Fitness Test #5: Recovery and Nutrition

Jul 2, 2009
Outside Magazine
Kyle Daniels

"Winter is my time to recover": Champion paddleboarder and lifeguard Kyle Daniels    Photo: Jake Chessum


40 and up: Pass!
20-39: A little rough, but you'll survive
0-19: Warning--you can't keep this up forever
Below 0: Oy, vey

Much of your training will go to waste if you're not devoting equal time and effort to your recovery. The physiological gains from exercise take place while you're at rest: Blood flows into damaged muscles and joints, capillaries expand for improved oxygen delivery, and tissues prepare for the next onslaught. But that requires the right ingredients high-quality nutrients and honest-to-God downtime to offset stress. Take our quiz to see how you're doing and, better yet, discover ways to improve an oft-neglected pillar of fitness.

Active Recovery
I do ___ really hard workouts per week
a. 4 (-4)
b. 2 (+4)
c. 0 (+0)

My recovery days include:
a. Low-intensity, low-volume activity (+2)
b. Pick-up hoops, push-up contests, swimming intervals (-2, -2, -2)
c. Sleeping in, eating Cocoa Puffs, Iron Chef (+2, -2, +0)

I stretch:
a. Statically, before workouts (-1)
b. Dynamically, before workouts (+1)
c. After workouts (+3)
d. Um, yeah no (-2)


After hard workouts and races:
a. I jump in the car and drive home (-1)
b. I hit the hot tub (-2)
c. I jog or spin easy for 15 minutes, then stretch for 10 (+3)

I get massages from:
a. A trained physical therapist monthly (+5)
b. Myself, using foam rollers, weekly (+1)
c. My wife, when I'm good (+0)

True or False? On my recovery days, I regularly practice yoga.
a. True (+2)
b. False (+0)

I practice periodization, which means:
a. I train hard but sometimes train harder (-3)
b. I intersperse hard training with periods of low-intensity training throughout the year, including a month or two "off" (+3)

Nutrition I eat:
a. As much as I want. Hey, I'm working out! (-3)
b. Small, healthy meals throughout the day (+5)
c. Occasionally, when I have time (-3)
d. Big, right before I hit the sack (-3)

I'm most likely to skip:
a. Breakfast (-4)
b. Lunch (-3)
c. Dinner (-2)
d. Dessert (+1)

I eat a green salad:
a. Almost every day (+3)
b. A couple times a week (+1)
c. A couple times a month (-5)
d. Sorry, I'm a meatatarian (-9)

I'm usually:
a. Starving (-3)
b. Snacking on something wholesome (+2)
c. Stuffing my face (-1)

I drink:
a. An ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight, daily (+3)
b. Eight glasses a day, just like Mom said (+1)
c. When I'm parched (-1)
d. To forget (-4)

My stimulant of choice is:
a. Green tea (+2)
b. Coffee (+0)
c. Frappuccinos (-3)
d. Monster (-3)

Within an hour after hard workouts and competitions, I consume:a. Plain old water (+1)
b. A recovery drink with a 4-to-1 carb-protein ratio (+3)
c. Chocolate milk (+2)
d. Miller High Life (-1)

Rest & Relaxation
Over the course of a workweek, I get:
a. Eight or more hours of sleep a night (+5)
b. About seven (-1)
c. About six (-3)
d. Less than six, but I make up for it on Saturdays (-5)

I fall asleep:
a. Before midnight (+2)
b. After midnight (-2)

Number of hours per week I work:
a. 40 (+0)
b. 50 (-2)
c. 60 (-3)
d. 70 (-4)

I keep a training-and-nutrition log because:
a. It helps me see when I've been pushing too hard and adjust accordingly (+3)
b. I'm anal and can't help it (+1)
c. Why do I need to write this stuff down? (-2)

I take vacations:
a. Once a month (+2)
b. Twice a year (+1)
c. To see my in-laws (-5)

Which of these phrases have you said in the Past week? (choose up to four)
a. "I'll sleep when I'm dead" (-4)
b. "Things are so crazy right now" (-2)
c. "Hi, do you do takeout after midnight?" (-2)
d. "Aaahhh . . ." (+3)

On a scale of 1 10, rate your overall happiness level (add your answer to your score)

Contributing editor Nick Heil wrote about the Black Diamond Company in May.

Filed To: Recovery, Nutrition