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Female Athlete Nutrition

Sep 30, 2021

In this episode I chat with Associate Professor and exercise scientist Dr Shona Halson on all things recovery to optimize health, performance, and training adaptation. She defines recovery as bringing the body physically and psychologically back to homeostasis, balancing out the stressors. Dr Halson advises us to plan recovery into our schedule alongside training, and periodize fatigue with the season of training to drive adaptation. She emphasizes that the good stuff happens when we rest and recover!

Shona explains the recovery pyramid and offers up plenty of top recovery tips: sleep and nutrition form the base, followed by mental recovery, and then topped off with recovery modalities like ice baths and compression techniques. We all must learn to embrace sleep flexibility, accepting that we’re not going to be able to get the “optimal” 8hours every night, especially around race day: anxiety is not going to lead to better sleep!

Shona sorts fact from fiction around popular recovery modalities: ice baths, compression garments, water immersion, contrast bathing, massage and foam rolling. She gives advice on recovery frequency and periodization around training and competition to maximize adaption and peak performance.

We discuss the signs and symptoms of overtraining syndrome versus under-recovering: mood changes, fatigue, increased effort perception, soreness, injuries, and decreased performance that indicate athletes’ aren’t recovering adequately to the demands of training and life. Dr Halson highlights the importance of listening to our bodies: no fancy technology can indicate our recovery status better than our own feelings of tiredness!

Follow Shona on Instagram @shonahalson and Twitter @ShonaHalson 

Learn more about Shona’s work

Shona’s Official Bio

Dr Shona Halson is an Associate Professor at the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University. Previously, Shona was a Senior Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport for 15 years. Shona has a PhD in Exercise Physiology and has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of sleep, recovery, fatigue and travel. Shona is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, and Shona was selected as the Director of the Australian Olympic Committees Recovery Centre for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Shona consults regularly to world’s leading brands including Nike and the Australian Open Tennis Tournament.

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