One thing that I was always interested in was recovery. I realised that the athlete that recovers the fastest has the advantage. I would noticed how I would work so hard in the summer playing at an elite level. When the season would come at the beginning all those skills and movements were still there, but it would diminish as the year went on. So I started studying NBA pros on what they do to keep their skills and athleticism the same throughout the season. I discovered something called recovery. In high school this didn’t exist to me. In college we were introduced to it, but I never took it serious. As a pro it was non existent on my team in Belgium. I learned how to do this when I was training with Tim Grover in Chicago and when I went to preseason with the Indiana Pacers. What I learned was the recovery process was almost more important than the actual workouts. Here are some tips to help maintain a strong season.
Sleep is something that I use to take for granted. Now it’s at the top of my recovery list. I cannot promote sleep enough. An athlete that’s training everyday must get more than 8 hours of sleep per night at a minimum. 8 hours straight not 7 hours plus a mid-day nap. 8 hours straight at night. Sleep should ideally be in your own bed, by yourself, in a dark and quiet environment.
Here are some good rules on sleeping:
- Unplug for at least 30 minutes before bed. This means no computers, iphones, computers, or video games. I usually read a book or stretch. Those two things relax me.
- Try not to eat too much before bedtime. You don’t want to go to bed full and you don’t want to go to bed hungry. Both can have negative effects on sleep. I like to eat fruits as snacks before bed.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day if possible. It helps your circadian rhythm. This is the way our bodies are programmed to work, and when we deviate from this it can have negative effects.
- Sleep in a dark and quiet environment.
- Try to not get into your bed before you are ready to sleep. So if you are reading before bed, do it in another room, in a chair, or sit on the floor.
- Go to the bathroom before you go to bed – common sense!
Your diet is majority of the equation for recovery just like it is for just about any type of training. Food is something I’ve taken for granted for a long time. Playing with my teammate Charles Abouo last year really helped me see the advantages of eating healthy. He’s 6’4 about 210lbs and built like a machine. He always had energy and was rarely injured. So my girlfriend moved in with me and has been cooking me more plant based foods. Combining more sleep and healthier eating has been big time for me this season. I’ve ate more vegetables this year than I have my entire life.
Stretching is actually a topic that’s debated all the time. Some people say it helps some say it hurts. For me I feel comfortable stretching. I only stretch after practice never before. I usually warm up using the foam roller and then perform a dynamic warm up.
When I was in high school I never iced. In college I would a little bit because there was always so much around. I almost never ice as a pro. Now I do just a little bit more strategic. I normally get in the cold tub after the game. I tend to focus more on my achilles since it gives me issues. I never really ice my knees but I’m still researching this. It wouldn’t hurt if you do. I tend to focus on strengthening the muscles around my knee to keep it strong and healthy. Ice bags and a cold tub never could hurt tho, so after those intense workouts sit there and freeze.
This is a newbie for me. I always heard of boots called Normatec, but I had refused to pay that price. I’ve found an alternative called Air Relax. Air relax is like a Professional Massage Therapy at Home. It improves blood circulation, promotes lymphatic fluid movement, helps remove lactic acid, and improves flexibility thus stimulating recovery and enhancing performance. I’ve been using them all season and it’s been a game changer for me. I also use a combination of foam rolling and percussive therapy.
Here are a few of my recovery items.
Percussive Therapy- A deep muscle treatment that uses rapid, repetitive strokes to stimulate blood flow & heat
Air Relax-Professional Massage Therapy at Home. Air Relax Link Here
Ball Massager-It allows a deep and local massage of muscles and trigger points. Mainly for my foot.Link to Massage Ball
Foam Roller-it can be an effective tool to add to your warm-up or cooldown, before and after exercise. Foam Roller Link