Staying Healthy at Gaming Conventions and Tournaments – Guide part 2

We touched on preparation and healthy daytime habits in part 1 of our guide on how you can stay healthy at a gaming convention or tournament.

After-parties & End of the Day Recovery

Alright we have properly prepared for the trip and know what to do during the day to stay healthy. Now for what we know happens at every convention yet we often fail to prepare for it. The end of the day but also the… AFTERPARTIES. In this section I will be going over the following:

  1. Recovery Exercises for a full day of Activity
  2. Tools for Recovery
  3. Considerations with Sleep
  4. Afterparties and Hangovers

Recovery Exercises for a full day of activity

Whether we are at a convention or a tournament – we are typically subjecting our bodies to different types of physical stress:

  • Walking all day
  • Standing in line
  • Sitting competing in a tournament or watching a match
  • Dancing at an afterparty?
  • And more

Each of these activities affect different parts of our bodies so it is important for us to “undo” the stress of these activities with some exercises at the end of the day. That means some stretches and even activation exercises if we have been sitting most of the day. So here are some quick reference exercises you guys can perform based on what you have been doing most of the day at these gaming events

Walking &
Standing in Line
Sitting to Competing Sitting to Watch

Hamstring Stretching

Psoas Stretch

Calf Stretching (no arms)

Anti Sitting Routine

Foam Rolling Routine

6 Minute Post-Stretch

Anti-Sitting Routine

As a bonus you can even warm-up before your day with this routine 🙂

Tools for Recovery at a Gaming Convention

There are a lot of tools we can use or bring with us (if they are portable enough) for physical recovery. I’ll be going over some of my favorite ones here and maybe in another article Jake and I will go over in-depth recovery tools which might not be as portable.

Compression Sleeves

Let’s start with something easy: compression wear. This means compression forearm sleeves, long-sleeve shirts and even short/long pants. The purpose of these compression sleeves and the technology I will be suggesting in the next subsection is to improve recovery through accelerated nutrient delivery and metabolite removal. The compression also helps to reduce post-exercise swelling and can facilitate the reduction of DOMS. What is great about compression sleeves is that they are easy to pack but how and when should we use them?

1HP RX: For recovery it is best recommended immediately after your activity and of course depending on your schedule it might vary per person. For those at twitchcon or at a convention it might mean after your dinner meetings or even while you are sleeping since many of us attend after-parties at conventions. (reference article) For those who are playing or sitting at tournaments – right when you are finished playing or watching the tournament can be a good time to put on your compression gear (when you get to the hotel for convenience). You can wear it as long as you want but typically the longer is better. Aim for > 30 minutes if possible 🙂

Self-Massage

Self massage is another great tool for recovery or if you are a big baller you can hire a private masseuse to come to your hotel and work on you post-event. For most of us who aren’t as financially fortunate we can leverage some nice portable tools to massage some of the muscle groups we use the most.

One of the routines I included above was a foam-rolling routine by Caitlin. I’ve also written an article going over how foam rolling works and some ways you can roll muscles surrounding the lower back and legs.

1HP RX: Bring yourself a portable foam-roller and massage the muscles you utilize frequently when you are out and about. For walking it is typically your calves and legs. For sitting it is a lot of the muscles referenced in my article and in Caitlin’s video.

Additionally one of the more interesting pieces of technology I’ve come across recently are portable leg compression sleeves which can help not only with travel recovery but again with those who have walked/sat a lot throughout the day at these gaming events. I have worked with spryng to test the impact of their technology with a few of the professional teams I have worked with who have only had positive things to say about its impact on recovery. For those interested – I believe you can pre-order these however if you want to learn more check out their website here. 

What about sleep at gaming conventions and tournaments?

Sleep as Caitlin already mentioned is extremely important during travel and as Jake will touch later on it is crucial for our recovery. It is a topic we have covered in some depth during our podcast episode about travel and gaming health but to provide you guys with some quick tips – here are the main things you should consider with sleep while traveling.

