"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going" —Beverly Sills
Have you ever taken a shortcut that winds up being the long way home? Unfortunately, for the time-pressed athlete, skimping on recovery is an often employed "time-saver" that can detour or even derail fitness.
While it can be tempting to sacrifice recovery in order to hammer out a little more mileage, it certainly won't get you to your fitness goals any faster—if, in fact, you get there at all.
Time, however, is a finite resource, and with most athletes juggling an already full plate, the scenic route isn't realistic either. Efficiency is essential.
Below are four of the most common blunders of the time-pressured athlete, and a few suggestions for streamlining your approach:
1. Skimping on the Maintenance
Like car tune-ups and oil changes, the body needs regular maintenance in order to run properly.
If, like most amateur athletes, bi-weekly massages and daily yoga classes don't quite fit into your busy train-work-family routine, it is still vital to incorporate stretching and other injury-prevention techniques such as...
- Foam rolling: Foam rollers can be purchased from some sporting goods stores, physical therapy offices or online. When you can't make it to a massage, this is the next best thing. It's one of the best remedies for sore quadriceps and tight IT bands.
- Stretching: Yoga has many benefits, but busy athletes don't always have the 60 to 90 minutes to commit to a full class. You can help keep your joints, muscles and tendons happy by following your training sessions with a few minutes of targeted stretching.
2. Poor Fueling
Lunch-time workouts and rushing from one activity to another often cause us to skimp, or even skip, proper nutrition and hydration post-workout. While a buffet is not always accessible (or necessary), proper planning can ensure you don't compromise your recovery.
Aim to consume something with a mix of carbs and protein within 20 minutes of finishing a workout.
Sports drinks and bars can be a good option because they are convenient and easy to keep on-hand. There are also loads of other quick and transportable sources of replenishment such as fresh fruit, yogurt, trail mix and good old peanut butter and jelly, to name a few.
The key here is planning ahead. Use your weekends to stock up on a variety of easy-to-grab, post-workout snacks for the entire week.