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Tips For Faster Recovery And Better Training Results

Why is recovery after exercise so important?

While we exercise, there are microscopic tears that occur in our muscle cells. At first, this may sound like a bad thing, but it's not. These small tears repair themselves with sufficient recovery time, and additionally, there is even cell regeneration and repair of damaged tissue.

Furthermore, during a workout, a metabolic byproduct called lactate accumulates in our muscles. You may have experienced your muscles feeling "acidic" or cramped. This was most likely due to the accumulation of too much lactate in the muscle.

Therefore, we need sufficient recovery for lactate and several other metabolic byproducts that accumulate to be broken down and transported away.

The more professional and intense our training, the more important the topic of recovery should become for us. If you want to see long-term success, planning for recovery is at least as important as planning your training.


Did you know that it's only during the recovery period after your workout that cell growth, or muscle building, occurs?

Even though your muscles may appear larger during training due to the 'pump,' as it's commonly called, this is only because your muscles are better perfused during exercise. However, muscle growth occurs only during the rest periods after training.

If you don't give your muscles enough rest, you'll only achieve gradual success!

I recommend reading this article about Supercompensation, if you want to understand the processes and techniques that lead to improvement in our training.

Overtraining can lead to injuries and will slow you down on your path to reaching your athletic peak.

In-depth knowledge for your new & fit self.


How long does it take to fully recover after a training session?

First of all, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation, as the required recovery time depends on various factors.

The recovery time that's needed depends on fitness level, intensity, frequency and duration of the sessions, age, and other lifestyle factors like stress and sleep.

Now, let's dive deeper into those factors that influence and affect recovery time and capacity.

Fitness Level

For beginners or individuals starting with a new sport, it may be necessary to take a complete day of rest after each training session initially. The longer one has been practicing a particular sport, the shorter the recovery time can be. 

However, it's most important to listen to your own body. If the muscle still feels sluggish, acidic, or even sore, it's a sign that more rest is needed. It's possible, for example, that only one muscle group needs rest, but you can already train another muscle group. 

Especially in strength training, split training plans are very popular among many athletes. This involves dividing the training into upper and lower body units, allowing for multiple sessions per week.

Intensity and Duration of Sessions

After running a marathon, it may take up to a whole week to fully recover. After a casual, light 5km run, recovery may already occur within 24 hours. Experience in the specific sport, as well as fitness level and the factors mentioned in the following sections, also play a role here.


Younger individuals generally recover faster than older ones. This is because their metabolism is more active, and the regeneration processes in the cells can occur more quickly. The more active one has been in younger years, the better the regeneration process works even in older age.


  • Poor nutrition like underrating, overeating or nutrient deficiencies

  • lack of sleep and bad sleep quality

  • (chronic) stress

  • alcohol consumption, smoking or drug abuse

  • and other hindering lifestyle factors 

can slow down your recovery.

In the next section, you'll learn what you should do to accelerate and improve your recovery.


Ways to promote and accelerate training recovery

Apart from always ensuring you have enough rest periods, typically at least 24 hours between training sessions for the same muscle group, you can use additional tools to recover even faster and start the next session with more power.

Adequate Sleep

Sleep is crucial and should not be underestimated! I recommend getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If that's challenging for you, consider incorporating naps during the day.

Active Recovery

Recovery and rest don't necessarily mean you should do nothing and spend time in bed all day. Relaxing walks, easy cycling, or slow running can help accelerate the breakdown of lactate and thus speed up your recovery.

Deload Weeks

Deload weeks are one of my favorite tools. I recommend incorporating a deload week every 4 to 6 weeks. This means either not training at all for a week or training with significantly less intensity. You can reduce the intensity during this week by either completing fewer sessions, shorter sessions, less intense sessions, or performing lighter exercises (for example, machine-based training instead of free weights). 

You should also reduce the volume of training, such as using lighter weights or fewer repetitions. Alternatively, you can skip your usual training for a week and instead focus on light yoga and stretching sessions or leisurely walks. You'll notice that such a week will benefit both your mind and body! Ambitious athletes need don't need to fear losing muscle during a deload week. On the contrary, they'll feel much more energized and motivated for the next training sessions afterward.


Good messages not only help to relax, but also reduce muscle tone and accelerate the breakdown of metabolic byproducts. If you don't have the option to get a professional massage, you can alternatively do self-massage techniques or fascia rolling, although this is usually not as effective as a proper massage. 

