Gadgets And Techniques To Boost Your Cycling Recovery

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– That’s actually mental. (dramatic sound) Welcome to part three of my
quest to take on the hour record and see if I can beat
the legendary Eddy Merckx and his distance of 49.431 kilometers. This is going to be the
hardest physical challenge I’ve ever undertaken. And no matter what you’re
training for, in order to improve, get fitter, and stronger,
you need to recover. Now recovery is often overlooked, but it’s where the gains are made. It’s where the body rebuilds itself and becomes stronger than it was before. Given the task at hand then, and given I’m going to be training harder than I’ve ever trained before, I need all the help I can get. Several brands have got
in touch to suggest things that I could do. So let’s see how I can try
and maximize my recovery. (dramatic music) Starting with this, the Theragun. The Theragun looks like Marvin the Martians
disintegration pistol, but the only thing this bad boy is going to be disintegrating are the knots in my tired limbs. One of the advantages of Theragun is you can self-administer massages with it. Ideally I’d be getting
daily sports massages while I’m training for this challenge, but unfortunately that’s not possible. So this makes for an alternative. Right, prepare to be disintegrated. (Theragun whirring) Using percussive therapy it vibrates and pounds your muscles
much like a robot masseuse. The 40 percussions per second
have 16 millimeters of travel helping to improve circulation and blood flow. (groovy music) There are different head attachments and post exercise two
minutes per muscle group is recommended with the corresponding app and well, feels quite good actually. Interestingly the Theragun
is increasingly being used by physiotherapists and masseuses too and is said to be beneficial
in breaking up scar tissue and alleviating joint pain. However I am mainly using
it for the massage benefits and if there’s one thing pro
cyclists swear by for recovery it’s massages. (upbeat tempo music) The next thing I’m going
to try is a PowerDot. Now this is an e-stim unit that attaches electrodes to your muscles and then sends electric current
through to stimulate them and supposedly aid recovery. Several top cyclists
are said to be using it and swear by it. So I thought I’d try it out for myself. The PowerDot works with a
corresponding smart phone app and in that you select the muscle group that you want to target, in my case the quads and then it shows you visually where you should put the
pads in order to do that. Then you get to select which
kind of program you want. So I’ve gone for recovery but there’s also things like a massage or a warm-up. Things like that, as well. (calm uptempo music) Right, I’m going to start it up. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Using the app you control the intensity of the electrodes. I’m up to three and it’s tingling. (laughs) (upbeat tempo music) I’m up to six and my legs are
really starting to feel it. The idea is that it’s able
to give temporary pain relief from sore or aching muscles
that you’ve got from exercise and the electrical stimulation
when effectively combined with regular physical training is said to significantly
improve the performance of those muscles too. They’re certainly stimulating
my muscles (breathy laughing). It feel like I’m having a massage which is quite strange but next I’m going to look at sleep. Sleep is absolutely crucial to recovery. Loads of important processes
happen when you’re asleep. Your body releases hormones
like human growth hormone which is crucial for rebuilding your body and insufficient sleep can lead to increased level of cortisol which is the stress hormone
can lead to weight gain. (wind blowing) When I said I was willing to try anything, I wasn’t lying. This is an altitude tent and despite my blood
oxygen saturation being 89% no we’re not camping in a field at 3,000 meters above sea levels. We’re in fact in the urban
serenity and convenience of my bedroom. (calm deep music) Top endurance athletes
reportedly use altitude tents for endurance gains. The theory being that they
help your body produce more red blood cells. The more red blood cells you have, the more oxygen that
your body can process, the higher your VO2 Max and the bigger your aerobic capacity. The composition of the air
is 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and 1% argon. Now, by connecting the tent
to a hypoxyic generator the composition of the air can be changed. The generator pumps in air that has a higher proportion of nitrogen. Meaning that the oxygen is only around 14% and the theory behind this
is that it forces the body to adapt to what is available. Now in doing this the body
then starts to produce EPO in the kidneys. EPO being a hormone responsible
