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The High Performance Journal

How To Recover Faster From Your Workouts

get lean Aug 01, 2023

The High Performance Journal​ - August 1st 2023


Hello friend,

Yesterday, I did a wake surfing lesson at my local lake. Wake surfing is where you ride the wake of the boat as if you would surfing the ocean. It looks like this:

5 Wakesurfing Boats That Deliver the Perfect Wave – Robb Report

This is not me :P

The session was tough. I was being pulled by this powerful boat and many times I landed on my face and ate water. But after many tries, I was finally able to get up and ride the wake (sort of).

After the surf session my adductors were screaming at me and this morning my body was sore from all of the new muscles that I used.

Being sore and tired from a workout is not fun. It's great to know you got a good workout but it feels like a hangover for the body. You just feel sluggish and out of sorts.

I need my body to recover fast so I can hit up my next workout so this article is on all the methods I'm using to make it happen.

Why Do You Want to Recover Faster?

Your recovery is just as important as your workout.

It's the time your body uses to adapt to the stress of exercise and where the real gains takes place.

A hard workout can cause changes in the body like muscle tissue breakdown, the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen), and fluid loss.

When you enhance your recovery, your body adapts better to the stresses you place upon it allowing you to become more fitter with the same workout intensity and frequency.

The whole concept of "when my competition is resting, I'm working out" is a false idol. Without enough recovery, your body won't repair itself and will continue to break itself down, which can lead to overtraining.

The goal of your recovery strategy should be to reduce the time it takes for your body to return back to baseline or better.

How to Recover Faster From Your Workouts

This will be split up into a few activities you can do to speed up the recovery process. Some of these will be passive and others will be active.

I broke them down into steps but you can treat them as activities to do anytime within the day of your post-workout process.

#1 - Post Workout Box Breathing

Doing a quick breathing exercise allows you to bring your body into a parasympathetic mode (aka. rest and digest mode). This helps your body prioritize recovery right after you're done a workout.

One of the best ways to do that is through Box Breathing:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor and close your eyes.
  2. Take five seconds to inhale, drawing the breath into your belly first and expanding it 360 degrees. Then fill your chest with air.
  3. Hold your breath for five seconds, and then take five seconds to let it out.
  4. Repeat for at least five minutes.

The best time to do this is right after you are done a workout to start the recovery process.

#2 - Eat a Meal with Protein & Carbohydrates

When you workout your muscles need protein to help build muscle mass and carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores used during the workout. The meal should aim for at least 0.8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight and 0.4g protein per kg 2-4 hours after your workout.

The protein I would eat is single-ingredient meats. If you're a vegan then you're opting for a protein shake or protein-rich legumes.

The carbs I would opt for would be fruits in the form of berries. Berries contain polyphenols, a group of plant-based antioxidants that are known for their ability to protect your cells from damage.

Polyphenols have the ability to help reduce muscle pain and reduce inflammation, which makes them an amazing post-workout snack.

#3 - Hydrate with Electrolytes

Water helps thin the blood while moving nutrients and oxygen through the body. It can help cell-repairing nutrients get to the recovered area faster.

Studies show that you can lose as much as 3 to 4 liters of water an hour depending on the type of exercise you do and your rate of sweating. Training in the heat can increase this rate by 10 to 20%.

This is why you want to keep a water bottle handy and drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water throughout the day.

A great way to increase your hydration is to add electrolytes to your water in the form of high-quality sea salt or powders like LMNT or Re-Lyte.

#4 - Active Recovery

Active recovery refers to performing low-intensity exercises during rest days. This can be in the form of walking, dynamic stretching, swimming, cycling, tai-chi, or any form of light movement.

This is a form of active recovery and has been shown to:

  • Reduce lactic acid buildup in the muscles
  • Increase blood flow to muscle tissue
  • Remove metabolic waste from the muscles
  • Reduce muscle tears and pain

Most people think that recovery is about sitting on the couch and doing nothing. That may help but one of the better ways to speed recovery is to perform some light movement to get your blood flowing.

#5 - Prioritize Sleep

As Dr. Matt Walker said in his famous Ted speech,

"Sleep is probably the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that few are abusing enough"

Without proper sleep, it will be difficult for your body to recover.

When you sleep your body releases hormones that are vital to recovery. Researchers have found that sleep promotes a surge of growth hormone that occurs every two hours in prolonged sleep.

Growth hormone promotes healing, recovery, and growth while helping raise other hormones like IGF-1, which are vital to the recovery process.

The 2 factors that support great sleep are quantity and quality.

You can find out how to improve both with this free report I created that you can grab here.

Bonus: Wear Compression Tights

Sometimes the right clothes can make all the difference. Something I've done to help enhance my recovery is wearing a pair of compression tights on my lower body.

New research has shown wearing high-quality, full-length sports compression tights for four hours after a leg resistance workout improves blood flow, recovery, and soreness.

One way it does this is by improving blood flow. Compressing the blood vessels in the body helps them pump blood more efficiently. This aids in muscle recovery by improving blood circulation to the affected area.

Compression gear also contributes to reduced muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue lessens the force with which the muscle can contract. This results in lower strength performance. By alleviating this fatigue, the muscle is able to better recover.

This is why you see football players as well as basketball players wearing compression gear while performing.

The compression tights I recommend are from Under Armour.

Putting It All Together

If it were a perfect world and I had all the time on the planet to enhance my recovery here's what I'd do:

  1. Start breathing exercises immediately when I'm done with a workout.
  2. Eat a meal with at least 30g of protein and 30-50g of carbs 2-4 hours post-workout.
  3. Hydrate right after the workout as well as throughout the day.
  4. Do a light walk or swim for 30-60 minutes on my rest days.
  5. Sleep like a champ every night til the next workout.

I'd do all these while wearing some form of compression gear under my clothes to enhance my recovery.

Congrats, You're On The Road To Recovery

Your recovery is just as important as your workout.

Remember, when you're doing an intense activity like weight training or, in my case wake surfing, the stress breaks down your muscles.

It is in the recovery process that we trigger your body to rebuild stronger tissue.

Don't put focus on one at the expense of the other.

You need both to build a healthy high-performing body.

- Dan

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