The importance of rest and recovery - Andy Burns Team GBR

This month we asked our very own sponsored athlete Andy Burns from Team GBR Judo to share his views on rest and recovery and the impact it has on athletic performance.

Andy is the No.1 British Judo athlete under 90kg, and is the 2015 British Open Champion as well as a Commonwealth games medallist. Whilst being a full time athlete now training for Rio 2016, Andy has also completed his Masters degree in Strength and Conditioning and is currently the Strength & Conditioning coach for the Welsh National Judo team.

JBC - How many rest / recovery days do you have per week?

I usually train six days per week, although that doesn’t reflect how the training week actually looks. It is very difficult to train all out in Judo six days a week without proper recovery, due to the high impact and intensity that is required. So we tend to manipulate the intensity in waves, for example medium day on Monday, hard day on Tuesday and light/recovery on Wednesday. This allows me to push myself to the limit on the hard days and know that I have a longer period of recovery before I have to train that intense again.

JBC - Do you believe that you can train seven days a week and still progress?

I believe it is possible to train seven days a week if it is managed as I mentioned above, lighter days can be focused on active recovery and technical aspects of the sport. Even if it is only gym work, recovery can be enhanced and muscle soreness reduced by training the same movements at a lighter weight. I usually spend recovery days going over tactics for upcoming fights, working on new techniques and maybe play a little football and do some stretching, or a really light recovery run for about 30 minutes.

JBC - Does your diet change on your rest / recovery days?

I try to fuel for what I am about to do and eat for recovery based on what I am about to do, so it all depends on the upcoming session. However, I reduce my carbohydrate intake a little on recovery days as I don’t need the same fuel as on the more intense ones, but try to eat as many colourful vegetables I can find and maintain a good protein intake. This is where my supplements come into play, I take Pro-fuel before every intense training session or sparring, as well as on competition day and will always have Pro-recovery after each session.

JBC - What do you believe are the key factors for rest / recovery?

Sleep, and lots of it. The body recovers so much quicker when we got enough sleep; ensuring optimal sleep conditions such as dark room, cool temperature and a quiet environment helps increase my sleep quality. I also tend not to use any technology for the hour before going to bed as it helps me relax and wind down from the onslaught of information that we deal with each day. Hydration is also a key aspect for recovery; making sure I am replacing any lost fluids after training helps me to recover faster, I tend to drink 1.5 litres for every kg I lose in training.