There a million ways to workout. There are even more reasons why we workout. There are, however, a much fewer number of ways to recover. Despite the general understanding of recovery (e.g. eat, sleep, rest), most people are skeptical/lazy/unsure of how to optimize their restoration.

If you are invested in muscle growth/development, you too must be invested in recovery. I have explored a number of enhancements, tricks, and tips that I find useful and I would like to share some of my favorites.


Sleep

  • These are the things I do for ensuring a good night’s rest/recovery:
  • ZMA
    • ZMA is a sleep supplement taken roughly an hour before bed. ZMA not only helps induce a deep sleep but also improves muscle recovery and increases strength using Zinc.
  • 60 Minute “unplug”
    • I  have implemented a “no technology bed buffer” an hour before I go to sleep.
    • That means no TV, phone scrolling, and web browsing which all have been proven to impede restful sleep.
    • This hour buffer not only naturally prepares me for sleep, but also allows me to meal prep, catch up on reading, stretch, etc.
  • Stretch
    • Stretching is always beneficial, but if done in the evening, the release of muscle tension can stimulate sleep and blood circulation.
    • When stretching, I focus on hamstrings, quads, hips, and shoulders.
    • More on how I stretch later.

Foam Roll/Self-Massage

  • “Rolling out” is a quick and effective way to reduce lactic acid, break up scar tissue, and increase mobility. 
  • Rollers can range in price, intensity, focus, and size, I would recommend starting simple and upgrade as needed.
  • I use the following tools depending on where/what I am doing: 
    • Foam “Rumble Roller”
      • Location: Gym
      • These rollers serve as an excellent way to warm up before your workout and help relieve sore muscles at the end.
      • I would recommend the Rumble Roller to those experienced with high-intensity rollers vs. the Trigger point roller which offer a low/medium intensity
    • Massage Stick
      • Location: Bedroom/TV Room
      • These massage sticks offer the convenience of a roller without the effort and space needed to make it practical.
      •  I roll out anytime I am watching TV or getting ready for bed
        • Another useful “roller stick” is The R8– Medium to high intensity
    • Foot roller
      • Location: Office
      • I spend most of my days sitting/standing at my desk. The foot roller offers an excellent way to massage your feet/improve your arch while remaining relatively stationary.

Nutrition

  • There is a lot to say about nutrition in regards to recovery and overall health; however, I want to avoid the over-analysis and keep it simple. Here are some recipes, tools, and guidelines that I follow(ed) and can help guide your own nutritional journey.
    • Please do your own supplement research, but this is what worked for me.
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Snapshot of my morning BulletProof station
  • Bulletproof coffee
    • I drink Bulletproof every morning because BP offers the perfect blend of caffeine, protein, and healthy fats on the go.
      • An added benefit is that BP eliminates the monotonous effort of making breakfast.
    • My recipe is:
      • 2 tbsp of Ghee butter, 2 tbsp of coconut oil, 2 scoops of protein, 1 tsp of MCT oil.
  • Pure WOD Protein
    • I use Pure WOD Protein in my BP Coffee and post workout mixer.
    • After testing/using countless proteins, both the chocolate and vanilla proteins are by far my favorite.
    • The simple ingredients and delicious flavors make PUREWOD a winning combination for any protein users.
  • Ketogenic diet 
    • The first and only diet I have followed.
    • Although I no longer follow a strict keto follower, I have adopted the Keto principals (high fat/low carb).
  •  Bullet Proof Diet
    • In my opinion, a more manageable diet. BP follows the high-fat and low-carb principals inspired by Keto but welcomes more carbs.
    • Founder of BP, David Asprey, has a fascinating story and mission
  • Low carb diet recipes 
    • Ruled.me is an excellent blog that provides easy-to-make low carb recipes for every meal of the day.
  • Joule Sous Vis 
    • An easy way to improve your daily meals from college student dining to professional chef
    • Tim Ferris agrees!
  • Juice Plus
    • Another daily supplement I take to ensure a balanced nutritional diet.
    • Juice Plus helps bridge the gap between I should be eating and what I actually eat regarding fruits and veggies.
    • Provides the nutrients of 30+ fruits and vegetables into a capsule form.
    • JP is clinically supported by over 30 institutions.

Cryotherapy

  • Cryotherapy treatment has become a trendy recovery tool for professional athletes, post-surgery patients, and the in-the-know fitness community.
  • Cryo has been my preferred recovery treatment for the last year. 
  • Personal conclusions (Thanks to my friends at The Performist in Palo Alto):
  • Cryo accelerated my recovery and minimized soreness.
  • Cryo alleviated my knee joint pain and bicep tendonitis.
  • Cryo is a powerful kick starter for my day/workout.
    1. Every Friday @6AM I workout with my Performist friends. Before we get “weird” in the gym, we take a quick freeze.
    2. Thanks to cryo’s natural endorphin release, it serves as an excellent “pre-workout.”

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ROMWOD

  • “Range of Motion Work Out of the Day,”
  • ROMWOD is a daily streaming service that provides guided videos to improve your flexibility and range of motion.
  • Despite a strange name, ROMWOD is one of my favorite recovery routines.
    • I enjoy ROMWOD so much, my excitement was confused for sarcasm. 

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  • Reasons I ROMWOD:
  • ROMWOD fits into my regular work schedule.
    • Each session is only ~20 minutes.
  • The routines are simple yet effective.
    • There are no more than 8 poses each time. All poses are challenging but also offer stretching exercises for flexibility beginners.
    • After a month of daily practice, my range of motion was noticeably increased in my regular workouts.
  • Cost-effective
    • Although ROMWOD charges a small subscription fee (~$13), this is cheaper than a weekly yoga class.
      • You also benefit from stretching in the comfort and convenience of your own home/time.
    • ROMWOD has also decreased my need for massage saving me +$100 each month.

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In conclusion

  • No matter your exercise level, there are 4 pillars of recovery:
    1. Sleep
    2. Nutrition
    3. Treatment
    4. Flexibility/Range of Motion
  • If you are invested in your health and fitness, recovery is just as important.
  • Each pillar will require equal time and effort. It would be like only doing chest workouts and no back, equal distribution is a must.
  • Take the time to decide what are you looking to achieve. Are you looking for a more energized day? Recover from an injury? Add muscle? Lose weight? Once you have decided what you are looking to accomplish, research how to get there.
  • This list is only a taste of what is out there. There are so many recovery options out there to optimize your training.
  • Hopefully, this can inspire you to improve your own recovery efforts and explore others. Good luck!

  • How do you promote recovery?
  • Have you benefited from something not mentioned?
  • Are you curious about learning more about one of the tips, tools, and tricks discussed?
  • Feel free to share/ask!
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