Massage can greatly improve the general health of your muscles by increasing the flow of nutrients via increased blood flow. However it is also useful to know that many people, who regularly exercise are in need of extra nutrition to accommodate the additional use of their muscles. Ideally we eat fresh and healthily and only supplement as required. Below is our guide to finding what you may need or want to try as well as a number of sports massage related products, some of which are my total favorites and I absolutely swear by. But don’t take my word for it – it is all down to what works for you!
Nutrition is a completely separate issue to massage. It is not our field of expertise. However over the years, we have noticed a great deal of overlap in what we are trying to achieve in terms of athletes recovery. Below is a short run down of what we have learned. For more detailed and individual advice, please see a qualified practitioner.
Compression calf shields : I go on and on and on about how my calves would not be the same without them! I love Compress Sport calf shields, because they fit really well, mostly because they are measured by calf size, not by foot size. Ever heard of the All Blacks wearing Skins on their long haul travel ? Well, this is the same principle for runners’ legs recovery.
Astaxanthin: AstaZan is a natural substance that has very powerful and far-reaching antioxidant benefits. Studies have shown it to be considerably more effective at free radical scavenging than Beta carotene, Grape Seed, Vitamin C & Vitamin E. To me it has dramatically reduced recovery time at every marathon I have run.
General Muscle Health – Magnesium:
If you are prone to cramp, try a Magnesium supplement or a soak in good old Epsom salts.
Many scientists believe that the amount of magnesium required for optimum health has been underestimated in the past, and now new research suggests that even small shortfalls in magnesium intake can seriously impair athletic performance.
For athletes in many fields, be it weekend warrior or serious contender, it is now the norm to have at least an electrolyte drink during or after your event as well as a gel (high carbohydrate and possibly caffeine) during an event. While training protein is also recommended after your training. Without going to much into the very intricate details, below a generalized short summary of what you may want to try. There are now many very good brands available to try. It is very much a matter of taste, trial and error and perhaps – dare I say- price. Personally I now try to make my own solid foods from scratch, these days , but I do still use a gel or two on a long run (Cliff bar double choc or vanilla) and an electrolyte drink (SOS, because I don’t like the sweet stuff so much). You just gotta trial a few to see what works best for you.
There is a very interesting chapter in ‘ The feed zone ‘ on ‘gut rot’ . Say no more, but worth reading!
For more in depth information on what to eat when and why, see Rachel at Hammer nutrition. She used to be a massage therapist, so anything I can tell you about massage and nutrition, she can say better 🙂
Hammer Nutrition http://www.hammernutrition.co.nz/default.aspx
Everybody is different and we all have different preferences. However carbohydrates is what will give you energy, once you have used up your Glycogen (the stored form of carbs in the body), of which any human can only hold up to about 40 minutes worth.
What Should I Consume?
Food intake during exercise should be easy to swallow with limited chewing. Liquid options are often the best options, however this will depend on personal preference and ability to stomach certain foods. Each of the following options provides about 50g carbohydrate:
- 800ml sports drink
- 500ml cola drink
- Liquid meal supplement
- 1 sports bars
- 2 sports gels
- 3 small or 2 large bananas
- 80g jelly babies or jelly beans
- 1 round jam/jelly sandwiches
Another good idea is to keep an eye on electrolytes, the salts in your bloodstream. Again your preference is key.