Recovery

 

When Is Recovery Needed

Recover If You Rode...

2 hours or less with at least

20 minutes at maximum effort

2.5 hours with at least

30 minutes very hard

2.5-plus hours with at least 40 minutes hard

4-plus hours with at least 40 minutes moderately hard

 

The good news is you don’t have to spend the whole time recovering. Even just a couple of these proven methods will make you feel good. The optimal time for recovery is the following 3 hours after exercise

 

Refuel

 

Hard efforts deplete energy stores and trigger production of the stress hormone cortisol. Carbs will restock glycogen. But you need protein, preferably a mix of whey and casein, to shut down cortisol so your muscles can start rebuilding. Blend milk, whey protein powder, dark cocoa powder (for flavor), and a shot of espresso, Caffeine revs your metabolism, which speeds the restoration Or mix low-fat Greek yogurt with honey and wash it down with green tea, she says.

 

Cool Down: Spin easy for 10 minutes before getting off the bike. One study found that cyclists who pedaled easy between two time trials were able to improve their performance in the next.

 

Stretching:

 

Stretching and massage after a hard effort are proven to reduce inflammation and help maintain a healthy range of motion.

 

Sleep:

 

A 20- to 30-minute nap boosts the release of growth hormone, which helps muscles rebuild

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