Get enough sleep at a tournament or convention

Another place for us to mention how important sleep is for the recovery of all our physiologic systems at the end of the day. It is truly how we re-charge at the end of each day and we should truly treat it as a way to recover from all of the stress we are enduring at these events. As Cait mentioned it will likely be difficult for you to maintain your regular sleeping schedule but it is truly about how well you prepare for your schedule. The main recommendation should be:

1HP RX: Plan for 7-8 hours of lights-out, phone-down, time in bed. This allows for 6-7.5 hours of sleep–enough to keep your brain and immune system happy. Ideally it would be in 9 hours TIB 7.5-8 hours of sleep if possible but we know how difficult it might be with afterparties, stress of competition, and many more factors.

Sleep Hygiene Routine

As we have mentioned in the podcast episode Caitlin and I each have different routines at night when it comes to preparing for bed. Most recently my routine has been

  1. 30 Minutes before bed take 1 mg Melatonin 
  2. Perform 10 Minute stretching routine to undo stress from the day
  3. Quick mental review of my day and plans for the next day
  4. Wash-up, lights off and get in bed to sleep 🙂

While yours might not be the same – do your best to at least incorporate a regular “power down” schedule for yourself. Journaling is something I have done sporadically in the past but have always felt the positive impacts of it.

After Parties and Hangovers at Gaming conventions and tournaments

While many articles about gaming conventions and traveling focus on what we can do to better prepare for the activities during the day not many touch on what we know EVERYONE does after the events: After-parties.

The first thing I want to quickly describe the physiology of a hang-over and the effects of alcohol so we can make better suggestions for how you can prevent a hangover. One of my best friends is a connoisseur of products to take to help with the hangover recovery process so I will be making some supplemental recommendations per his expertise.

So let’s try to keep this simple and talk about what happens when we consume alcohol

  1. Our liver processes nutrients and toxins before entering our bloodstream for removal or to be used by specific systems in our body
  2. Alcohol (Ethanol) in the liver is first broken down into Acetylaldehyde
  3. Then an enzyme + an important compound known as Glutathione combines with Acetylaldehyde to be excreted in our urine.
  4. Glutathione becomes depleted as we continue to consume alcohol

What is important to consider is the Acetylaldehyde – this is the product which builds up as glutathione is used up in the liver to help detoxify alcohol. The build-up of this compound has been associated with all of the common hangover symptoms we experience (headache, nausea, etc.)

Ok so acetylaldehyde is a major issue but another important thing we have to consider is the dehydrating effects of alcohol. To keep things simple – alcohol is a diuretic meaning you will be peeing out more water than you will be taking in. With less water in the body, other organs in the body tend to take water from the brain causing it to shrink and lead to headaches.

Now we know two of the larger effects of alcohol and how they relate to hangovers and what we feel. Now for what we do!

1HP RX: 5 quick tips for hangover management and prevention

  1. Before you go out prepare a hydrating drink for yourself to consume right before you hit the bed. The routine we suggest is to pour Hydrant (the lime version) or any other hydrating solution into a water bottle, mix it up and keep it bedside for you to drink right before bed. This can help to prevent further dehydration as you sleep and process more of the alcohol
  2. Eat some oily foods prior to alcohol consumption. Why? Oily foods can line the stomach slowing the absorption of alcohol and allowing the glutathione depletion to be slowed. Aka less buildup of the bad chemical
  3. Drink water throughout the night – Ideally for every one drink of alcohol drink a glass of water to “balance it out” or rehydrate yourself as you lose water from the diuretic nature of alcohol
  4. Bring some aspirin since it can help prevent the release of a compound known as prostaglandin contributing to hangovers.
  5. Lastly the most important thing – know your limit. All of these can be helpful to minimize hangover but the most important tip of all is to be able to control yourself as you throw back those white claws. If it is your first time drinking, take it slow and don’t go overboard.

