Clement Golliet: “Recovery”

The role of recovery is to help the athlete adapt faster to the training. It will prevent the risk of over training, burnout and overuse injuries which are common issues for high performance athletes and even more for young athletes. It is therefore very important to detect the stress response from the training, even more so when undertaking high volumes of training.

Written by: Clement Golliet


***Clement Golliet is the newly appointed Director of ACE Fitness and is overseeing the fitness component of all ACE Tennis High Performance programs, is the Head Trainer at Toronto Tennis City and ACE Burlington, and offers private and group fitness sessions for ACE and OTA players as required. Clement’s mandate is to help build the new ACE Fitness brand and to offer leading edge training for tennis players in Ontario.

Clement has a Bachelors of Kinesiology from the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) and possesses various certifications in the areas of private training, spinning, T-Rx, performance, and reconditioning. A former high level basketball player and bodybuilder, Clement also has his French Federation Level 3 in kayaking. Before coming to Toronto to work with ACE Fitness, Clement was a personal trainer, fitness, strength, and conditioning coach at Sporting Club Sanctuaire in Montreal for tennis, basketball, and track running. Clement also has professional training in Clinical rehabilitation and experience as a sports teacher in Switzerland.

If you have any questions for Clement, he can be reached here.***


Recovery is one of the main components of the planning of sports training during the season and it is the key to keeping the athlete at an optimum physical shape over a certain period of time.

The role of recovery is to help the athlete adapt faster to the training. It will prevent the risk of over training, burnout and overuse injuries which are common issues for high performance athletes and even more for young athletes. It is therefore very important to detect the stress response from the training, even more so when undertaking high volumes of training.

To better understand, one has to become familiar with the concept of overcompensation which involves several distinct elements. As the graphic below shows, the volume and intensity of training causes an amount of fatigue (Phase I). After the recovery period (compensation), which involves restoration of the metabolic change, structural change takes place (Phase II). We are talking of overcompensation when compensation passes the normal biological state, which means an increase in protein synthesis (Phase III).

If no stress (stimulus) is imposed after these phases, the adaptation effect comes back at the normal biological state – this is what is called the involution (Phase IV).

Overtraining occurs when the stimulus is applied too early during Phase I or II – this is going to create added fatigue, even more so if it occurs when below the normal biological state. If the stress (stimulus) is applied too often with a bad timing and on a regular basis, it can lead to overuse, injuries and possibly illness.

On the other hand, if the stimulus is applied during Phase III (overcompensation), the body will react and create fatigue and thereafter will be back over the normal biological state. Every time stress is applied when coupled with proper rest the normal biological state level increases. For a high level athlete it is harder to increase the biological state because they already are in good physical shape. So training frequency needs to be increased but with the right timing. Accuracy is a fundamental component.

Beginners or young athletes do not need as much stress as high level athletes. For them, there is room for improvement though the workload and volume are not as important as for the high level athletes (such as Olympic athletes).

Recommended recovery time after work out

  • Recommended time after plyometric training is 48-72 hours
  • Recommended time after speed is 24 hours
  • Recommended time after maximal strength is 48 hours
  • Recommended time after lactic anaerobic endurance is 48 -72 hours.
  • Recommended time after alactic anaerobic endurance is 48 hours
  • Recommended time after general endurance is 48 hours
  • Recommended time after explosive strength is 24-28 hours
  • Recommended time after ability practice is 6 hours

Rest days are essential at least one day per week. It means no training at all. This is important for physical and psychological recovery and for balancing other interests such as family. It is always better to go for a walk, golf, shopping – and avoid any physical activity such as a basketball game etc…

Recommended techniques to help recovery

  • Immersion in water: water should range from 10 to 15 degrees C – if colder and for long periods, there is a risk of damaging soft tissues. Recommended time is 10-15 minutes maximum for the whole body. If longer periods, the water will need to be warmer to accommodate the athlete’s comfort. It has been proven that water below 20 degree C increases the heart rate and blood pressure and can be used for soft tissue injuries by reducing swelling. Cold water acts as an analgesic.
  • Cold water immersion for the legs immediately after training or a game by using short exposure with several reps easy to do and effective.
  • In hot water, temperature range should be from 34 to 38 degrees C. Hot water involves a change in circulatory, pulmonary, renal and musculoskeletal systems with the whole body immersion.
  • Cold to warm water (alternating both) has been shown to be effective to accelerate metabolic activity as there is a faster clearance of blood lactate and creatine kinase through an increase in the muscle blood flow. For inexperienced persons, it is recommended to do short exposures from 30 to 60 seconds with a moderate temperature range, i.e. from 15 degrees C for cold immersion and 38 degrees C for warm immersion with 3 repetitions finishing with cold water.
  • Spa can be used as a hot environment and can have the same effects as warm water but exposures for a long time can leave the user feeling lethargic and flat. The use of spas should be avoided if the athlete has had any recent soft tissue injuries.
  • Sauna can be used but is not the best choice and is not recommended for young athletes under 15 years old because if the player is dehydrated after a long game, it can have a very bad effect on heath and performance.
  • Showering 10 to 45 minutes after the end of a game or practice can help recovery and physiological state.
  • A cool down with active low cardio rest with breathing relaxation exercises and passive stretching (not too deep: 10 to 15 seconds) helps a lot and is very effective to relax the skeletal muscles.
  • Ice pack can be used in tender spots and is very easy to use.
  • Nutrition is very important and plays a significant part in the recovery: the timing and the sequencing of food and liquids are decisive, such as the post-workout intake of mix of proteins and carbohydrates (with a ratio of 1 for 3). It is equally important to regulate eating habits. I will come back to this point in later communication.
  • Having a good night of sleep of 7 to 9 hours helps adaptation time to adjust to the physical neurological, immunological and emotional stressors that are used during the day. Moreover, melatonin is a hormone released during the sleep that regulates the circadian timing system and is essential in the duty to recharge the immune system. Too much or too little sleep can impede the athlete’s performance because this hormone can be disrupted. Too much sleep can slow down the central nervous system activation and increase levels of melatonin and lead to poor performance.
  • Sports massage can reduce sensations of muscle soreness.
  • Acupuncture can relax skeletal muscles.

To conclude, resting is a decisive part of the planning of the athlete’s training. If not used correctly, it can lead the athlete to over training and injuries and impede a good athlete to perform at their maximal potential. In other words, sport performance is all about accuracy and having the right timing and has no room for random training. By this I mean work hard, but smartly.

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