The role of sleep and recovery for combat athletes (2 of 3 blogs)


But, I’m an amateur fighter and I have to be at work at 07:00 ..when do I train?
Good point, then early morning sessions or pre-work training sessions may be out for you. Not only will early morning training sessions truncate your sleep duration, you will also reduce the time spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is important for cognitive performance and decision making. REM sleep period’s mostly occur between 03:00-06:00 hrs and can have significant short-term (performance) and long tern effects on your health (diabetes, obesity, cardiac etc). If you are an amateur fighter that also works, then two a day training sessions may not be appropriate for you. If you do want to undertake two a day training sessions, you should consider a lunchtime high intensity session to augment your training or extending your evening training session. “Rise and Grind”  may be replaced by “Sleep in, and Win”.

What is the best time of day to spar, drill, run, lift weights or develop a fight strategy?
Studies show that we are generally at the peak of our cognitive performance between 09:00-12:00. This is the optimal time to work on things such as footwork, striking combinations and technical jiu jitsu or wrestling. Physical conditioning should be done between 16:00-19:00. Breaking it down into: Aerobic training is best completed between 16:00-17:30 with strength training between 17:30-19:00. Light sparing and fight conditions should be replicate at the same time as the fight. Employing this strategy at least 3 weeks out from a fight should be considered.

What supplements and multivitamins should I take?
For stress on the body and immune system, a vitamin B supplement each day is recommended to support the nervous system. Vitamin C, which is as an anti-oxidant and a zinc tablet to support repair of skin may also help.

Magnesium in the form of powder or a dissolvable magnesium tablet mixed in water to support absorption through the gut is recommended prior to sleep. (Warning!!! If you are taking magnesium, make sure you take it on a full stomach or with some food). If you don’t, you may develop stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to increase/support stage 3 sleep or deep sleep. This stage of sleeps supports physical repair and growth hormone release.

In the next blogpost we will look at caffeine and pre-workout !!!!!

Sleep well.

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