How to Recover Quicker Between Workouts
I’ve been getting a lot of replies to my tweets from people who are really struggling with their recovery between workouts. In this blog post I’m going to talk about everything related to recovery and how you can optimize yours so you recover faster between your workouts. Lets get into it…
1. Eat more protein
You’re simply not eating enough protein. A lot of guys either underestimate or overestimate how much protein they need and the correct amount of protein you need is 1g per lb of body weight. This will provide you with enough protein to recover properly between your workouts and build new muscle tissue throughout your training program. Always remember that protein is the building block of muscle. Without you won’t get bigger and stronger in the gym and you’ll be left feeling sore for longer after your workouts with a low protein intake.
The following foods are very high in protein: steak, turkey, lamb, chicken, pork, cottage cheese, tuna and salmon. If you don’t have the time to cook meals that contain these foods then investing in protein supplements such as whey and casein will prove very valuable as they will ensure that you hit your protein requirements despite being busy and not having much time to dedicate to cooking every day.
2. Do dynamic stretches and foam rolling on your rest days
Dynamic stretches are great for increasing the range of motion at stiff joints such as your hips after heavy leg days. Foam rolling is basically a personal massage without you blowing your bank account by going to a massage therapist. At first you will find foam rolling painful however it’s worth it. There’s no other way for me to say it but you just have to do it and embrace the tightness you’ll feel whilst foam rolling each body part. This is a necessary part of the process of releasing built up muscle tension and stress that has accumulated after your workouts through a process called “myofascial release”. You’ll feel a renewed sense of mobility and ease of movement after doing this and your range of motion, particularly in your hips, will be much better for exercises like squats and deadlifts. Not to forget the increased blood flow and circulation to the major muscles of your body such as your quads and glutes.
3. Train each body part more frequently
This is the beauty of full body training splits. When you train each body part more than once per week (three times per week if you do three full body workouts) you spike a process called muscle protein synthesis more frequently. This will improve your rate of recovery since your muscles are being stimulated more frequently throughout the week and your muscles ability to recover improves tenfold. This means reduced soreness and more gains for you. Compare this to only training each body part once per week and you’ll quickly realize (or may have already realized) that you experience muscle soreness for much longer and more intensely. Your legs after a squat day are sore for 2-3 days rather than just one day. Not good if you have another full body workout or leg workout in the next 2-3 days.
4. Go for walks in nature or during your lunch break
On a rest day in your workout split and feeling sore? Go for a walk. Nothing improves blood flow to sore body parts more than increasing your core body temperature. Rather than wasting 30 minutes on your phone during your lunch break at work, go for a walk around the offices or down the street into the city centre. Not only will it reduce stiffness, increased blood flow and increased your core body temperature flushing blood and vital nutrients to your aching muscles, but it will also sharpen you up mentally ready for when you get back to the office and start working again.
5. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night
People underestimate sleep. It is crucial for not only how you feel and your energy levels every day, but also your recovery post workout. During sleep your body is repairing broken down muscle tissue and regulating important muscle building hormones like testosterone. Lack of sleep is a precursor for low testosterone and this is disastrous for men since it is the most important hormone for building muscle and retaining muscle as you get older.
6. Lower your volume (sets and reps)
Beginners don’t need anymore than 10 sets per body part per week. Given that you are new to the gym and you’ve never done resistance training before this is plenty of volume for you to experience great results both in terms of size and strength. Sometimes the reason why guys like you have poor recovery is because you’re doing way too much volume. If you keep track of your sets and reps and you’re doing more than 10 sets per body part per week and you’re feeling sore as hell for days, then this is why. Cut your volume down and you’ll find it much easier to recover properly between your workouts. Don’t be jumping the gun, your body can’t handle higher volumes just yet.
If you aren’t a complete beginner and you’ve been training for 1-2 years and you’ve increased your volume to between 12-14 sets per body part, then you need to start thinking about splitting this up better throughout the week rather than hammering each body part with 12-14 sets in one workout. The best way to do this would be to either: A) follow a full body training program where your volume per body part (e.g. chest) is split across three workouts or, B) follow an upper/lower training program where your volume per body part (e.g. chest) is split across two upper workouts, or two lower workouts in the case of legs.
This is all done for you when you start The Spartan Program. The Spartan Program is a six month training program designed for beginners with a three day full body routine. Maximum gains. Better recovery. Serious strength. Get started here: