The area of sports recovery has taken on a new lease of life in recent years and become much more sophisticated. A number of years ago, wheelie bin ice baths became the norm at training sessions.
But that has now moved on with a more professional approach and Paul Gallagher, a member of the Donegal Masters team, has brought it to a new level with his Flash Recovery Lounge in Derrybeg.
Having a degree in Sports and Leisure, Paul took a big decision to open his own business last November on the site of the former Cladyknit factory premises and he now caters for all people who wish to aid their recovery. As he puts it: "You should be thinking about your recovery before your next training session to be ready for that session, or before your next match, to be 100% ready for that match by getting the body refreshed and back to your best performance level."
The motivation for setting up the business came from his own personal experience, having the normal aches and pains when playing for his club and for Donegal Masters and listening to other players and sportspeople from different walks of life.
"I did some research and visited a number a recovery centres that opened up in places like Armagh, Tullamore, Cork, Maynooth and contacted other centres further afield to gained some insight and knowledge of the running these facilities. As I have a background in Sports and Leisure, it was as if I was coming 360 degrees, back to where I started.
"So I put a business plan together and got a place and got set up and then worked on getting myself re-educated, understanding player requirements, etc."
The new business is not just a recovery lounge as Paul describes it as "a health and wellbeing Hub in the North West. We have a resident physio and a resident reflexologist with daily clinics".
The arrival of Covid-19 did have an effect on the business which had to close its doors for three months from March. "It was hard to get a start up business off the ground and we were getting ready for the pre-season of many sports when we had to close like many others But we have been working hard coping with the new regulations and have protocols in place. .
"It is very much a case of educating people about using the facility, the need for active recovery to be done, not just passive. We are educating people about getting Recovery Sessions into their training plan and the recovery becomes part of the routine. That message then gets out to the bigger masses," said Paul, who mentions well-known names like Michael Black, Gavin Crawford, Nikita Burke having used the facility on Monday of this week, while the newly crowned Seven Sisters event winner Shaun Stewart is a regular user while others like Sean McFadden and Ultra 555 competitor Colin Richardson are also among the clientele.
But it is not just about top level sportspeople. The facility is being used by all sports and people competing at all levels, from gaa teams, soccer, teams, ladies gaa teams, hurling teams and athletics & cycling participants coming through the doors even if it is only walking. "People are coming in just to recover from aches and pains and that helps in many ways, for the mind and the body, thus an investment in their own welling," says Paul.
The premises also catered for classes in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, HIIT, circuits, boxercise, JuJitsu, etc and it is hoped that those will all return in the future. "Most instructors rent the space and all Covid protocols are in place. We have a fogging machine which disinfects all areas every morning and night."
Teams also use the facility as they are part of a bubble and they would have the place to themselves. "This is sometimes used for team bonding after a match; it's a different dynamic and can be good craic. We also have clusters of boys that train together," said Paul.
The main recovery programme would include foam rolling, spinning on bike, then on to the wet area with an ice bath at 4 degrees (three times as cold as the sea) for 10 minutes; a jacuzzi at 40 degrees; infrared sauna and 20 minutes in compression boots (while watching Sky Sports or TG4). The Lounge is open 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm. It would make you want to get in there.
Dáire Ó Baoill
What sportspeople and GAA lads in particular mistake is they think recovery sessions are for the injured, though that does help. It focuses more on your recovery time guaranteeing that you are ready for the next training session or championship match where you need to be at your 100% best. Since I brought this recovery session into my routine I’ve felt the benefits feeling refreshed and ready go again. It's great to have Flash Recovery Lounge here in Derrybeg and a great facility to have on our doorstep.
I’ve been using Flash Recovery Lounge since last November for before and after heavy training sessions and now for before and after club championship matches. The cold water and hot water therapy works well for my general aches and pains and the compression boots leave you feeling fresh and ready to go at it again. I have managed to find the time to get this 1 hour recovery session into my routine pre match and post match and feel the benefits for sure.
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