I hope you all enjoy the article below on recovery. First, I want to remind you all that Zach Even-Esh and I are teaming up for the Certification of a Lifetime May 16-17 at the Mash Compound in Advance, NC. I will be in Kissimmee, FL March 28-29 at Obsessive CrossFit Disorder. For information about these and all of my Learn 2 Lift Certifications, click on the link below:
Recovery is Key
People ask me all the time, “What do you do for recovery?” There are a lot of different opinions on this topic. There is research that supports almost every element of recovery, and research that refutes a lot of them. My research comes from trial and error on my own body. When you have pushed your body to the top of any sport, you know when something affects your body and when it doesn’t. I quantify effect in several ways: performance, range of motion, and of course pain.
Over the years, I have tried almost everything. The best decision that I ever made was choosing Dr. Gray, Gray Chiropractic and Sorts Associates as my one stop shop for recovery, injury prevention, nutrition advice, injury recovery, and increased performance advice. I chose Dr. Gray way back in early 2004. That year, I was diagnosed with protruding discs in my lumber spine. I was told to quit lifting. Of course, I wasn’t going to follow that advice. I decided to take a proactive approach.
I researched all the soft tissue practitioners in my area. I interviewed 5 Chiropractors and PTs before landing on Dr. Gray as my choice. I chose him based on his thirst for continued education, progressive services (Active Release Technique, Graston, K-Laser, Cox Table, ROM Tester, etc), and his sincere passion for athletes. Dr. Gray was a huge part of the many World Records that I set. It was no coincidence that I set my first world record at the end of 2004. Dr. Gray was so important to my training that I flew him to my competitions to keep me firing properly throughout the event.
Now I know that not everyone can afford to fly their Chiros to their competitions, but I tell you that to demonstrate the importance. I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of competing if Dr. Gray wasn’t included in my process. This might seem like a massive plug for Dr. Gray, but many of you don’t live anywhere near me. I am just letting you know the importance.
I suggest doing your own research, and choosing your soft tissue practitioner wisely. I would definitely look for Active Release Technique, Graston Technique, K-Laser, and other proactive approaches to recovery and movement. Notice I didn’t mention to look for someone to cure your injuries. If that is the way that you are thinking, then you have already lost.
I believe that the main reason that I beat everyone in the world was my way of thinking in regards to performance. I chose to not leave one stone unturned. Dr. Gray taught my about the importance of movement and Range of Motion. He also was one of the first people that taught me about muscular imbalance, and he gave me ways to correct these imbalances.
Dr. Gray was also a huge influence on the way I approach sleep and nutrition. If you aren’t approaching sleep with same importance as your training, then you are wasting time. Sleep used to be a major issue for me because not only was I high strung, but also I was approaching sleep all wrong. Here are some keys to sleep. First, put all of your cell phones and computers away at least 2 hours prior to bedtime. Also, I suggest cutting your televisions off. I suggest reading a soothing book coupled with prayer. It is like sleeping pills to me because it puts me at peace. Personally, I read the bible until I am tired. Then I pray until I am fighting sleep. It’s like magic.
Nutrition has become even more important the older that I get. It has always been important, but now more than ever. My keys now are anti-inflammatory foods and hydration. It comes down to movement and minimizing pain at this point in my career. I am still able to perform at high levels because I focus more than ever on the foods that I eat. An easy way of avoiding inflammatory foods is minimizing the three white killers: salt, sugar, and flour.
Dr. Gray has always advised me in my supplement choices, but now I am blessed to have Competitive Edge Performance on my team. Let me tell you that I didn’t take this decision lightly. I was interviewing several companies before deciding to partner with these guys. They took the time to visit my gym, and they explained the importance of quality. I really bonded with the owner, Tony, and his partner, Caleb. I think that we are going to do amazing things together.
The key is that a supplement isn’t a supplement. Both Dr. Gray and Competitive Edge recommend that athletes get a blood test. Zinc and Magnesium are great supplements, but some people need them more than others. Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin D are incredibly crucial for me. Precision is key to becoming a Master of the Mundane.
Here’s the thing! I put my trust in Dr. Gray because I know that he is always looking for the next best thing. The newest addition to his arsenal was his purchase of a Hyperbaric Chamber. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is the medical use of oxygen in a pressurized environment of 1.3 atmosphere absolute (ATA). The chamber simulates an environment of 10 feet below sea level while introducing pure Oxygen to the chamber.
The big advantage is that the increased oxygen absorbed by the body is dissolved in the blood plasma that carries the red blood cells. This allows the oxygen to be carried deeper into the body where the Red Blood Cells, due to size, can’t go. This process decreases inflammation, and increases the healing process. Basically it is everything that an athlete could want for recovery.
Here is what I experienced from my trips to the chamber. My knee was flared up with major tendonitis before beginning my sessions. I had been dealing with this pain for over a month. After one session, my knee improved. Now it is completely better. The only thing that I did was use the Chamber.
Overall recovery was exponentially improved during one of the most vigorous training periods of my life. I started the Chamber during my initial GridStyle training. It allowed me to increase volume nearly 25% each and every week for the first eight weeks. I was able to increase my maximal lifts by 20% in the same time. I believe that the Hyperbaric Chamber along with the other services that Dr. Gray provides made my incredible run over the past nine weeks possible.
The other recovery techniques that I have used and continue to use are: epsom salt baths, daily mobility work targeting problem areas, and good old fashioned stretching. The salt baths are honestly my go to home remedy. I take one almost every other night, and no doubt they work magic. There are other recovery techniques, but these are the ones that I have tried so far. I definitely want to check out cryotherapy. When I do, I will report back to you guys first thing.
Here’s the thing! If you want to become a great athlete, you have to take your recovery seriously. You have to take it just as serious as your training. No, you have to take it more serious. I know that recovery isn’t sexy, but it is what champions focus on. Recovery is the real reason that I dominated the sport of powerlifting from 2004-2005. I simply did the little things that other athletes ignored. I was simply smarter not really stronger.
My biggest goal in life is to help other to help all of you. On a weekly basis, I lay out the path to success in the strength world. It is up to you to apply the information. I suggest that you all take the choice of soft tissue practitioner very seriously. It is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make as an athlete.
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