7 Recovery Tips from Hard Workouts

Check out these tips for recovery after a tough workout so that you can get back quicker to the sport that you love.

Lets face it—if you’re gonna workout long and hard, you are going to have to recover to get back in the game.

In today’s fast paced society where we sleep less and are frantically trying to keep up with technology, smart phones and traffic it is hard to find time to rest and relax and just chill out.

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#1 WATER: You need to drink a minimum of 32 ounces of water daily.

If you workout hard and sweat—you need even more.

Keep a half liter bottle with you as you walk around during the day and take it to the gym with you.

Keep sipping so that you stay hydrated.

A good rule is to drink 7 to 10 oz. of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes while working out.

If it is hotter out then up that amount.

It only takes as little as a 2% reduction of fluid to decrease your performance by as much as 10 to 20 percent.

However, be aware that you can over-hydrate. You want to keep your body continually hydrated over the entire day. Drinking too much water in one go can cause what’s called “hyponatremia”, or “water intoxication”. Also called “water poisoning”.

If you drink too much water in one go, your body’s sodium levels drop to a dangerous level.

Question: What is a good addition to water that I can use for endurance workouts and events?

We like the Nuun Hydrating Electrolyte Tablets

These are easy to carry with you in a small pack and you can add to your water bottle as you run, hike or bike.

I have used these on multi-day endurance bike races and they have worked well.


Question: Coach Brad; you have ridden 350 mile mountain bike races – how do you keep going after the first 24 hours?

Answer: I make sure to take in enough fuel to keep me going the long distance.

This past year I used Infinit Nutrition GO FAR Nutritional Drink and I don’t have all the ups and downs that you have with eating goos and bars.

#2 SLEEP: Many of us do not get enough sleep


If you’re an athlete you need even more to repair your body.

If you are getting 6 hours you are depriving your body of crucial recovery time.

Especially as an athlete after working out hard.

Go to bed earlier and get that extra 1 to 2 hours that you need.

Turn off the TV and all blue screens a half hour before you sleep.

Read a positive mental toughness for 5 to 15 minutes as you wind down.

I like to listen to the Dreamcatcher audios on Youtube while sleeping.

#3 EAT CLEAN: After a tough workout you want to put clean fuel in your body

rest1 Skip the cheeseburgers and pizza and instead go for lean meats, fish and greens.

If you put bad fuel in your body you will only get poor recovery and results.

Think about putting cheap fuel in a race car like a Porsche.

It will sputter and the spark plugs will be fouled and it will overheat and be on the side of the road.

As a food supplement we like to use coconut oil in our daily coffee as a good fat to help give us energy for the long haul.

Question: How can I learn more about eating healthy and clean and improving my performance?

Check out the book The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf.

This book will give you great ideas on how to eat better and improve your quality of life.

I have used several tips in this book to improve my nutrition and drop a few extra pounds of fat this past year before race season.

#4 FOAM ROLL: You can roll before a workout or after and concentrate on specific areas

top 10 foam rollers_thumbWe use the roller to self-massage to release muscle tightness and help your muscles return quicker to normal function.

A good example is that I like to roll out my back and legs after a heavy dead lift workout.

Question: What is a good durable foam roller that will not break the bank?

We like the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller as it is a great value dollar for dollar.

You can find cheaper rollers but they will not last as long or give you as good of a self massage as this one.

We have this roller in our home garage gym and use it often and it has stood up to the long haul.

Check out this video with Eliot on how to foam roll.

#5 YOGA: This is one of the most underestimated styles of working out

crossfit stretch

You can lower your stress level, lengthen your muscles and clean out excess toxins all in a half hour yoga session.

You can do it anywhere in your garage, bedroom or even in your driveway.

I like to do hot yoga at a local studio and it helps loosen up my lower back after a long bike ride.

Just doing 5 or 10 minutes of yoga before you go to bed will help you considerably.

#6 BOX BREATHING: Deep breathing is essential in yoga

It is not just the static stretching aspect.

Breath deep to get oxygen deep into the lungs to recharge your body and help repair it.

You can deliberately calm your mind almost immediately by box breathing.

You can box breathe anywhere before or after a workout.

I like to use box breathing before and after a hard workout.

#7 ACTIVE RECOVERY: Walk for 30 minutes in your neighborhood or go on a hike in the hills

concept 2 model d rower reviews

I personally like to walk my dogs in the forest on off days and it helps clear my mind.

If you have access to a C2 rower then row at 50% effort for 20 to 30 minutes.

Swimming is also a great recovery workout to relax all of the muscles and get you in a different environment.

Last but not least get a workout sled and drag or pull with weight.

#8 SUPPLEMENTS: We don’t use a lot of supplements as we try to eat clean and in moderation first

mct oilIf we do use supplements it is fish oil, and 100% Pure Premium MCT Oil With Lauric Acid.

I keep this oil right next to my coffee maker and use a small tablespoon daily.

Question: I’ve hit a huge wall in my training. I got mono and haven’t been able to exercise for about two months now. It was pretty disappointing because previous to the sickness I was at a peak in my performance. I’m estimated to recover enough to train in about 2-3 weeks. Since it’s getting close now I wanted to ask you how I should come back. I assume I should take it easy at first and then build…but how slow should I progress to avoid injury? How long does it take muscle strength and endurance to fade? Have you had to come back from an injury or sickness before and can give me any tips?

Answer: Yes; I have had surgery on both of my wrist which had me not working out for months. The best advice is to start back at 25% effort and each week work your way up. Depending on the injury and your physical condition this could take weeks, or months. My wrist injury took me a year to recover fully and be back at full speed.

Check out this article by Dr.Mark Jenkins of Rice University with regard to prevention of injuries.

Question: I have a slight issue. My doctor told me that I am not able to run or do weight bearing exercise for awhile until they get my bone scan results back to see if I have a fracture in my foot. It has been causing me problems for awhile and I basically ignored until I couldn’t anymore. I have been riding the bike at the gym, using the rower, swimming, and doing upper body and abdominal things for the last two weeks. If you have any other things that I can do I would welcome the input.

Answer: Jessica, I hope you recover soon. If you can swim and it does not cause any pain then that is what I would do to help you recover.

Question: Hey Coach, my question is: how do you find (or create) the energy needed to power through a workout after a long-day at work?
Thanks for your time,

Answer: Corey, good question.
Personally I use coffee to help me get over the hump and into a workout. I also visualize my goals for a few seconds and then I breathe in deep through the nose and out through the mouth. Those three things (caffeine, visualization and deep breathing) are a good start on re-energizing your workout. I would also look further into your current nutrition and use of sugar and processed carbs.

Question: I’m 40 and starting to get back into shape. For the last year I’ve made some serious life changes, I found your channel and bought the SGPT 365 workout program and I’ve lost 55 pounds and working out with calisthenics every other day. Thank you!


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After a hard workout, do you wait until you are 100% recovered to do another workout? Or do you hit another hard one if you are 90% recovered but still a little stiff and sore? At my current fitness level it take me 3 full rest days to recover from a 30 minute bodyweight workout, so maybe I should wait three full days between workouts and always wait until I’m 100% recovered? Any advice is appreciated! Best,  Jonathan VE

If you feel tired and sore your heart rate variability is probably elevated. If you get good quality sleep, hydration and nutrition you can lower your HRV and be ready for your next workout.

If your sore that’s a good indicator to rest or do another type of workout that may help those muscles recover faster – like bike riding or rowing
I use the whoop strap to help me figure out when next to workout

Question: Coach Brad; what is a good resource to find out more about sleep and mental health?

Answer: There are several places to read up on the subject. One of the best are based on studies at Harvard.

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