My Top 10 Recovery Rules

Recovery can change your life…

I’d know because it changed mine.  

After lying motionless on a football field in France, I was left with only one option: Embrace the recovery world.

My time playing football ended with degenerative back disease, frightening disc issues, and a grueling treatment plan revolved around Vicodin and painkillers. In an attempt to avoid surgery, I embarked on a healing journey to repair my body without going under the knife (my wild recovery ride is documented in my book, the IMPACT! Body Plan).

My quest paid off as I managed to heal my back naturally thanks to the profound wisdom of recovery gurus around the world. I’ve since applied that knowledge to my own routine and the recovery rules below.

*View my Top Recovery Rules video that inspired this blog HERE.*

*View my Facebook LIVE on this topic — including Q&A — HERE.*

TD’s Top 10 Recovery Rules:

#1. Cycle Your Workouts:

You can’t always go hard. It’s a recipe for injury, regression, and pain, which are just a handful of the many agonizing symptoms associated with overtraining.

Split up your routine to avoid working the same body parts on consecutive days and be sure you’re mixing in a variety of exercises, modalities, and training tools.

#2. Commit To Active Recovery:

I suggest two active recovery days a week. Now active recovery doesn’t mean complete rest. Instead, focus on low-intensity activities like walking, yoga, meditation, and stretching.

These will encourage repair, regeneration, and recovery, without further muscle breakdown and energy expenditure.  

#3. Take Time Off Each Week:

Take one day off from all exercise per week. While active recovery is a great way to initiate recovery, your body does need time off (even if it doesn’t feel like it!).

During those rest days, be sure you’re eating right and fueling up on fluids for maximal recovery.

#4. Foam Roll Pre-Workout:

All it takes is five minutes before your workout to lengthen your fascia and soften hardened tissue. And let’s be honest: No recovery routine is complete without the efforts of a foam roll.

Hit your hips, glutes, IT bands, adductors, chest, lats, and back. I assure you, this minor commitment will pay major dividends.

#5. Stretch Before Bed:

Increase your flexibility and mobility with a short stretch sequence before hitting the hay. There’s no better time to lengthen and strengthen than right before bed.

Poses like Down Dog, Up Dog, Pigeon Pose, and Savasana (this one may actually put you to bed!!) will relax your mind and prep your body for major recovery as you start snoozing.

#6. Practice Breathwork and Meditation Daily:

There’s nothing better than quieting your mind, listening to your spirit, and tapping deep inside your soul. That is why I practice breathwork for three minutes every morning and three minutes every evening — and frankly, that’s all you need for success.

*Don’t get hung up on the word meditation; any quiet time with intention qualifies. So whether it’s through prayer, meditation, or breathwork, take three minutes minimum (more is better here!) twice a day for deep focus on YOU.

#7 Soft Tissue Work Is A Must:

I suggest receiving a massage or bodywork at least once a month. When it comes to soft tissue work, the more, the merrier!

Heck, my goal is always one massage/bodywork session per week.  

#8. Use Recovery Hacks & Tools:

Other elite recovery tools include infrared saunas, cryotherapy tanks, hyperbaric chambers, NormaTec boots, and the tool I busted out above during the Facebook LIVE linked above, the TheraGun.

The TheraGun is one of our most popular tools at Fitness Quest 10. A quick 10-minute session will work wonders!

#9. Sleep Is Crucial:

Did you know your phone has an OFF button?? Ditch your devices one hour before bed, invest in blackout curtains, find the right room temperature, read, and practice gratitude journaling for superior slumber.

It’s not the about the hours. It’s about the quality.

#10. Follow My Nutrition & Supplementation Tips:

As I mentioned in my Nutrition Tips blog, glutamine, protein, fish oil, and CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine are all excellent supplements to expedite recovery and amplify performance.

These are the techniques I practice, preach, and have endorsed for years. Invest time in recovery and you’ll be feeling and performing better than ever! #RecoveryRules

You can train hard and eat right, but if you do not recover, you’ll never be your best.

P.S. Just as I went deep on my recovery philosophies here, I also went deep on my Training Philosophies & Tips HERE. Huge thanks to my friends from CarnoSyn® for helping me out with this epic video to help you create your EDGE by fueling properly!

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 MVPs, 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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