Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Recovery Plan after Workouts Brings Improved Performance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Recovery Plan after Workouts Brings Improved Performance

Article excerpt

I was feeling slightly pleased with myself the other day, having walked up and down the stairs at a waterfront pier for 37 minutes. Though I hadn't thought about it ahead of time, later I realized it was probably the most I'd ever spent on a stairs workout. (Admittedly, in years past I would run up and down, not walk.)

Little did I know that what I did following the workout -- or what I didn't -- had the potential to undermine its intended benefits. Sure, I'd stretched some, and drank a glass of water when I got home. But in the minutes and hours that followed, I hadn't paid that much attention to what I drank or ate, and how they might relate not only to my recovery from that session, but how I'd feel the next day and how I'd perform during my next workout.

That's the theme of Ed Burke's new book, Optimal Muscle Recovery: Your Guide to Achieving Peak Physical Performance ($14.95). Director of the exercise-science program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Burke is well-known in exercise-physiology circles, perhaps best in bicycling (he was director for the Center of Science and Technology for the U.S. Cycling Team from 1982 to 1987). He contributed the strength-training section in one of my favorite basic fitness books, Getting in Shape.

"Over the years I was becoming more and more aware of the need for recovery, maybe also because I was getting older," said Burke, who was about to turn 50 when we talked recently. He'd just participated in a 100-mile mountain-bike race that featured 10,000 feet of climbing and averaged 10,000 feet in altitude.

At a 1997 symposium with other exercise physiologists Burke developed what he calls the R4 System for Peak Performance, "to help athletes achieve full muscle potential through a comprehensive recovery program."

Those four Rs:

Restore fluids and minerals to recover from dehydration,

Replenish glycogen, a primary fuel source for energy,

Reduce muscle and immunesystem damage from the physical stress of exercise, and

Rebuild muscle protein, for the maintenance of muscle structure and function. …

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