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How to Create an Effective Self-Care/Recovery Program

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Recent studies indicate that how you recover from your workout is just as important as your actual workout. As high intensity workouts are becoming more and more popular, the need for effective self-care recovery programs is becoming more and more pressing. Workouts like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) tend to leave people really sore and up the risk for injury, which is why recovering smart has become so critical. In the end, you want to create and implement the type of recovery program that will best complement your fitness regimen.

Popular Self-Care/Recovery Workouts

If you find that you are pushing yourself harder at the gym these days, then it’s important that you strive to “recover harder” as well. Here are some of the more popular self-care/recovery options available these days:

  • Restorative Yoga: Regular intensive workouts yield high amounts of cortisol in the body, which can compromise the body’s capacity to heal itself and lead to injury and even illness. In restorative yoga, cortisol levels are lowered naturally as various prop-supported poses allow the body to move toward a state of balance, enabling a comprehensive and deep recovery.
  • Self-Myofascial Release (SMR): With SMR, you can employ massage balls and foam rollers to relieve and release injured, tight, and sore muscle tissue. It’s simple to incorporate SMR into your daily fitness routines, as you can easily incorporate these tools in your warm up and cool down.
  • Stretching: Stretching should be a main component of every self-recovery program. Dynamic stretching before a workout should be accompanied by static stretching after a workout; both types enable the body to recover quickly and efficiently. Deep, thorough, and slow stretching will get the blood moving, the oxygen flowing, and the muscles loose and limber.

Commonsense Recovery Tips

  • Make rest a priority. After a hard workout, your body is full of lactic acid and stress hormones that are wreaking havoc with nerves and muscles, and causing inflammation. The good news:  Proper rest takes care of this. By getting a good night’s sleep and taking days off when you need them, you are enabling the healing process. Rest is also the best way for your body to clean away cortisol and other stress causing hormones, which is instrumental in self-recovery.
  • Pay attention to diet. Experts agree that your diet is just as important as your workout. Avoiding sugar and processed foods should be an important component of any recovery program. It’s recommended that you consume high-quality protein with each meal and also immediately (within 30 to 45 minutes) after a workout. You should always try to take in grains, nuts and fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Proper hydration is one of the keys to effective self-recovery. In fact, drinking enough water enables joint health, nourishes muscles, and even improves heart function. Water should always be your main form of hydration.


Whether you are a marathon runner, power lifter, gym rat, or just a person who likes to work out once in a while, creating an effective self-care/recovery program will enable you to recover more quickly. Over the long term, this will go far in helping you to achieve your fitness goals.

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