The Athlete’s Guide To Recovery by Sage Roundtree

19 Dec
The Athlete's Guide To Recovery by Sage Roundtree

The Athlete’s Guide To Recovery

I am always amazed by cyclists and other endurance athletes who spend thousands of dollars buying the best equipment so they can get a competitive edge in their next race, but then neglect the steps necessary to help them recover faster after the event. A great bike ride doesn’t begin when you put your Lycra on—it actually started the moment finished your last ride. If you would like to improve your athletic performance I would highly recommend you buy a copy of The Athlete’s Guide To Recovery by Sage Roundtree (VeloPress, 2011).

This book is divided into three sections. The first section is rather short and deals with how we measure and define recovery. The second section is the heart of the book and deals with specific recovery techniques, such as nutrition, hydration, supplements, sleep, massage and other recovery aids. The third and final section discusses how to put all the pieces together.

One of the most valuable sections of the book is the one on Nutrition And Hydration (chapter 9). Most athletes have heard of the recovery window (AKA, the glycogen synthesis window). This window is the short period of time after exercise when, if you follow the right steps, your body can quickly absorb nutrients and give a jump-start to your recovery process. Consuming the right amounts of carbohydrates and protein after exercise will replenish your energy stores and help rebuild muscle fiber. I was surprised to find out that “female cyclists responded very differently than male cyclists when they ingested a recovery snack containing protein” after exercise. In addition, if you are a vegetarian you need to pay special attention to your protein intake since plant proteins are not digested the same way as animal proteins.

The section of the book on Technological Aids (chapter 13) discusses products like therapeutic ultrasound devices and electrostimulation (E-stim). A few years ago I bought both an ultrasound device and an E-stim unit and they make a world of difference in my recovery time. However, I know of very few cyclists who have invested in these devices—even though they are both cheaper than a good saddle.

If you suffer from muscle pain very often you are going to appreciate the section on Self-Massage (chapter 15). Not only does this chapter explain the importance of foam rollers and beaded sticks, but it shows you how to use them properly. You can buy a foam roller at most sporting good stores for around $30, and if you follow the instructions given in the book you can massage your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and IT bands and you will feel like a new person in just 15 minutes or so.

This paperback book is loaded with charts, graphs and tables (for my fellow visual learners). This book is very well documented and illustrated. There are some chapters that will probably tell you more than you want to know, but I am one of those people who likes to see authors “prove their work.”

Like most amateur cyclists, I’ve never had a coach or fitness instructor and everything I know about muscle recovery had to be learned the hard way. If I could have found a book like this ten years ago it would have saved me from a lot of grief and pain.

The Athlete’s Guide To Recovery is 248 pages long and retails for $19, but sells it for under $13. If I haven’t convinced you yet that you need this book, you can download a free preview of The Athlete’s Guide To Recovery from the VeloPress Website (see link the bottom of that page). The preview is a small PDF booklet that contains the table of contents, preface, and first chapter of the book, along with a few other sections.


Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Book Reviews, Sports Nutrition


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31 responses to “The Athlete’s Guide To Recovery by Sage Roundtree

  1. billgncs

    December 19, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    that’s interesting, it never occurred to me about acquiring those devices.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 19, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      I plan on reviewing both a therapeutic ultrasound device and an E-stim unit in the near future. You can buy them from and they don’t cost very much at all.

  2. stagewest

    December 19, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    I’d also emphasize that recovery (and training) are different beasts for the over 40 athlete and there is very little information out there about older athletes and even fewer coaches that have experience dealing with those of us getting on in years!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 19, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      I reluctantly admit them I am falling (or fell) into that category of “older athlete” — on the other hand, I perform and recover better now than I did 11 years ago (back when I was a couch potato).

  3. xcountrypearl

    December 19, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Thank you for the info! Am definitely going to look up that book. Looking forward to your reviews of the technological assists to athletic recovery.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 19, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      I bought the units from, but asked my chiropractor to give me a lesson on how to use the properly — they both work great!

  4. Sarah C

    December 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Nice overview. I’d heard about this book probably a year ago, but never got around to picking it up. May have to put it onto my reading list!

