Guest Post: Recovery

Hello “CD in DC” readers. Things may seem different today because I am taking over the blog. “I” being Matthew, Camille’s amazing boyfriend that you’ve heard so much about. My jealousy of Camille’s blogging skills have reached a peak and now I am trying it out one guest post at a time. To keep it simple I’m going question and answer style, starting with a classic. Fair warning… I write novels.

Q: How do you fix shin splints?

A: I figured the best way to start was to take a question I can not answer and in true Washington DC fashion turn it into something I can answer. Shin splits are something most runners deal with at some point in their adventures. They are extremely annoying and seemingly impossible to get rid of. Unfortunately not much is known about the cause of shin splints although the most common belief is overuse. If thats the case then ice and rest are the best cures however this is mostly speculation so I will not be able to add much on this. Turning this into something I can help with is recovery from exercise in general.

The first step in recovering from exercise is actually exercising, go do that and then come back.

Ok now we’ll go through recovery techniques based on what you just did.

Resistance training  (Picking things up and putting them down)

( Photo Credit: )

 Tasks for Recovery

1. Restore tissue quality

2. Reduce inflammation

3. Stop catabolism (muscle breakdown)

The first task is probably the most common and involves foam rolling and stretching, it can be performed immediately following exercise and at various times throughout the day.

Reducing inflammation only comes into play when you work at high intensity with limited time to recover between bouts of exercise. It will go away on it’s own but if you’re looking to speed the process up try an ice bath. Doing it immediately after exercise will give you the greatest effect but can be done within a couple hours and still be beneficial. Never do so before exercise.

Finally you need to stop catabolism. When you work out your body enters a catabolic state which means it is breaking down fat, carbs and proteins for energy.  After resistance training you would like to reverse this process to allow your muscles to begin the recovery process which makes you stronger. The best way to do this is consume a carb/protein meal (2:1 and 3:1 ratios are most commonly recommended). The carbs will trigger an insulin response switching the body to an anabolic state (building) and the protein will provide nutrients to build new muscle. Regardless of your goals it is always smart to follow this recommendation! What you can adjust depending on your desired outcome is how much carb/protein to consume. If you are trying to lose weight stick to a smaller snack/meal size, to gain weight consume higher amounts. This is most effective within the 40 minutes following exercise.


Steady State Exercise (exercising at one pace for a continuous amount of time, ex: jogging/running/biking)

Task for recovery

  1. Replenish glycogen stores
  2. Reduce inflammation (see above)
  3. rest

This is the simplest form of exercise in terms of recovery. The name of the game is allowing the body to replenish all the nutrients and oxygen it just used. The largest of these would be glycogen which is used to fuel the muscles. Best way to replenish these stores is to eat carbs, not to the extent of carb loading, just make sure your diet has decent amounts of carbs. 40-60% of daily caloric intake depending on your goals and average exercise intensity.

Interval Training (exercise, rest, exercise, rinse, repeat…)

Tasks for recovery

  1. Lactate Clearance
  2. reduce inflammation (see above)
  3. replenish nutrient stores

The best way to recover from interval training is to perform low intensity steady state exercise. By doing so you increase the vascularity of all the tissues increasing blood flow and providing the needed nutrients.  This should be a self selected pace and duration depending on how you feel although I usually recommend 10-15 minutes at a HR of 110-120. anything more and you’ll have to recover from your recovery.

Hope this helps everybody out there. If you have any questions that you think would make a good blog post send me an email at I’ll answer as many as I can.

Matthew received his B.S. in Exercise science from George Washington University and is currently pursing is Masters in the same field. Certifications include a C.S.C.S and USAW. He currently works as Graduate assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at GWU.


~ by Meels on Wheels on April 20, 2013.

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