What to Do After Your Workout
The most important part of the workout isn’t the workout—it’s after. That’s when muscles grow, when you get stronger, when mitochondria replicate, when glycogen regenerates, when depleted cells rehydrate. It’s where the actual benefits of physical training occur. The workout is the stimulus, and the time after your workout is where your body adapts to the training. Your recovery methods make or break your training.
What’s the typical advice?
Eat, sleep, repeat.
This advice isn’t bad. It’s actually the foundation of workout recovery. Of course you have to eat food, sleep, and do the whole sequence consistently to get results in the gym. That goes without saying. But it’s the absolute bare minimum. There’s more you can do, and should do.
There’s also the possibility of doing too much. Of getting lost in the weeds. Of optimizing all the gadgets and hacks and supplements and forgetting about the foundational precepts of workout recovery methods: good food, good sleep, and consistency.
So today I’ll lay out everything I’ve learned about recovery methods over the last 40-50 years of training.
What I do:
Apart from regular anti-stress techniques, I also take Adaptogenic Calm, my own anti-stress supplement that I actually developed way back in the day to help elite endurance athletes recover from the stress of their (and our) training.
Consistency in training is crucial for stress management, as the beauty of training and recovering is that it makes you more resistant to other forms of stress (the fungibility goes both ways).
Sunlight improves workout recovery via several pathways.
It boosts vitamin D, which is important for testosterone production and bone density—two key elements of the adaptation to training.
It increases nitric oxide, which increases blood flow. More blood flow to your muscles and other tissues means better delivery of nutrients necessary for recovery.
It lowers stress hormones, which are catabolic in nature and oppose the actions of testosterone.
One study in soccer players even found that increasing sunlight exposure led to increases in testosterone levels and sprint performance over the course of a season.16