The Road to Recovery and Increased Performance

Road to recovery traffic signMost people focus that majority of their thoughts of fitness on exactly what they do in the gym, focusing solely on the amount of weight that they lift, the number of reps that they perform and the time that they spend on a given machine – and while all of that is very important to progression, you do need to look beyond just what goes on inside of the gym walls if you want to reach your full potential.

Your muscles grow during recovery, not during the time that you are pounding them with rep after rep on the bench press or sprint after sprint on the hill.  There is no doubt that you have to go all out inside of the gym to reach your ultimate potential, but if you ignore the necessary steps in your recovery your workouts will begin to stagnate and your progress will eventually come to an end.

Diet and supplementation are crucial parts of recovery, you muscles need complete and easily digestible proteins to grow and you need to replenish the focus on keeping your body hydrated following a grueling workout.  Attempting to achieve your health and fitness goals on a diet that consists of little else but fried foods, snacks and pre-packaged foods that are loaded with preservatives and saturated fat will only result in disappointment.

You also need to focus on getting the proper amount of sleep in order to reap the full benefits of your workouts.  If you wake up feeling sluggish and unfocused every morning and feel like you couldn’t possibly make it through your day without several cups of coffee or energy drinks, you aren’t getting enough sleep.  Try hitting the hay a half hour to an hour earlier than you normally would and you should start to realize the benefits of your increased sleep almost immediately.

Even with all of the necessary sleep and the right foods, the most diligent and hardcore trainees will eventually start to feel the wear and tear of all of their hard work in the gym on their joints and begin to experience tightness and soreness in muscles that doesn’t fully dissipate between workouts – and that’s where the third part of the recovery equation comes into play.

A good foam roller has the power to do wonders for athletes of all types in terms of eliminating the aches and pains that are customary after particularly grueling sessions.  Using a foam roller can eliminate pain and tightness throughout your upper and lower legs, it can increase the flexibility and relieve soreness in your ankles and hips and it can improve your posture and increase mobility through your upper back.

Used properly, a foam roller is very versatile and highly effective for warm ups, cool downs, active recovery and stretching and it’s not at all difficult to find a high quality foam roller that will hold up to daily abuse for less than ten dollars.

For anyone who is serious about their training and serious about achieving the best possible results from their workouts, a foam roller is an indispensable training tool.


I started competing in athletics 29 years ago at the age of 5, since then I've participated in a large number of team and individual sports including: baseball, soccer, running, boxing and cycling. I've worked as a coach, a trainer and a personal fitness consultant and I've had health and wellness articles grace the pages of a number of popular websites and print publications.

8 thoughts on “The Road to Recovery and Increased Performance

  • October 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Great Article,
    I agree, Sleep or Rest is often a key area which is overlooked in peak performance.

    Even in everyday life, many people live a fast paced life & don’t get enough sleep, and are depriving their bodies of the rest it needs.

  • September 28, 2010 at 6:30 am

    There’s too much sugar in my caffeine system.

    Sent from my iPhone 4G

  • Pingback: Exercise recovery tips | Free Exercise Tips

  • September 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    What exactly is a foam roller? And what do you do with it to get recovered?

    • September 22, 2010 at 6:09 am

      Hey Slava

      A foam roller is basically a densely molded foam tube that is most commonly about six inches around and anywhere from around one to three feet long.

      They are are great tool for self massage and myfascial release and work especially well on the calves, thighs and back. You can also use them for flexibility work and stability or balance training.

      Hope this helps

  • September 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    My pleasure Jarret. I look forward to the opportunity of contributing much more information to this amazing community.

    • September 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

      Sounds great Jeff, I look forward to reading more from you. We hope to continue to build and find ways to improve our growing community here.

  • September 21, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Jeff, thanks for this article. I did try that recovery technique (foam rollers) a few times when I lived in the U.S. They were used by the trainers at the gym that I worked out at–Lifetime fitness.


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