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One of the questions we get the most is "How do I improve recovery from workouts so I can make more gains?" 

This is a GREAT question because recovery is one of the most important processes in getting stronger, more mobile, faster, bigger and better. Workouts are great. But you need to RECOVER from them to make your gains. 

 

 

What Is Recovery?

Recovery is when your body adapts to whatever stimulus you put on it. So for example, if you did a strength workout, recovery is when your body responds by actually getting stronger. If you did a workout focusing on muscle gain, recovery is when your body takes the time to actually improve your muscle mass. It's what allows us to actually get better!

 

Why Do We Need Recovery?

Recovery is one of the most important factors when it comes to your gains.  When you train, you're training because you want to make gains and improve something like strength, speed, power, mobility, muscle mass, or body composition. Those things don't get improved during the actual session, though. They get improved when you recover. As one of my mentors, Jess Banda, said, "you don't make your gains in the gym. You make your gains when you are napping on the couch and when you eat dinner"

That means your workout is kind of like ordering a package from Amazon. When you workout, you signal that you want gains just like when you press "checkout" on Amazon, you signal that you want something. But you actually GET your package when it gets delivered just like you actually GET your gains when you recover. Your "workout" is the "checkout" button.  But your recovery is when you see that beautiful sight of the FedEx truck in front of your house and the carrier dropping off your package. That's what you REALLY want. 

 

How Do We Recover?

There are A LOT of different methods but you can generally break them down into 2 main categories:

 

Things you put in your mouth: 

  1. Breathing

    You probably thought food would be first (I hope) but it's not. You'll die sooner without oxygen. Breathing isn't really an optimal recovery method. But breathing doesn't just keep you from dying, it has benefits for recovery as well! The way you breath can get you more jacked up to go perform well in your workout and it can help you wind down to relax after your workout. If you aren't using breathing for recovery yet, you'll definitely want to look into it! A great source to look into would be Wim Hof.

  2. Food

    This one isn't really optional. I am 99.9 percent certain that you will die without food. Because of that reason, it's one of the recovery elements you should put the most energy into. You have to do it anyway so you might as well! When it comes to food, we are big advocates of organic meats, lots of vegetables and fruits, and enough filtered water. For the food section of recovery, this will provide the biggest bang for your buck and time spent on it. 

  3. Supplements

    These also go in your mouth and are a great addition once you have your food set. Here, you can add in whatever you may need more of from the "food" section. Most people will benefit from adding in Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin D, and a Multi-Vitamin. 

 

Things you do in your bed:

  1. Sleep

    This one is similar to breathing and eating. You'll actually die without this one. Not as fast as breathing, but it will eventually happen. So next time your friend tells you that they can "sleep when they're dead", tell them that they'll be there soon if they don't get to sleep! Improving sleep recovery has two main components which are sleep quantity and sleep quality. You should strive to improve both based on what you need.

     
  2. Naps

    Naps are sleeps awesome little sibling. After you get your sleep in order, you should look to see if you can add naps to your recovery. Naps are small bouts of sleep that let you engage in a bit of recovery throughout the day. For just a few minutes, you can improve your work quality, your gains, your productivity, your mood, and MORE. If you ain't nappin, you slackin. So get on it after you get your sleep in line.

     
  3. Mediation

    Similar to sleep, meditation is also a powerful recovery too. While it doesn't necessarily have to be done in bed, it's close to sleeping and napping and it provides many of the same benefits. Mediating for 20 minutes has been shown to have great benefits for people who get into it but even just a few minutes can be beneficial if you are willing to work at it. This one is a life investment that will improve everything else you do and it's one of those things you'll regret not learning earlier. So add meditation to your recovery once you have sleeping in order. 

 

Now there are plenty of other methods for recovery out there, but most of them are versions of these 6 you see here. For example, you may get an IV of nutrients that is similar to supplements or food. Or you may spend some time in an oxygenated chamber which improves your breathing. You might spend some time in a float tank which is provides similar benefits to sleeping and napping. Or you may enjoy a walk outside in nature with no cellphone which is sort of like meditation.

The point is that most of these recovery methods are versions of the earlier mentioned 6. So start with those then branch off as needed if you require more. If you add the main ones, however, you'll likely gain enough to drastically improve your recovery and get yourself making more gains. 

 

Pick one of the six and spend the next two weeks trying to improve them somehow then once it's a habit, add another one. In short time, you'll be feeling better than ever and making all the gains you worked for!