What Does it Mean to “Recover Well”?

The ability to recover is an essential part of living an active lifestyle.

Recovering well is both a science and an art. It takes careful attention to your body, intuition, and knowledge of exactly what you need to feel your best.

How do you know if you need recovery?

The tried and true: Listen to your body.

To listen truly to your body, it helps to have an idea of what you’re listening for.

A need for recovery doesn’t only show up in workouts or purely physical clues.

To assess your need for recovery, consider a full range of physical, mental, and emotional effects. Consider both how you’re feeling (subjectively) and what’s literally going on in your life (objectively).

Below are some cues that you could benefit from more (or a different type of) recovery.


If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms or outcomes, talk with your coach about it.

Together, you can come up with a plan to document what you’re experiencing and collaborate on which recovery strategies are best for you.

How Do you Recover?

The symptoms you are experiencing will give you clues on what recovery strategies to use. The only way to know for sure what’s best for you is through experimentation, experience, and paying attention.

Below is a list to give you some ideas. For longer-term recovery, implement these regularly over a week or multiple weeks (rather than one time or only infrequently).

Common Recovery Strategies:

  • Decreased overall exercise output and intensity
  • Adding gentle movement and mobility (walking, cycling, swimming, gentle yoga)
  • Breath work and meditation
  • Massage or foam rolling
  • Sauna or bath
  • Midday nap
  • Lengthened sleep ritual
  • Increased carbohydrate intake
  • Increased protein intake
  • Increased hydration and electrolyte intake
  • If possible, take a day off from work (or from meetings) or talk to your coworkers about your workload
  • Socialize with close friends or family

Use this Practice to experiment with what kind of recovery strategies work best for you. Try one or a few to practice, and record how they affect how you feel and perform.

Be aware that it will take more than one exposure to an activity to yield an impact, especially if you’ve been feeling the need for recovery for a while. Don’t give up on something without giving it a chance to work its magic.


By: Steve Graham

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