Recovery 101

Work hard.  Train hard.  Play even harder.

If you live this kind of lifestyle, then you realize the necessity of proper recovery.  I will break it down simply into 5 easy steps:


1)  Cool Down =  5 – 20 minutes (depending on your workout) of light cardio, walking, or low intensity exercise can help you in many ways.  A cool down helps flush out lactic acid and hydrogen ions that would usually cause delayed onset muscle soreness.  This is the first step in a good recovery process.

2)  Eat =  Specifically, eat proper foods and in the right timeframe.  A combination of simple carbs and a protein source  must be ingested within 30 minutes post workout, preferably immediately afterwards.  PBJ, protein shake, turkey sandwich, or chocolate milk are common choices.  Eat another full meal within 2 hours as well.

3)  Stretch =

niceStretching is key for lengthening tissue and fascia, increasing range of motion, and decreasing risk for injury.  Static stretching after a workout combined with good deep breathing will increase blood flow, aid in muscle repair, and keep tissue lean and healthy.  Flexibility is essential for the athletes recovery.

4)  Massage = Combined with cool down, nutrition, and stretching, massage is the ultimate tool to aid in recovery.  Increasing circulation will allow blood and lymph to speed up recovery, flush toxins and metabolic wastes, and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to relax your mind and body.  Massage is also key for injury prevention and rehabilitation.  Depending on training intensity and consistency, an athlete can get a massage every week or, at least, once a month.  Self massage is also an option using foam rollers, tennis balls, and various other equipment.

Here is an excellent post on self myo-fascial release I wrote.  Check it out:

5)  Sleep = Pretty self explanatory.  Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

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Also, something I have personally been doing lately is swimming laps for recovery.   I usually swim around 500 meters at a slow, easy pace.  I find this loosens up my body and gets me ready for another day of training.  I also sleep like a baby.  Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Best in health,


About the Author

Todd Durkin, MA, is a world-renown trainer, coach, author and motivational keynote speaker who trains dozens of elite, high-profile NFL, MLB, and MMA athletes, including two Super Bowl MVP’s, one NFL League MVP, Olympic gold medalists, Heisman Trophy winners, and MMA champions. Todd is a 2-Time Trainer of the Year, the 2017 Jack LaLanne Award recipient, the 2018 Canfitpro International Presenter of the Year, a member of the Under Armour Training Team, and a Top-100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness.

Todd was a featured trainer on the popular TV show, NBC STRONG, which is now airing on Netflix. His award-winning gym, Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, is a Top-10 Gym in America and his 3 best-selling books, Get Your Mind Right, The WOW BOOK, and The IMPACT Body Plan, have both changed thousands of people’s lives. If you would like to get motivated and inspired now, you can pick these books up at, or if you would like a signed copy, please purchase at
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