  5. Jessi

    December 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Love reading about the science side of it. Sounds like a good book.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      I think you would really like this book then! While anyone can profit from it, those who like to see documentation will benefit most from it.

  6. maria

    December 19, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    The book looks interesting, and I probably needed to read it. have been over-training. When I had physiotherapy, they used both the ultrasound and the e-stim, and they seemed to help, I wasn’t aware of the fact that these were available for “home” use. As an “older” athlete myself, I probably should look into getting something like that to help with the aches & pains.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 19, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      The cost of the ultrasound and e-stim units is unbelievably low — and both are very easy to use (but I’d ask a professional about the best one to use whatever one you purchase).

  7. ironphysicaltherapy

    December 19, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    As a physical therapist, I don’t recommend home ultrasound and estim units without proper evaluation and diagnosis. For example, you may be self treating pain felt in your knee when the real problem is your hip. To provide a clinical example, I’m currently treating several professional runners for whom I’ve yet to use (and do not plan to use) estim or ultrasound. Why? Because their problems required very skilled care; joint mobilization, scar tissue management with Active Release and Graston techniques, corrective movements and making changes to training regiment. Don’t chase the pain with ultrasound and estim as they are only a small piece of the rehab puzzle if at all. See a good practitioner for a couple sessions, it’ll be well worth it.

    – Train hard, train smart

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 19, 2012 at 9:50 PM

      You are right! Unless it is a “repeat problem” I always let a professional (my chiropractor) diagnose the problem first. he is the same guy who showed me ow to use the e-stim unit. My podiatrist is the one who showed me how to use the ultrasound.

  8. Colin DeWaay

    December 19, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    It’s like the guy who’s never played racquetball in his life but runs out and buys the most expensive racquet he can find so he’ll play better. How about your learn how to do it first! haha

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 19, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      You’ve got that right! I’ve seen guys on $6,000 road bikes who can’t even clip in.

      • Colin DeWaay

        December 19, 2012 at 10:05 PM

        I’m sure it made them much better riders. LOL

  9. maria

    December 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Based on your review here, I just bought the book :) I already have a couple of books on training for a century, which I want to do next year (at least a metric century), but this book will probably prove to be one of the better training tool for it :)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 20, 2012 at 12:03 AM

      Please let me know what you think of the book after you’ve read it!

      • maria

        December 20, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        Will do so.

  10. Gerry

    December 20, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Very timely post. I’ve had this book on my wish list for a few weeks now, after Coach told me about it. Training starts for real January 1st, so I’ll try and get this delivered before then. And hey, I hope you aren’t referring to me when you write about “endurance athletes who spend thousands of dollars buying the best equipment so they can get a competitive edge in their next race, but then neglect the steps necessary to help them recover faster after the event”…although I can’t really blame you after my last few posts ;-)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      You will like the book. As for the people I was talking about, “the names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

      • Gerry

        December 20, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        I thought as much ;-) I’ll be getting that book in time for the new season.

  11. Irene

    December 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    This is often what I forget after a marathon. Hope I will be able to get this book for Xmas present :)

  12. Molly

    December 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Thanks for the review. I’m going to look for it now. Paying attention to rest days and recovering is something I usually overlook.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      During the summer I seldom took a day off from riding — it really caught up with my by September — my average speed fell and I didn’t even feel like riding. A few days off cured that.

  13. oneluckiegirl

    December 24, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    You always have the best athlete stuff on your site! Thanks for taking the time to use/read the items you review. You have no idea how much I value your site and your reviews!
    Oh, and because of you and your “All Seasons” cycling mantra, I have ventured out into the cold and rain. Yep, 50 degrees and downpours in Phoenix. ( I know, I know, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT COLD IS! And I wish to keep it that way!)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 24, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      Thank you so much — that was very kind of you! I imagine that fifty degrees with rain in Phoenix is a near-death experience for most of the residents. Ride safely!

  14. jewelsonajourney

    January 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    I can’t wait to pick up this book! I am learning so much on your site! Thank you!


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