optimal guide to exercise recovery R4 System

protein shake Recovery from exercise is a big thing for me for a couple of reasons

#1 i am now over 35 and my recovery ability has slowly declined over the last 4 years or so and most noticeably in the last 2 years for definite.

#2 i play and compete in two sports at opposite ends of the energy system continum. i play squash at a reasonably high level (fast twitch, power endurance, agility, explosive in nature ect) and i run marathons, sometimes above marathon distance (slow twitch, pure endurance, oxidative ect).

so i have to section my training into phases, when im building up for a race my squash/power training is reduced and i start to find it more difficult moving and reacting quickly on court but i continue to play matches whilst my run milage goes up. when im building up to a match or season in squash i reduce my runs to a maximal of 4/5 miles a session because it serves no real purpose for me in regards to my movement on court and it always leaves my legs heavy and sluggish when playing.

But inevitably there will be an overlap between running and playing and it is in these areas that i find myself most fatigued. tired after matches, tired and irritable later in the day after runs and generally more achy legged waking up in the mornings.

my recovery nutrition has always been pretty good in either area, i take on board carbs and protein post exercise but it has never been an exact science and i have never been really keen on throwing in loads of sugar after training anyway. for a long time i’ve struggled to strike a balance between taking in enough food to keep me fuelled optimally and recovering so that im fresh to play or train again.

i have read loads and experimented extensively with some success and eventually came accross the work of Edmund Burke and his book Optimal Muscle Recovery. Link to the book below:


in the book he advocates his R4 system of recovery which essentially gives you precise numbers for what you should be consuming post exercise, the 4 Rs are as follows

Restore fluid and electrolytes

Replenish glycogen rapidly

Reduce muscle and immune system stress

Rebuild muscle protein

its not ground breaking or particularly new in principle but the real science for me was how far my numbers were out when putting in recovery nutrients post exercise. i have always been stacked pretty equal between protein and carb ratios but based on Burke’s recommendations a ratio of 4:1 in favour of carb to protein would assist in rebuilding my glycogen stores and essentially restocking my energy stores more quickly. he writes at length about why this is optimal and the science seems practical.

in addition to the R4 above he recommends some add on nutrients that are not essential but have been proven in some literature to assist the recovery process. some of these i added and found of no real benefit but these 3 i did find particularly useful.

1. D-ribose

What is D Ribose Powder?

D Ribose occurs naturally in all living cells. It is a simple sugar that begins the metabolic process for ATP production. D Ribose works synergistically with creatine and may improve the benefits of this.

D Ribose Powder Benefits

D Ribose has been proven to help increase muscular energy, boost stamina, and help recovery. D Ribose is also a very efficient way to improve your energy when working out. It is involved in the synthesis of ATP in the muscle cell.

2. Beta Alanine

What is Beta Alanine?

Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid and is the only naturally occurring beta-amino acid.

Benefits of Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine works with L-Histidine to increase Carnosine concentration in the skeletal muscle and reduce lactic acid formation.

Who is Beta Alanine Suitable for?

Ideal for anyone participating in sports that require explosive actions such as sprinting, weight training or boxing and those involved in prolonged endurance exercise.

 3. L-Glutamine

When you begin exercising, whatever the type and duration, your body starts to break down amino acids in your muscle tissue by a process called catabolism. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid within the muscle tissue, which means that levels can be significantly depleted after exercise.  Your body cannot synthesise enough to fully replenish itself and consuming solid foods such as meat, fish and eggs which contain this amino acid can be impractical immediately after your workouts.

What are the Key benefits?

  • Supplementing with L-Glutamine (particularly post-workout) can help to restore amino acid levels that are diminished during your workout. Restoring these will provide a fundamental building block for new proteins to be manufactured to help with recovery.

Putting it all together

after some experimenting my recovery shake if you like looks something like this give or take what i have available.

Two scoops of recovery Evo from Myprotein which covers my Carb/Protein, electrolytes, vitamin C and glutamine requirements and one scoop each of D Ribose and Beta Alanine, sometimes i add some fruit juice to top up the carb levels.

my recovery is probably at least 25% better overall and i am far less tired most of the time after matches or training sessions. Burke suggests in his book that endurance is increased upto 55% and muscle damage reduced by 36%. whether these numbers are as high for me is debateable but i definietly feel the benefits.

Guide lines are below.

Carbs consume between 0.8 and 1.2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight as quickly as possible after your training session.

You should include about 0.3 to 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight in your recovery shake.

Links to the stuff i use, enter this code and get 10 % off the order MARKPOTTERSITE10

Recovery evo                http://tidd.ly/e18fa628

Beta Alanine                 http://tidd.ly/207cd021

D-ribose                         http://tidd.ly/7f28564f





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