In the midst of competition the ability to recover quickly is important. If you can maintain your performance levels as your rivals fatigue you give yourself a huge competitive advantage.

In sports where there are multiple heats such as swimming or athletics, or even in events where there’s a half time such as football, rugby, hockey etc, using this time to refuel, recover and prepare for the upcoming demands is an effective strategy that will improve performance and reduce injury risk.

In this article we’re going to look at the science behind intra-event recovery, giving evidence-based advice and reasoning to help you perform better.

Time to read: 5 minutes


Key Points:

  • Rapid recovery strategies
  • Current state of athletic recovery - nutrition
  • Temperature and exercise recovery
  • Removal of waste products
  • KYMIRA products and quick recovery

By maintaining your performance levels as your rivals fatigue you can give yourself a significant competitive advantage. This article addresses strategies for intra-event recovery to help you perform better during competitions.

Rapid recovery strategies – the story so far

Although the topic of recovery in a general sense has been well-researched, the data around rapid recovery strategies is somewhat more limited. This leaves many athletes having to work through anecdotal evidence and perceived wisdom from coaches and fellow athletes.

Despite that, with a bit of lateral thinking you can reverse-engineer performance decline and identify key areas to address in recovery.

We know that performance declines because of dehydration, reduced fuel (glycogen) availability, a lack of minerals involved in muscle contraction (sodium, potassium, magnesium etc), tissue break down, heat and a high concentration of exercise-induced waste products [1]. Addressing these issues effectively will help to recover performance levels quicker than normal.

Whilst we are powerless to do anything about the tissue breakdown in small time frames, we can certainly address the other issues, speeding recovery between bouts of competition. We can do this using a variety of tools including hydration and nutrition, infrared clothing and temperature regulation.

Current state of athletic recovery - nutrition

The International Society of Sports Nutrition objectively assesses sports nutrition research, and they have issued evidence-based guidelines across a magnitude of sports nutrition topics. These following points summarize the position of the ISSN [2] on rapid nutritional recovery…

  1. If rapid restoration of glycogen is required (< 4 h of recovery time) then the following strategies should be considered:
    1. aggressive carbohydrate refeeding (1.2 g/kg/h) with a preference towards carbohydrate sources that have a high (> 70) glycemic index
    2. the addition of caffeine (3–8 mg/kg)
    3. combining carbohydrates (0.8 g/kg/h) with protein (0.2–0.4 g/kg/h)

This approach will address the substrate issues quickly, providing the athlete with glycogen replenishment. It would also be worth taking something isotonic at this stage to replace lost electrolytes [3]. There’s also some strong evidence that electrolyte drinks help to improve rehydration rates.

From a performance point of view, we know with confidence that intra-event carbohydrate supplementation through drinks will increase endurance capacity, especially in events that will go beyond 120 minutes [4]. This could include football and rugby matches that go into extra time, T20 cricket matches, tennis matches, squash and the like.

Temperature and exercise recovery

We know that temperature impacts physical performance [5], so one of the key aspects of intra-event recovery is restoring normal temperature. There’s a number of ways you can do this, ranging from sitting in the shade, cooling down with water or the removal of layers.

One way to thermoregulate more generally is with the KYnergy fabric in KYMIRA clothing. The KYnergy fabrics regulate heat in hotter climates by speeding evaporation and heat transfer. The KYnergy fabric dries 65% quicker on average than equivalent weight fabrics, dissipating excess heat through evaporation more easily and effectively.

By regulating temperature you are also helping to reduce the likelihood of dehydration and mineral loss through sweating. This helps limit the urgency of the rehydration and carbohydrate/electrolyte replacement in the workout breaks.

Removal of waste products – a novel solution

During exercise there are waste products produced by the body as a by production of respiration. The most well-known of these is lactate, which has an adverse effect on physical capability and can contribute to cramping muscles.

In a study [6] on the effectiveness of nitric oxide as a recovery agent, researchers concluded that…

nitric oxide improved the recovery by accelerating lactate excretion from the body after the exercise. All of these metabolic responses in the present study suggest that NO will have a positive effect on exercise performance and recovery.

Infrared clothing helps to stimulate the production of nitric oxide, making it present in higher concentrations during the wearing of KYMIRA clothing. It means that whilst wearing KYMIRA clothing, whether for competition or between heats, lactate will be removed faster and more effectively. This will protect you from the effects of lactate for longer, allowing you to maintain performance.

KYMIRA Clothing and Quick Recovery

Rapid recovery is a fundamentally important aspect of maintaining performance over repeated bouts. By following the advice in this article and wearing KYMIRA clothing for competition and rest periods, you’ll maintain your highest performance levels for longer.

Take a look at our range here…

July 26, 2021 — Stephen Hoyles
Tags: performance

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