Now that we’ve gone over hangover recovery let’s touch on recovery from multiple perspectives after a gaming event.

Recovery from a Gaming Convention or Tournament

Jake here! Now it’s the end of the event and you’ve had a great time in part thanks to your preparation, day-time prevention, and night-time prevention as discussed earlier in the article. Due to most events, you are probably a little sleep deprived, stressed, and/or maybe a little hungover. No matter how you feel, it’s really important to take the time to focus on recovery immediately after the event and over the course of the next couple of days. 

In this section I will be going over recovery strategies to improve recovery after an event: 

  1. Physical activity 
  2. Nutrition 
  3. Sleep

Physical activity for Post-Event Recovery

After an event, physical activity may be the last thing you want to do. However, I’m only recommending that you do some light to moderate intensity physical activity 2-3 days after the event. The reason I recommend low to moderate intensity activity is because it has been shown to reduce mental and physical fatigue up to 65% according to research. Plus it’ll help improve your mood and improve sleep quality which is very important for recovery after a stressful event. 

Some low to moderate intensity physical activities I’d recommend are: 

  • Brisk walking (preferably outdoors) 
  • Yoga 
    • You can find lots of great yoga workouts for free via YouTube

My advice is to avoid higher intensity workouts 2-3 days after events. The reason for this is the event causes a lot of mental and physical stress so doing a strenuous workout when you have been under these conditions (not to mention traveling) can lead to more problems like pain, injury, and a messed up schedule. So wait to get back to your hard workouts until you’ve fully recovered from the event. 

1HP RX: The key takeaway is that you’re doing some physical activity that’s low to moderate for at least 30 minutes a day. It’s best to break up your physical activity throughout the day if possible so aim to get some in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It can be as simple as going for a walk. Otherwise doing no activity can potentially hurt the recovery process meaning it’ll take longer till you’re back to 100 percent. 

Nutrition after a Gaming Tournament or Convention

Ideally, you have been able to stay hydrated throughout the event especially since it can have a big impact on your cognitive performance. But after the event it’s just as important to stay hydrated for optimal recovery.

1HP RX: Drink plenty of water or other fluids like milk (chocolate milks my favorite), tea, coconut water, or related alternative. Avoid sugary drinks. Keep your electrolytes up particularly potassium which can be found in a variety of foods such as bananas

Along with staying hydrated, opt to eat healthy food options. Sometimes after an event when we don’t feel the best we choose unhealthy foods to relieve our stress. Aim to avoid artificial and processed foods and eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean meats. These will provide the essential nutrients needed to effectively recover from the event. 

1HP RX: Eat some healthy foods and stay hydrated to recover much faster post-event. Here are some healthy food examples to put on your plate!

  • Avocados 
  • Blueberries 
  • Honey 
  • Garlic 
  • Greek yogurt 
  • Bananas
  • Chicken noodle soup 
  • Salmon 
  • Fruit/veggie smoothies

Sleep for Recovery Post-Event

The last topic we will be going over is sleep. Sleep is crucial for recovery as it’s the period where you body and mind can rejuvenate itself, repair, and grow. Here are some recovery guidelines for sleep after an event: 

  • Aim for 7-9 hours per night (this should always be the guideline) 
  • If needed you can take power naps of 20 minutes between 1-3pm (if you’re severely sleep deprived shoot for a 90 minute nap) 

Also, It’s important to find some downtime after the event! I recommend taking a day or two away from gaming. 

If you can’t do this, at least try to eliminate playing before bed to avoid blue light and cognitive stress. This will help improve your sleep quality after the event. After you’ve got some quality sleep for 2-3 days and taken time away from gaming, you can start to get back in the swing of things upping your training volume again to get ready for your next one.


And that is all everyone. Hope you guys enjoyed this complete guide by the 1HP Team. We will be coming out with more of these in the future 🙂 Until then..

Adios!

 

 

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