The Optimal Recovery Cheat Sheet
Whether you train hard in the gym or on the mats, optimal recovery should be your top priority..
“You’re not over-training, you’re under-recovering”
Life is busy, and for may of us finding an hour or two to squeeze in some exercise in our day is challenge enough
You race from appointment to appointment.. Getting caught in traffic.. Hustling through your domestic chores so you can get dinner cooked and spend some time with your partner or family
If you manage to get to the gym or to a BJJ class and smash out a hard session you’re doing well.. The issue is that many of us don’t invest the small amount of extra energy to maximise our return on the training itself
I’m talking about the stuff you do outside of the gym..
I could write for days about this.. And for our Tribe members and private students we go on about this shit all the time (it’s why they’re such weapons)
I want to keep it quick so that you can action this immediately and start seeing some big gains..
So here are my big 5
You’re probably not getting enough of this. Additionally, the quality may not be great.. Here are some simple guidelines:
- 7-8 hours per night. If you have the luxury, get an extra hour for every hour you train hard that day
- Darkness. As in complete black. Get some block-out curtains (will cost you $180 odd bucks from Ikea) and turn off any clocks or electrical devices with LEDs
- Use a sleep mask. Not only do you look really good in one, it will block out any extra ambient light (like when your partner comes to bed late and wants to troll instagram right next to you). I bought a cheap one online from here
- Dose up on magnesium after dinner. Magnesium is essential for hundreds of bodily functions and will help your muscles and nervous system relax. I use this brand
- No blue light for 1 hour before bed. No iPhones, iPads or laptops. If you insist on doing so you can get glasses that block out blue light (a devastating look when combined with sleep mask)
- Read a book.. Something fictitious, or story based is best. It will take your mind to another place and help lull you off to sleep. Keep your personal finance book for the daytime
This is a whole discussion in itself, but i will keep it brief and hit just the most important points:
- Eat a wide variety of vegetables, hefty doses of quality fat, and plenty of protein. Thats good quality fat which could come from avocado, olive oil, fatty fish, fatty cuts of meat, coconut oil, butter etc. These three macronutrients should form the basis of your meals. General proportions = as much veg as you can handle + as much fat as you can handle + palm sized piece of protein. This is good fat for cooking with
- Keep sugar to a minimum, but if you do try to have it around training times. Definitely stay away from sugar before bed
- Avoid alcohol, especially in the evening. Even one drink will block your production of Growth Hormone which primarily aids in recovery. It might allow you to get to sleep quicker initially but once your body starts processing those sugars it will wake you up and disturb your sleep all night. If you must do it, do it as early in the evening as you can and stick to one or two drinks only
- Minimum 2 litres per day. If the weather is hot and/or you’re training hard, add another litre or two on top of that. Seriously if your wiz ain’t clear then you’re not getting enough water. I use filtered water personally and i add a small pinch of Himalayan rock salt and a squeeze of lime to my 2litre bottle to remineralise it. Try it, its the goods.
Not necessarily essential however i consider them pretty damn essential for someone who has a busy lifestyle, lives in the modern world and is always looking for gains. My go to’s are:
- Magnesium (as mentioned above). Post breakfast and dinner, sometimes after lunch too if i’ve had a particularly sweaty training session
- Whey protein Isolate. I use BareBlends WPI post training with water for quick digestion, and 180Nutrition for mid afternoon when i get peckish right before teaching evening classes. I will use WPI for a month or so, and then i tend to shift towards a rice based protein just to give my gut a rest from all that Whey (there’s science somewhere here but basically i don’t like consuming the one processed food for long period of time). For brown rice protein i like Sun Warrior
- Turmeric supplements to help with training inflammation.. Like everyone i get plenty of niggles, some more serious than others. I use a couple of different turmeric supplements that are 100% natural and help reduce inflammation (and won’t fuck up your liver like Voltaren will). Primal Collective make a great turmeric supplement which is use almost daily post lunch or breakfast. For times when shits more serious and i need turbocharging i will go with this product from Meriva
- Movement is king when it comes to recovery.. Have you ever noticed how when you’re sore from some heavy training and you show back up to class and get moving again all of a sudden you don’t feel so sore anymore? The best way to get your body flushing out the lactic acid and other bi-products left over from your training is to get those muscles working again. You want to push fresh blood and nutrients into those guys and movement is how you do it.. Don’t go super heavy and hard again, but get those muscles working and you will see how fast your recovery is
- Do some light sets after your heavy sets. If you’re strength training like us and doing lots of low-rep, high-load sets, you should add in some higher rep accessory sets after your strength work. These accessory sets will serve as mentioned above – pushing blood into the working tissues and speeding up recovery. ie. after your 5 sets of 2-4 rep weighted pull ups, do 3 sets of 8-12 ring rows, bent over rows, or any similar pulling movement that isn’t so heavy.
- Move all day.. Don’t restrict this part to the gym. You’ll notice that on the days post training when you sit down at your desk for a while, you will feel REALLY stiff when you get up and move again.. Try to keep moving. Squat in your cubicle.. Stretch your lats against the wall while you make a phone call.. Sit in a seiza position while you eat lunch.. There are plenty of options when you start to look for them
OH YEAH.. AND ONE BONUS ONE
- Don’t read your fucking emails before you get into bed.. There is always fires to be put out in that inbox, so save them until the next day when you can actually put them out
If you feel like you’re not currently getting the most out of your training program i have an offer for you –
A FREE 45min Strength and Movement consult, valued at $120
All you need to do is hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and i will get in touch personally to book in a time to chat
Happy training amigo