Optimise your recovery

Recovery is a hot topic in the exercise. But what exactly does it mean to improve recovery? and what are some ways for you to improve your recovery. Firstly we will give a brief synopsis of what recovery is and then our top 5 tips on improving your recovery. 

Recovery in the exercise world is referred to as an adequate amount of time a person needs to recuperate from a particular event or training session. 
For example when strength training, it’s not wise to do a leg strength session two days in a row due to inadequate recovery time and therefore decrease performance and adaption. This simply means that if you do not allow enough time between similar exercise bouts both your performance of the task and your ability to improve are substantially decreased. 

Therefore decreasing the amount of time needed to recover leads to better adaptation to exercise and increased performance (plus a range of other things). 
If these are things you’re interested in, keep on reading. 

5 tips to optimise recovery

1. Get some more sleep

Sleep deprivation can be significantly detrimental to recovery. Thus, sleep should not be overlooked when talking about optimising recovery. Our bodies do most of there healing and restorative work while our heads are on the pillow. Therefore by decreasing the amount of time we sleep for means you are decreasing you bodies ability to recover. 

Do yourself a favour and aim for 7 hours a night minimum. 
If you wish you read more on optimising sleep, read our blog post on sleep hygiene

2.Ensure adequate protein intake

Protein is the macronutrient that gets talked about the most (the other two being fats and carbohydrates) in relation to recovery. There is good reason for this due to protein being the main macronutrient in restoration of muscle tissue. 
We have a few recommendations to make with protein that are listed below in dot point form:

1. Ensuring adequate daily protein intake; some recommend 2.2 grams of protein per kg of lean body mass. I’d say that is the uppermost limit and anything over that is going to be filtered out without being used. 

2. Eat a high protein breakfast; High protein meals in the morning can help speed up the recovery process. 

3. Protein before bed; Due to most of your recovery happening while you sleep, a protein rich snack prior to bed can also enhance your recovery. 

4. Post exercise protein intake; Some say that protein ingestion post training is a must and is referred to as the protein window. However, research doesn’t always back this up. I recommend eating within the hour after your train and ensuring your meal does contain a good level of both protein and carbohydrates. My simply post exercise go to is two slices of seeded bread with vegemite and a green smoothie. 

3. Drink plenty of water

A very simple yet effective tool for promoting recovery is ensuring adequate levels of hydration. This can help with removing ‘toxins’ from the body, increasing the speed of protein synthesis and optimising liver function. Simply aim to drink 3L of water per day and more on days with particularly hard exercise sessions. 

4. Periodise your training

Periodising your training pretty much means structuring your training to allow adequate time between sessions therefore allowing maximal recovery. Alternating between ‘hard and ‘easy’ days whilst also scheduling one ‘drop’ week every 3-4 weeks are good ways to ensure recovery. 

To read more on periodisation – read our blog post. 

5. Use a combo of recovery add-ons

To be clear from the outset, the above 4 are the primary recovery tools. Below we have put a list of things you can use to help with recovery. The four above will bring you 80% of the return and the below are things you can try to add on. 

  • Ice baths and/or cold exposure; I take a 1-3 minute cold shower most days and find it helps decrease muscle soreness. 
  • compression garments (I’m not a fan of these)
  • Napping; I will often take a 20 minute nap at some point during the days of particurarly intense training sessions. 
  • Massage/osteo treatments; I’m (obvisouly) a big fan of these. I use them often in my weeks of decreased training load. Due to me feeling less sore and more mobile post. 
  • Foam rolling/spikey ball use; Self-massage can also help recovery. Again its an add-on and shouldn’t be your main focus. 
  • Stretching and mobility exercises; I use these religiously 2-3 times per week. Hit up our rehab room for examples of mobility/stretch sessions I use. 


There you have my 5 tips for optimising recovery. We hope this helps you re-think your training and optimise your recovery.  

We also have more videos available in our rehab room and on our YouTube channel, be sure to check them out. Plus our blog has many a post of running performance, check it out also! 

Thanks for reading, 
Stay safe, 
Dr Jamey Pemmelaar (Osteo) 
Kensington Vic