevent or slow down typical effects of aging. And who says that an oldster can't also be a badass.
active recovery- here are a few more tips to help you recover from exercise/training/practice/competition more fully:
1) Eat something, preferably a mix of carbohydrates and protein, within 15-45 minutes upon finishing your session. The sooner the better! An do it more than once if possible. Continue to eat, even in small bouts, for a couple of hours. This may help to replenish muscle glycogen more quickly and efficiently. Your muscles will then have a better chance at returning to the optimum state sooner.
2) When in doubt use ice on any sore areas. Especially good for the first 48 hours after the pain begins. Put a cloth or some other barrier between the ice and your skin. Try 20 minutes on followed by 20 minutes off as many times as you can.
3) This is uncomfortable but makes you feel alive: try contrast showers or contrast baths. Really cold water followed by really hot followed by cold and keep going with it. End with warm so that you don't leave the shower/bath really cold!
4) Maintain range of motion with dynamic mobility drills, such as lunges, mountain climbers, sprinter drills and the like.
5) Visit a good massage therapist as often as you can swing it.
These are all things which are easy to do (okay, contrast baths take some willpower). Try to do these often and make your recovery and health a priority.
P.S. Read Robert's book!