Unfortunately, one of the most overlooked aspects of any physique transformation is optimising your recovery process. You might have heard the saying: “you don’t grow in the gym, you grow outside the gym”
Well, this is true! You probably spend hours worrying about whether or not your workout routine is perfect, so why not spend some time on also making your recovery routine, (which is arguably more important), perfect too?!?
Here are 3 scientifically proven ways to improve your recovery and thus reach your physique goals faster!
1. Sleep More!
Sleep needs to be the top priority when it comes to improving your recovery. Check out or blog on How To Improve Sleep!
Poor sleep can lead to increased disease risk, poor health, increased fat storage, slowed muscle growth and decreased performance in many aspects of life. (Goel et al., 2013; Luyster et al., 2013; Cedernaes et al., 2015).
The more sleep you get each night, the more you can improve your recovery and speed up your results. If you are not currently getting 7 to 8 hours every night, that should be your first priority. Some, however, may need more sleep (i.e. 9 or 10 hours every night).
Taking small naps of 30 min or less during the day can also be beneficial! I will often set a timer for 20 minutes on my phone and get as much sleep as possible in that time. Without fail, I wake up feeling more awake, more alert and ready to continue with my day with a high level of intensity.
2. Stress Less!
The modern day lifestyle has made stress virtually unavoidable. So instead of trying to avoid stress at all costs, embrace the fact that there will always be stress present but change your attitude toward it. This can quickly improve your positivity and productivity.
I also highly recommend clients participate in at least one activity each day that provides relaxation. Do this when you first wake up to improve your mood for the day or in the evening before you go to bed.
Here are just a few great ways to relax:
Listening to music
Creating a “gratitude journal” where you write down everything you are thankful for each day.
Reading a book
Try to find something that works for you and consistently take as little as 10 minutes out of your day for yourself. I guarantee it will help you take control of your stress levels in no time.
3. Optimise Your Post Workout Routine
Some individuals tend to live by the idea of the 'anabolic window' as if it were the Bible, where, if they don’t get a protein shake within 15 minutes of training the entire workout was wasted. This is simply not true.
While I don’ t think that it is necessary to pick up a protein shake as soon as you finish your last rep, I do believe that, according to the research, you should consume some kind of post-workout nutrition within 30-60 minutes of completing your training, in order to optimise your recovery.
If your main goal is athletic performance or creating a physique (burning body fat), the optimal post- workout meal would be 30-50g of a fast-digesting source of protein like whey (or if you don't like this, I'd recommend a lean protein source like white fish, chicken or 5% mince meat) and about 30-50g of carbohydrates (which help with the facilitation process of taking proteins to muscle tissue) like white rice, sweet potato or white potato.
If your main goal is to lose fat, adding carbs into your pre and post workout meals on training days and taking them out of meals that aren't placed around your workouts is a sure fire way of maximising fat loss as your body will then utilise the carbohydrates you are ingesting. Below is how I encourage clients to set up their meals on training days:
If training in the morning:
Breakfast - Protein, Carbs and Veg
Lunch - Protein, Fats and Veg
Dinner/Post-Workout - Protein, Carbs, Fats and Veg
If training in the evening:Breakfast - Protein, Fats and Veg
Lunch - Protein, Fats, Carbs and Veg
Dinner/Post-Workout - Protein, Carbs and Veg