May 13, 2019 | By Will Gordon,

These days tons of people train hard, real hard.  Hard enough that just training hard no longer sets you apart by much!  One thing all the elite athletes do to set themselves apart from the masses is recovering equally as hard as they train.  It’s not just something people say to sound like they know what they’re talking about…it actually happens!

If you’ve plateaued with your workouts, want to add in some recovery techniques to see what happens, want to start doing the little extra things that can bring you to the next level, or just want to be less sore, this post is for you!  Below I’m going to highlight some of my favorite and most beneficial recovery techniques.  This is in no way a full list, and there is much debate still with regards to recovery, but these are some of the things I do regularly that help me consistently train at a high level!  These are all techniques you can do on your own, without a recovery center or professional help!
Yes they take some time, but just like we all know you can’t out work a crappy diet, you cant expect to just spend an hour working hard every day and get all the results you’ve ever dreamed of.

“Everyone wants to be a pro until they see what pros actually do.” – someone badass.

1) Warmup.  Spend time doing a longer warmup.  Most workout classes are structured around 1 hour classes.  That doesn’t leave a ton of time to warmup, develop/practice a skill or do strength work, hit a short/intense workout, and cool down.  Consider showing up early and spending an extra 20 minutes building into the movements for the day.  I typically like riding an air bike for 10-15 minutes, doing some shoulder activation work, some air squat maintenance, followed by a few sets of low intensity situps + pushups + goblet (or air) squats.  Then I hop into class already fairly warm and ready to rock!


2) Cool down.  Most people finish training and run out of the gym.  Try to build in an extra 10 minutes to actively lower your heart rate and bring your body temperature back down before you run for the door.  Hopping on an air bike or rower, or even just walking around while your heart rate lowers will have a huge benefit on the speed of your recovery and your soreness levels.


3) Supplements.  I typically take a carbohydrate recovery drink with some creatine after each session.  I have found over time that cheapest creatine you can find works fine, but I get a good carb supplement.  I use Endurox R4 and have for years.  It’s amazing and brings me back to life.  I’ve also found that FitAid works very well and has way less carbs (11g/can).


4) Ice baths.  I use ice baths to help offset some soreness and general fatigue.  Many will argue it has no acute benefits, but I find there to be a pretty consistent systemic benefit to my ice baths.  I’ll fill my tub with the coldest water I can get out of the faucet, then add 10-20lbs of ice, and hop in with the goal of 10 minutes.  If I’m feeling motivated I’ll push it to closer to 20 minutes.  It helps bring my body temp back down, really wakes you up, and just feels good…after you get over the initial shock.  If you can make it past the first 30-45 seconds it’s going to get easier!

5) Epsom salt baths.  I do these more regularly than ice baths.  I find it to be MUCH more enjoyable (in winter especially).  You can buy epsom salts in bulk and add them to a hot bath.  Mix the salts in and let them absorb, then hop in.  I try to go for 15 minutes give or take a little depending on how sweaty I get.  Grab a book and relax.


6) Cold showers.  The benefits of cold water are beginning to become more and more mainstream.  I try not to take hot showers and attempt to keep them to “warm” or cool-ish.  I don’t go super cold everyday because it is a bit annoying…but if you dedicate to these, they do get easier than you’d imagine.  The aliveness you feel from cold water is unmatched!


7) Constant movement.  This one is tricky if you’re stuck at a desk all day, but it’s still possible and it’s as basic as it gets.  Just move.  Set an alarm for every 15-20 minutes and take a 1-2 minute walk.  That’s it.  It doesn’t have to be crazy, just try not to sit for more than 30 minutes at a time.  (I’m nearing my limit just sitting here writing this!)  Keeping the blood flowing will help flush toxins and curb soreness levels.


8) Drink water.  A lot of it.  I try for a gallon (128 oz) a day.  I typically start with 48 oz first thing in the morning.  It helps me get ahead of my hydration for the day and it puts me in a position to succeed throughout each day.  Yes, water gets boring…but deal with it.  I don’t count water intake if it’s mixed with anything!


Some people will argue these techniques aren’t necessarily the best, but they do work.  Find what both works for you and is able for you to fit into your life regularly.  Don’t freak out if you miss a day here or there…it happens!  Just get back into your groove whenever you can and ride your motivational wave as long as you can!

Comment on your favorite recovery techniques and/or how these have worked for you!