However, be careful not to massage a muscle too intensely if you're experiencing severe muscle soreness. If you notice tension from your training, for example, in the neck area, a massage can be extremely beneficial for regeneration.

Proper Nutrition

Minerals such as Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium are particularly important after training, as these are often lost through sweat, and athletes generally require more of them than inactive individuals.

Potassium is needed for the storage and use of carbohydrates, thereby accelerating the regeneration process. Magnesium and zinc perform many important functions in the body, such as stabilizing muscle membranes, preventing muscle cramps, and promoting wound healing.

Additionally, these minerals maintain a balanced hormone level, which in turn benefits all metabolic processes. Adequate intake of vitamin D should also be ensured as it shortens the recovery time.

The intake of sufficient amounts of high quality protein is also important for recovery, with particular attention to the amino acids lysine and arginine. Protein is crucial for the repair and growth of our cells, as our body consists of approximately 50% protein. Especially our muscles as well as skin, hair, and nails consist mostly of protein.

Therefore, approximately 1.5 – 2.0 grams of high-quality protein per kilogram of body weight should be consumed every day, but especially on training days. Equally important as protein is the sufficient intake of carbohydrates. Especially in endurance sports, our glycogen stores in the liver and muscles are depleted. 

Only replenishing these stores adequately can lead to improvement and progress. Carbohydrates are essentially our "fuel" and provide the necessary energy for us.

High-quality sources of carbohydrates in the form of rice, potatoes, oats, fruits and vegetables should also be considered. Adequate intake of sodium should also be ensured immediately after the training session, as sodium is released during sweating, and a deficiency can occur rapidly.



Stretching can help release tension immediately after training, and it also promotes the breakdown of metabolic byproducts, especially lactate. Regular stretching keeps the muscles elastic and can prevent muscle soreness and tension. Additionally, a cool-down with gentle stretching is relaxing and regenerative for both the mind and body.

Heat and Cold Treatments

Both heat and cold are beneficial for our muscles. Heat promotes blood circulation, thereby accelerating recovery. Sauna sessions also relax the tissue and boost our immune system and metabolism. However, cold is equally beneficial for our regeneration, even though our minds may initially resist it. 

Ice baths also increase blood circulation and can alleviate pain, which also promotes recovery. Alternatively, contrast showers are a great option. With contrast showers, you should alternate between ice-cold and warm water for about 30 to 40 seconds each and repeat this process approximately 4 to 10 times.

To actively promote your recovery, it's best to combine all the above-mentioned methods to give your body the best rest it deserves. Additionally, it's crucial to listen to your body's signals and only train when you feel well-rested. Learning to listen to your body will be advantageous and help you achieve your athletic goals much faster and healthier.


Achieve your fitness goals now through personalized guidance from your online nutritional and fitness coach.


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Sources of Information:

  • Carrard J, Rigort AC, Appenzeller-Herzog C, Colledge F, Königstein K, Hinrichs T, Schmidt-Trucksäss A. Diagnosing Overtraining Syndrome: A Scoping Review. Sports Health. 2022 Sep-Oct;14(5):665-673. doi: 10.1177/19417381211044739. Epub 2021 Sep 9. PMID: 34496702; PMCID: PMC9460078.

  • Wang Y, Li S, Zhang Y, Chen Y, Yan F, Han L, Ma Y. Heat and cold therapy reduce pain in patients with delayed onset muscle soreness: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 32 randomized controlled trials. Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Mar;48:177-187. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2021.01.004. Epub 2021 Jan 14. PMID: 33493991.


  • Mujika I, Halson S, Burke LM, Balagué G, Farrow D. An Integrated, Multifactorial Approach to Periodization for Optimal Performance in Individual and Team Sports. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 May 1;13(5):538-561. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0093. PMID: 29848161.

  • Bonnar D, Bartel K, Kakoschke N, Lang C. Sleep Interventions Designed to Improve Athletic Performance and Recovery: A Systematic Review of Current Approaches. Sports Med. 2018 Mar;48(3):683-703. doi: 10.1007/s40279-017-0832-x. PMID: 29352373.

  • Versey NG, Halson SL, Dawson BT. Water immersion recovery for athletes: effect on exercise performance and practical recommendations. Sports Med. 2013 Nov;43(11):1101-30. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0063-8. PMID: 23743793.


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