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The Post Workout Routine

by Coach Seiji

Coach Seiji trained rider, Andrew Short practices what Seiji preaches.

Consistency in training and recovery is a key component of any athlete's success. Consistency from week to week, month to month and season to season leads to the growth of an athlete over the years. Consistency develops when an athlete can progressively increase training loads AND successfully recover from them; this allows continual improvements throughout a career. This all begins with DAILY recovery efforts and techniques.

Your first opportunity to begin recovery efforts is directly after training. What you do at this point is especially important because the body is in a state of stress and is the most able to absorb your recovery efforts. This is your first step towards your daily recovery which in turn can lead to a consistent training week. This leads to consistent training months and so on....

There are many actions you can take to both speed recovery and aid in achieving the most recovery. Whatever steps you decide to take, you need to take them EVERY TRAINING DAY. These steps should become a routine that is automatically done after your workouts.

Here are several actions you can take to help your body get the most out of your training efforts:

  • Recovery drink: an easy to use and convenient mixture of carbohydrates and proteins with added micronutrients that aid in reloading your muscles and liver with glycogen (the fuel source for muscle contractions). The ratio of carbohydrates to proteins is optimized for the fastest and most complete uptake of glycogen to the muscles (Endurox R4, etc). The window of time where this is the most effective is within 30-minutes of workout completion. Coach Seiji's secret smoothie. Printer friendly.
  • Hydration: Seems simple enough, but often athletes will fall short of complete rehydration. Complete rehydration is a key to managing the inflammatory response and begins tissue healing. Make it a priority for several hours post-workout to drink several bottles of a water and electrolyte solution (Gatorade, etc.) until you have returned to your pre-workout body weight.
  • Meals: Eating a full, wholesome meal continues what the recovery drink started. It is best if this meal is consumed within two hours of workout completion.
  • Stretching: Alleviate muscle tension, increase beneficial blood flow, relieve stress, increase flexibility and range of motion, reduce chances of injury. Stretching has many benefits and stretching is most effective after exercise. Stretching is good all the time but especially so directly after exercise so why not make it part of your post-workout recovery routine?
  • BCAA's: Branched Chain Amino Acids. These are building blocks of protein and the body is starving for these when there is muscle tissue breakdown. Making BCAA's readily available in the bloodstream improves the rate and completeness of muscle tissue rebuilding. BCAA's are best ingested within 20-minutes of hard, intense workouts where muscle tissue damage is suspected. You can take BCAA's along with your usual recovery drink. BCAA's have also been shown to stimulate insulin release by the pancreas which aids in the uptake of glycogen by muscles, an aforementioned key recovery component.
  • Ice Baths: Uncomfortable so save this for your super intense, key workouts. Put an entire bag of ice in the tub and fill with water. Submerge your body in the tub for 15-20 minutes (while you have your recovery drink!) to immediately stave off the inflammatory response. You can add to the benefit by taking a hot shower afterwards to reestablish circulation and drive metabolic waste out of tissues. Keep bags of ice handy to make it easier to force yourself to do this!
  • Proteolytic Enzymes: These are enzymes that break down proteins in the body. There are many touted benefits of supplementing with proteolytic enzymes but in short, they have anti-inflammatory properties and are part of the connective tissue repairing process; they aid in digestion, and can even reduce scar tissue. Again, many benefits are being investigated but these are the main ones regarding recovery from training. The best proteolytic enzyme supplements are enteric coated to keep the enzymes intact until they reach your small intestine. Most commercially available products contain bromelain and papain but for better recovery look for trypsin and chymotrypsin which are both found in pancreatin.
  • Naps: A quick "power nap" of 15-30 minutes can literally do wonders. The only time a gland in your brain releases human growth hormone is during the rapid eye movement cycles of deep sleep. A nap means an added shot of this growth hormone per day! Growth hormone is a HUGE key to recovering and adapting to training. People dream up crazy, harmful, unethical ways to get extra growth hormone; all you have to do is take a nap! You will have to experiment with how long you can nap and how late you can do it in the day so it doesn't affect your night time sleep.

