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Aug 19, 2020

Key Recovery Tips For An Athlete After A Tough Training Session


Key Recovery Tips For An Athlete After A Tough Training Session

Recovery encompasses more than just muscle repair. Recovery refers to the techniques and actions taken to maximize your body’s repair. It includes hydration, nutrition, posture, heat, ice, stretching, self-myofascial release, stress management, compression, and time spent standing/ sitting/ lying down. Recovery involves chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state, and much more.


Recovery is as important as training!

Post-exercise recovery is a vital component of the overall exercise training paradigm, and essential for high-level performance and continuous improvement. If the rate of recovery is appropriate, higher training volumes and higher intensities are possible without the detrimental effects of overtraining.


A recovery points system is great because

  • It improves adherence as it makes recovery more fun than just being told to do a list of things.
  • Scores can be documented.
  • It educates about the relative importance of each recovery method.

A major misconception is when people think recovery is all about compression, ice baths, etc. when in reality, nutrition and sleep are far more important for recovery than these things; hence they are worth more points. Accumulate 40 points within 24 hour of intense activity. This applies to anyone who had a hard /intense training session or people playing sports on a game day or a HIIT session Each of the activities on the infographic carries a point value, and don’t forget to mix it up and bring some variety into your recovery program. The daily total reveals whether you are paying adequate attention to your physical and mental recovery needs.



Times to emphasize recovery

  • for the 48hrs after games and also in the 24hrs before games (to minimize any residual fatigue)
  • tournament style competitions
  • during very intense training blocks


Times to NOT over-do recovery

  • after every semi-hard session pre-season

This is because some recovery methods can also hinder adaptations to training, e.g. routine use of ice baths post weight training has been shown to hinder hypertrophy and strength gains. In terms of instructions, for athletes, this may be ideal: Aim to accumulate 40 points in the 24hrs post every self-perceived hard training session you do, and after every game in-season.


Elements of Rest and Recovery

A balanced combination of rest and recovery along with proper diet and exercise should be a part of any fitness regimen. Unless you are competing at an advanced level, you should follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your time can be spent focusing on diet and exercise, while twenty percent should be left for enjoying life. In other words, don’t let yourself get too wrapped up in perfection.


1. Sleep

Adequate levels of sleep provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. 8hours+ sleep helps with recovery after an intense training session. Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyle, workouts, and genetic makeup.


2. Hydration

Drinking adequate amounts of water is critical to health, recovery, and performance. Athletes tend to be very attentive to hydration. Keeping this awareness during training and recovery times can make a large impact.


3. Nutrition

Taking adequate meal within 1-hour post training consisting of fluid, protein [20g from women and 30g for men] and carbs plays an important role in recovery. Eating clean and following balanced meal plans is proven to be effective to remain healthy and increase performance.


4. Posture

This is one of the least focused points in recovery. If you struggle to sit upright use a foam roller or ball in your back to give you a tactile cue and help force good posture.


5. Stretching

You need considerable flexibility to move well and remain pain-free. Include dynamic stretching in your warm-ups while saving static stretching for after your workouts.

Dedicating additional time primarily to sleep, hydration, and nutrition will increase your output ability and decrease recovery time.


Optimizing Recovery

Consistency with recovery methods goes hand in hand with the consistency of training. Think of it as a cumulative effect. Recovery methods enhance your body’s ability to deal with the effects of mechanical stress and muscle breakdown. Your body will recognize the effects of your training and know-how to respond effectively to optimize recovery. Our bodies are creatures of habit, they will develop habits to protect themselves by recovering from stress placed on them and we have a number of ways in which we can enhance our body’s natural recovery methods. We need a daily reminder and a checklist to make sure we are balanced in our fitness goals. Optimizing recovery in sport and fitness is of paramount importance particularly if the aim is to push harder towards fitness goals. Recovery is often overlooked because it is not as flashy as squatting 200kg and being able to post it on Instagram!


The big bang for your buck is getting proper sleep and getting the right nutrition in. Even other methods of recovery like foam rolling, wearing compression garments overnight or getting a massage will help, but not as much as the nutrition and sleep does. So next time after doing a hard training session, ask yourself - “Are you accumulating 40 points for a good recovery” especially after a back-back hard sessions. This will be key to recover smooth and progress better.


Recovery is a crucial element of physical preparation. Wondering how to pull this off? Stronglife’s best fitness experts in Point Cook can help you work out a customized personal training program tailored to your health goals. Get in touch!

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