Is your athlete ready to train or compete with the highest possible energy stores right now? Is your athlete’s recovery routine (rest and nutrition) sufficiently replenishing his/her energy stores? Understanding your athlete’s energy stores and recovery can help you make individualized training, nutrition and recovery recommendations to optimize performance. The MuscleSound methodology provides insight to better understand the ever-changing effects of training, competition, nutrition, rest and recovery on the individual athlete. Strategically scheduled ultrasound muscle scan sessions are the key component of the MuscleSound methodology and provide this insight by checking your athlete’s readiness and confirming his/her recovery routines.
Checking your athlete’s readiness is important before key workouts and big games. Checking readiness is as simple as taking a pre-training or pre-competition muscle scan and comparing the scores to the athlete’s target scan scores. The best time to check readiness is two to three hours before competition to allow adequate time to boost the athlete’s glycogen content levels if the athlete’s levels are low.
- Conduct pre-game scan session (indicator muscle only) two to three hours before exercise or competition.
- If scores are on target, the athlete is ready for performance.
- If scores are low, a high-glycemic boost can be recommended.
- If the athlete needs a boost, a follow-up scan 45 minutes before competition will validate the nutritional response.
Below is real-life example of the check readiness process. The athlete came in 3 hours before an intense work out to ensure proper glycogen stores for maximal performance. In this case, the score of the indicator muscle is slightly below target but in a normal range, so a good recommendation would be either a bagel with peanut butter, a milk based fruit smoothie, yogurt with a granola bar, or sports a drink /bar.
If the score was really low, then a larger well-balanced meal is recommended. An example would be a soft tortilla wrap with egg and sausage or oatmeal with skim milk.
As the demands of the season wear on, it is important to regularly check in and validate that the athlete’s recovery routine is sufficiently replenishing glycogen stores to optimize performance and prevent injury. Confirming recovery gives an indication of how well the athlete’s body is handling the mechanical load of training and competition. By confirming recovery, you can gather imperative data about your athlete. For example, is the athlete getting enough rest? Or is supplemental training getting in the way of full recovery? Is the athlete consuming enough carbohydrates to top off his/her fuel tank? Confirming recovery is as simple as capturing two muscle scan sessions, and is most effective when done immediately after a difficult or fully depleting effort.
- Conduct post-exercise/game scan session (all muscles).
- Athlete executes recommended nutrition and rest routine.
- Next Day: Conduct pre-exercise/game scan session (all muscles).
- Annotate anything abnormal to the athlete’s routine (diet or sleep differences)
- If the scores don’t recover, tweak the routine or look for signs of muscle damage.
Below is an example of two scans sessions to confirm recovery. On 4/22 the athlete lifted and ran tempo sprints with a high-intensity depleting workout. Immediate following exercise the athlete was scanned on both left and right calf and quad muscles. The following day on 4/23 the athlete was scanned to ensure that the muscles had fully replenished. Glycogen scores on the Left RF and Right GS indicate that the athlete’s recovery routine is sufficient to replenish glycogen.
If the scores did not recover then further investigation would be required to determine if the athlete has muscle damage and/or if the athlete needs to get better fueling post competition.