Training days are already long but shortchanging yourself of daily recovery efforts is worse than omitting a training activity. I know that time is of the essence and logistics come into play so here is my short list of Coach Seiji approved recovery habits:

  1. Recovery drink. Quick, easy, simple. NO excuses.
  2. Hydration. Complete hydration. Also easy and a no brainer so again, NO excuses.
  3. Meals. Surely you are going to be starving anyways but make it a wholesome meal. It may take some prior planning, preparing and packing but your body will thank you for it.
If you have the time add:
  1. Stretching. I know, it's not that exciting and I have to force myself too, but your muscles will thank you the next training session and the overall benefits are worth the effort.

If you do a very intense, super hard core workout or a moto session that leaves you totally obliterated, add:

  1. Ice bath. Uncomfortable yes, but you will feel so much better afterwards and your inflammation will come to an immediate halt!
  2. BCAA's. Give your wrecked muscles what they are screaming for; let them have what they need for repair and tip the recovery odds in your favor. Plus it's easy.
  3. Proteolytic Enzymes: Again, pretty easy and may push the odds of getting adequate recovery for the next day's efforts into your favor.
  4. Whenever and where ever you can, take a nap! A nap can become a recovery habit just like anything else.

As soon as you have completed the last activity of your training day your focus should immediately turn to your post workout recovery habits. Successfully recovering from daily training efforts allows continued quality workouts throughout the week and this leads to continual improvements over the training month. Establishing a post workout recovery routine is the first step and a very key step in creating the habits that will lead to long term, consistent improvements. Create your own post workout routine, have the routine become a habit and improved training results are guaranteed.

About the Author: Seiji Ishii is the head coach of provides online coaching and personal training services to motorsports athletes. Coach Seiji has worked with both pros and elite amateurs including: Heath Voss, Ryan Clark, Austin Stroupe, PJ Larsen, Hunter Hewitt, Drew Yenerich, Rusty Potter, Jason Anderson, and Andrew Short. Learn more at or contact Coach Seiji directly.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    mike December 02, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    added micronutrients, gatorade, BCAA, proteolytic enzymes...umm, okay

  2. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer December 02, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    What's your point Mike? Not sure what your comment is meant to say.

  3. Gravatar
    Coach Seiji February 18, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Update since this was originally written...research/thinking/philosophy on ice baths has changed a bit for me. I only use ice baths now when extreme heat exists and only to quicken the path to recovery. Bringing the core temp down faster allows the body to enter recovery phase faster...frees up blood flow from cooling jobs to digestion, delivery, etc. Not using the ice to reduce inflammation anymore. Thinking is inflammation has to happen to get to rebuilding and remodeling phases of healing, etc. and all ice does is stall that necessary step, if ice is removed, inflammation picks up where it left off. As with any research these days, I am not super confident in it until I test it myself so this summer we will play around with the reduce core temp for faster entry into recovery vs. need for inflammatory cycle to happen. Another example of "current research" becoming "old news" but again, have to test for yourself/myself. Thanks for reading.

  4. Gravatar
    mike February 18, 2014 at 10:39 am

    oh, sorry about the clumsy comment. I had some articles about keepin it as natural as possible on my mind. Just a bit surprised about the coach recommending pills and sugared water. But yea, I suppose "after very intense, super hard core workouts" its better than risking deficiencies, right?

  5. Gravatar
    Bryan February 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Hey coach, on your last appearance on Seat Time you mentioned only drinking a recovery drink if real food is not available. Should a person drink a recovery drink in addition to real food?

  6. Gravatar
    Coach Seiji February 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Bryan and Mike,

    Yes I always recommend real food for both the immediate recovery drink and the post workout meal. Using pre made drinks/processed food is only as a last resort. Even after very intense workouts, I would rather an athlete down a smoothie they made with wholesome foods than use any commercial drink mix, but in my experience, very few people will do this. My elites do this but I realize that this is their job and they have much more time to prepare the smoothies/food etc and a person with a real job, family, etc is already hard pressed to get everything done so in that case, yes, use bars, drinks etc only because it's better than nothing at all.

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