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Active Versus Passive Recovery


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Sensible and well-thought-out discussion of whether "active rest" is better for athletes than just rest.

The key is to feel better than when you started resting.

Ideally you should finish the active recovery workout feeling better than you started. At very least you should feel no more tired when you’re done. If you’ve increased your level of fatigue, you went too hard, too long or both. In which case passive recovery is probably the better choice because you have poor impulse control.

Finally, as noted above, some athletes like to consume a dilute carb/protein drink during active recovery workouts, the increased blood flow from training carries nutrients to worked muscles and can only help with recovery. I’d suggest perhaps 30 grams of carbs with 10-15 grams of a fast digesting protein (e.g. whey or soy) per hour of activity or so. Enough to get some nutrients to the muscles without consuming so much that you counterbalance the caloric expenditure of the training.

Three years later I gotta say: Just rest. 

Lyle is the best. He's my go-to for training and nutrition info. No bullshit, research based. Top notch.

Eric, what else has he written that you recommend highly?

I find these kinds of discussions highly entertaining and somewhat sad since most people (a) have terrible diets and (b) don't do regular high-intensity workouts, but end up fanatically reading stuff like this. But these kinds of optimizations doesn't matter unless you're trying to get to 8% body fat or becoming a performance athlete. I've read most of these kinds of studies / theories / writings over the last decade, and if I'd put that same effort into:

- Avoiding simple carbs

- Avoiding manmade foods

- Any high intensity exercise (not high volume) regularly 2x week

I'd be in the shape that I wanted to be...

It's exactly like Warren Buffett says about investing. Knowing what do is easy. It's doing it that's hard...

Hahaha, I appreciate the reality check Naval, and I actually agree with you. :) In this case I was just trying to decide whether my legs would hurt less the day after a hard weight-training session if I rode my bike to work or not. Final decision: no bike, more rest.

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