for making red blood cells. (calm tempo music) You can basically get
fitter just by sleeping. Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? One caveat with this technique though is that not everyone responds
to altitude training. You might feel the benefits or you might be one of those people that doesn’t get any
physiological response. It might also negatively
impact your sleep. However one skill I do have
in abundance is sleep skills. I could sleep for Britain. However to make sure that
my cat naps aren’t curtailed and my hibernation isn’t hindered, I’ve literally got a gadget up my sleave. (upbeat drum tempo) Now this is a WHOOP. You may have seen Psy and
J-Pow talking about them and wearing them in videos in the past. And it’s a gadget that’s
specifically designed to monitor your recovery. Now it does so by connecting to an app on your smartphone and it monitors your sleep. But it also tracks your heart rate and your heart rate variability, too. And using special algorithms
it’s able to quantify that and give you a score. This is useful as it tells
you how recovered you are and able to therefore perform and train. I also find it really useful in my life because I’m training
around a full time job and other commitments and sometimes I’ll have
a busy day at work. I’ll be on my feet lots but I’ve not actually trained and I feel like I’ve not done anything and I’ll have a session
planned in the evening from Neil and Mack from the Sufferfest and I’ll go home and I’ll
just feel really tired. But then there’s a danger that you can beat yourself up mentally because you tell yourself, well you shouldn’t feel tired, ’cause you’ve not actually
done anything today. And that’s where the WHOOP comes in handy because it says actually
you’ve done a lot today. You’ve been on your feel a
lot and you should feel tired. Don’t worry that’s normal, chill out. And it’s nice to have that
positive reinforcement but also it’s used for teaching you how other things affect recovery. So if you drink alcohol or
you don’t get enough sleep or if you spend all day on your feet or even if you’re not hydrated enough, you’re not drinking enough water. And it’s cool that it
makes you accountable by way of a score. It might not work for everyone but for me it’s kind of like a game. I want to beat my score. Interestingly if you’re ill
or coming down with a virus, your resting heart rate
will usually be higher than a couple of days before. And the WHOOP measures it at a specific point in your
sleep cycle every night for consistency. And just before I got ill
with a virus last week my resting heart rate was about
10 beats per minute higher. (calming music) In addition to my other training my coaches Neil and
Mack from the Sufferfest have been getting me to do some yoga. Now having never done it before I wasn’t sure why either but I’m now a convert. It helps me relax but it’s also great for joints and muscles and key to riding in a really
agressive aerodynamic position is flexibility and it’s
great for that too. (peaceful music) I find it more mentally
stimulating then just stretching and it pushes me more in
terms of flexibility too but yoga’s said to have
a whole host of benefits for cyclists. Things like improved core strength, decreased injury risk, improved breathing, but to be honest it just
kind of makes me feel good and puts me in a positive mood and I don’t think you can
ever underestimate that. Oh, god (murmurs). (laughs) It’s worth bearing in mind that as much as you should
look to enhance your recovery it’s not a replacement for training and you also shouldn’t
neglect the basics, as well. You need to focus on good quality sleep, rest, and nutrition above all else. And it’s kind of like what I said in a weight
loss video as well, you can’t out train a bad diet. The same can be said for recovery. (swiping sound) When you finish a workout
getting in protein and carbs is absolutely key to recovery. And while I’m a fan of real food, sport specific products are great ’cause they’re really convenient and they contain the
exact right quantities of what you need backed up by science. It’s really important that you replenish your glycogen stores and also take in protein
to rebuild muscles. Hope you’ve enjoyed this video and found it useful. And if you have then
please give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends. And if you’d like to stay updated on my, hour record challenge, then there’s going to be
weekly updating on the GCN show and also longer form videos like this one every now and then. So make sure you subscribe for those and if you’d like to see how
I’ve been getting on so far then you can do by clicking down here and if you’d like to
watch a different video on weight loss then you
can click down here.

 

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