by Tony Gjokaj July 12, 2021 5 min read

As I continue to train consistently year after year, the more I focus on the importance of recovery.

Gone are the days where I focused on consistently training without rest or breaks with the intention to gain more muscle or more strength.

Today, we are weight training 4 days a week with martial arts sessions in between. If I don't feel too hot for some sessions, I'll do a light session with some work.

Interestingly enough, this has helped me improved my progress in the gym dramatically, along with improving my martial arts skills.

In this post, we are going to go over 6 ways to improve post-workout recovery.

Let's dive in!

I. Sleep Smarter

Sleeping smarter comes down to improving two factors: Sleep Quantity and Sleep Quality. We all know sleep quantity is the number of hours of uninterrupted sleep we get. Sleep quality, however, is how well the sleep was, and if we are well-rested and energized as a result.

If we don't get enough sleep or we sleep poorly, we start to see deterioration in our levels of performance, elevated stress levels, and more. As mentioned in previous posts, sleep deprivation can also lead to health problems and can potentially lead to obesity (people tend to consume more calories and processed foods when sleep deprived).

When it comes to recovery, sleep allows our muscle cells and tissue to repair, along with letting our heart rest. In addition, it allows your brain to get rid of waste it accumulates, thereby improving cognition, wellbeing, and more.

Sleep also prevents illnesses and helps you recover from illness as well... and we all think being sick is a pain in the ass.

This is why it is sleep is paramount to recovery: it allows us to consistently work towards improving ourselves and performing our best.

In improving sleep quality and quantity, here's what we recommend:

  • Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep on average.
  • Have a consistent sleep schedule. Having a consistent sleep schedule helps improve sleep quality.
  • Eliminate all electronics 1 hour before bed. Write, read or journal before bed if you want to distract yourself.

II. Planned Recovery

If you exercise regularly, you need to plan for phases of recovery to improve performance and recovery in the long-term.

For example, athletes will use periodization to train the body in different phases to allow for recovery.

For example, Powerlifters will go through a volume block, which primes their muscles for a heavier strength block. When they transition to a more intense block, their muscles are ready to hammer out heavier weight, which puts more stress on their nervous system.

These lifters will also add phases of low-intensity or "active rest", which leads to improved performance most of the time. This is known as a supercompensatory effect.

Supercompensation is a theory that states that sports performance parameter can lead improved performance capacity post-training.

So if an athlete trains hard and reduces volume for a period of time, they may see improved performance beyond how hard they were training weeks before.

Here's what you can do to improve recovery:

  • Plan for deloads every 4-8 weeks. These are planned active rest phases that have an intention to improve performance in the long-term.
  • Utilize periodization. Go through phases of periodization based on your exercise goals.
  • Give yourself some rest. You don't need to hit the weight room daily. Give yourself a break.

    III. Stress Less

    Simply put: do things that reduce stress, and do less things that bring stress. This will help significantly with recovery.

    If you can't limit the things that bring you stress, try to limit your exposure to that environment, or find a way to modify that environment to an extent. For some, that may mean listening to music, implementing breathing exercises, journaling, or meditation.

    Find something that helps you relieve stress. For me, it is journaling, a workout, or maybe some light martial arts work.

    IV. Eat Better

    Eat more nutrient-dense foods that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and unsaturated fats. These foods consist of fruits, vegetables, fish, fish oil, potatoes, rice, nuts, and more.

    Essentially, prioritize whole foods over processed food. A diverse palate of these kind of foods will get you essential vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, and fiber necessary to hit your goals. 

    We usually recommend 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This will allow you to get a decent amount of nutrients and fiber in.

    1/2 cup of stalky greens (broccoli) = 1 serving

    1 cup of leafy greens (spinach) = 1 serving

    1/2 cup of fruits = 1 serving

    In addition to that, you should consider eating simple carbohydrates (fruits) post-workout. This will help you restore glycogen in your body, among other things.

      V. Supplement Strategically

      While supplements are only a small part of our fitness goals, you can use supplements to aid in exercise recovery, or even enhance performance through consistent use.

      For example, consistent supplementation with Creatine has been shown to improve power output through anaerobic training. In addition, L-Carnitine supplementation showed greater exercise recovery through use. Lastly, supplements like Ashwagandha will do a variety of things: from reducing fatigue, improving strength and more.

      While there a few more ingredients that you can use for recovery (Rhodiola Rosea, for example), these are three well-studied supplements to add to your arsenal.

      In fact, we added these in efficacious dosages to our recovery drink, Synergy, which you can get on amazon here.

        VI. Get Some Sun

        Sunlight is most commonly known to improve Vitamin D intake. This also leads to improvements in wellbeing and higher quality sleep as well. In addition to that, exposure to sunlight can also aid in improving bone health, blood pressure, and more.

        Each of these factors will improve recovery in their own way, from improving immunity, reducing stress, and improving wellbeing.

        Here's what we recommend when it comes to sun exposure:

        • If you work indoors, go outside in direct sunlight at least 15-30 minutes per day.  This will help you get a decent intake of Vitamin D.
        • Exercise outside on some days. This will make the exercise experience a little more enjoyable. I train outdoors in martial arts from time to time.
        • If you don't have access to direct sunlight, supplement with Vitamin D. If I know I won't be getting enough sunlight on a certain day, I will supplement with Vitamin D3.

        Train. Recover. Repeat.

        Although your body is VERY resilient, recovery should also be a big focus in training.

        If you listen to elite performance athletes in any kind of sport, they will tell you that recovery is just as important as intense training. This is why they will implement periods of lower volume, or periodization protocols. 

        Lastly, I want to note that in men, utilizing these methods may help improve testosterone production or optimize your production, so it is essential that you implement recovery protocols into your lifestyle.

        Try adding one of these to your arsenal, or utilizing all six, and your recovery improve!

          Thanks for reading this post, Reforged Legion!

          If you have any questions, comments, or additional insights or tips that have helped improve your recovery, feel free to let us know by emailing us at support@reforgedperformance.com or direct message us on Instagram.

          We'd love to hear what you do to improve performance and recovery.

          Until next time, Reforged Warrior!

          Tony Gjokaj
          Tony Gjokaj

          Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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