Member of Team USA Weightlifting and two-time World Weightlifting Championships silver medalist Mattie Rogers has been posting much more regularly to her YouTube channel since lockdown started, and in her latest video she decided to share how she recovers from a tough training day while recovering from a tough training day. That means that she delivered a Q&A in the middle of a 15-minute ice bath.
Check out the entire process of acquiring ice, getting situated in an ice bath, and answering the internet’s probing questions below:
[Related: Learn the cold hard truths about ice baths and muscle recovery.]
I’m going to show you how I’ve been recovering during the quarantine without access to all my regular stuff; the little tricks and things that I do to basically survive the week as best as I can.
Rogers first sets out to find the “sketchy ice vending machine” nearby and recommends that others find the one in their area because it is much cheaper — only $2 per bag — than purchasing ice from a store. In Rogers’ case, the machine is the size of a small cottage.
Upon returning, she dumped four bags into a hundred gallon tub with some water.
“I don’t know the temperature. I’ve never measured it, but it’s cold.”
How often do you take ice baths?
“I’ll do this about three times a week. I know it’s a little bit conflicted for some people about how well ice baths work for recovery. I, personally, love them. If anything, they make my joints a little bit less achey. There’s a really big difference between going into a training session the next day… not recovered … versus … [taking an] ice bath, stretch[ing], and being as recovered as I can be.”
Rogers sat in the ice bath with the water up to her chest. She mentioned that she usually will only spend the last five minutes of the bath fully submerged up to her neck. In addition to the ice baths for recovery, Rogers also gets a weekly massage, routine appointments with her physical therapist, and occasional cupping therapy.
What are things you were not prepared for when you became a professional lifter?
Rogers describes having to make her own path in the sport because “there wasn’t anybody really well known” when she first started.
“It’s not like I was following in someone’s footsteps. It was kind of unknown territory for a weightlifter to gain notoriety outside of the sport.”
What does a full day of eating [for you] look like?
Rogers confesses that she is currently behind on her meals before pulling a mason jar of chocolate milk from out of nowhere and says:
“When I’m done with this, I still have three meals left. I follow RP Strength.”
For those unfamiliar, RP Strength is the Renaissance Periodization diet which plans the meals for a particular day, the macros for each meal (adjusted for training intensity), and meal timing. For Rogers, who stands five foot seven inches and is moving to the -76kg weight class, that means six meals a day plus intra-training shakes that amount to approximately 4,500 to 5,000 calories a day.
“Right now since I’m still gaining, I definitely still rely on drinking a lot of my calories. I’ve been trying to gain since about September…it’s been a constant caloric surplus.”
How do you manage fatigue and overtraining?
“That’s a hard one.”
At the beginning of her weightlifting career, she paid more mind to avoiding overtraining. She was acquiring “newbie gains” and did not feel the affects of fatigue in any significant way.
“Eventually, I hit that wall that every athlete hits at some point. And understanding that not every day is going to be max effort.”
Rogers current training is “3-on, 1-off”, which consists of three weeks of heavy training followed by a one week deload.
[Related: Mattie Rogers and Katherine Nye Open Up About Olympic Games Postponement.]
How do you mentally psych yourself up on off days?
This question is a bit confusing at first. It isn’t referring to rest days, but rather days where Rogers might be distracted or off mentally that would deter her training.
She had to make significant adjustments to her training both due to the quarantine and the news about the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games until 2021.
“Training in my garage was a weird adjustment. Sometimes having a little bit of extra caffeine will really help.”
Rogers doesn’t take pre workout and mentions that she is sensitive to caffeine.
What is the best way to maintain strength in quarantine with limited equipment?
“Step one is accepting that you’re probably going to lose something. It’s like people who can’t get their hair done right now. They’re just accepting that ‘I’m going to be a little bit uglier and then once it’s all over, we can get back to normal.’ There’s plenty of bodyweight stuff you can do. You can get pretty creative. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.”
Is it hard to train every day for a living?
Rogers expresses her gratitude to have the opportunity to do what she does for a living, but shares the stress that comes along with having to commit fully to the sport.
“It’s a hard thing to balance. The way I sleep, the way I eat, all of that is very much part of my job.”
Rogers’ alarm goes off, signaling the ice bath is over. She pops out, chats through some other products she will use sometimes such as a therapy gun, a graston tool (muscle scraper), and a foam roller. She also shared her use of lotions and fingerless mittens to care for the skin on her hands which can tear during training.
Rogers’ Q&A from her ice bath pulled the curtain back on how world class weightlifters not only need to train hard, but recover hard. Being a full time weightlifter seems to be as much of a lifestyle as it is a job. Hopefully, Rogers can continue to keep her spirits high and her ice baths cold for duration the quarantine.
Feature image from Mattie Rogers’ YouTube channel.