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Key Points:

1. Your body will adapt faster, you will have fewer injuries, and you'll be healthier if you follow the 4 key steps of recovery and regeneration:

2. Active Recovery: 5-15 minutes of low-moderate activity at the end of your workout helps clear out the waste products that have accumulated in your body during exercise.

3. Rehydrate: Make sure you're rehydrating with water following your workout. If you're exercising in hot, humid conditions, you can add some carbohydrates and electrolytes to your drink.

4. Refuel: Refuel with healthy carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. If you've completed an aerobic workout, have a meal with a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Following a strength workout, the ratio should be closer to 2:1.

5. Regenerate: Give your body time to breakdown and then repair after a workout. A simple guide to follow is 8-12 hours for light workouts, 48 hours for strength or interval workouts, 24-48 hours for long cardio sessions, and 48-72 hours for sprint training.  

Want to know one of the greatest secrets to being stronger, swifter and fitter? Hint: it’s not about lifting more, running faster, or adding extra workouts!

Let’s assume that you want to step up your activity from where you currently are. And you’d like a little boost in taking that step. You want to be 1% better, and you’re looking for some tips. One way to becoming fitter is to apply the science of recovery and regeneration.

The healing and repair process is as important, if not more important, than the actual exercise or training. To raise your endurance, increase your muscle mass, develop stronger bones and even build a better brain, you need time to rest and recover. Your body will adapt faster, you’ll have fewer injuries and you’ll be healthier.

Here are my steps to getting the most out of your workouts – after your workouts.

Step 1: Active Recovery

Warm down slowly and properly to clear your body of waste products that accumulate when you exercise. Help your muscles out by taking 5-15 minutes of active recovery: moving your body at about 50-60% of your maximum heart rate rather than stopping completely after exercise. You shouldn’t feel a burn, but you should be moving more than you do when not working out. You could cycle, walk fast or run slowly. Note: An easy way to calculate your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. This means if you're 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is approximately 180 beats per minute.  

Step 2: Rehydrate

Rehydrate with water. If you’ve been working out for longer than 90 minutes or in hot, humid conditions, you can add some carbohydrates and electrolytes to your drink. But most of all, focus on water. You need a lot of it to properly heal and grow.

Step 3: Refuel

It’s time to get nutrients back into your system. I believe that post-workout nutrition should improve your overall health, hence my objection to chocolate milk. Stick to any of the healthy foods we have already discussed: complex carbohydrates and high-quality proteins and fats. If your workout is more aerobic, try a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. If you’re doing strength training or higher-intensity intervals, eat closer to a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein.

Step 4: Regenerate

This is where we need to geek-out a bit and talk about physiology. That’s because if you understand inflammation and its role in helping the body to repair after exercise, you’ll know how to regenerate. So here’s the science.

When muscle fibres are damaged, inflammatory cells move to the area and help break down and remove damaged tissue. Our bodies also produce a powerful hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This hormone instructs satellite cells to repair damaged muscle fibres and begin producing new ones. This whole inflammatory process can take up to 72 hours to complete after an intense workout, which is why mixing hard and easy days gives your body the time it needs for the inflammatory response to work its magic.

Here are some basic regeneration times to hold in mind: for light workouts, 8-12 hours is enough. Strength or interval workouts that make you sore normally require about 48 hours. Long cardio sessions that drain your glycogen stores require about 24-48 hours. Pure speed and sprint training sessions take 48-72 hours to recover from.

Inflammation after exercise is a critical healing process. Your body needs the process of breaking down, experiencing inflammation, and making the repairs in order to develop and improve!

Today's POWER-UP: Practice the 4 Steps

1. Finish your workouts with 5-15 minutes of light cardio.

2. Then have a drink of clear, cold water.

3. Follow that with a healthy snack.

4. And finally - get some sleep!

You'll feel better and your health and energy will improve exponentially!


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist Sky Regional employees with improving their general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. Sky Regional is not responsible for the content of this program which has been specially developed and is being provided to you by the Wells Group Inc., in consultation with Sky Regional. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release Sky Regional and the Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.