So you’ve started a training programme (good work by the way) and you’re working hard to improve your fitness and strength. To get the best results it is vital to understand the most effective ways of allowing your body to recover so that it can build lean muscle and decrease excess body fat.

During training you are stressing your body and afterwards it needs the correct balance of water, fuel and rest so that it can adapt and become even fitter and stronger. If you can combine regular training with smart food choices and intelligent recovery strategies then you will be on the right path to achieving your fitness goals. For more information on Trainwithjake exercise plans click here

Recovering effectively after exercise is central to a successful exercise regime. Your training should be tough and challenging so your recovery needs to be well thought out and consciously planned. Here are some key ideas which you should incorporate into your recovery strategy.

Recovery consists of three key components:

  • Hydration
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep


After exercise you should drink water to replace lost fluids. Water plays a vital part in your recovery, if you are dehydrated your blood is thicker so it will take longer to get rid of waste products (e.g. lactic acid) and slower at getting important nutrients/oxygen to cells to aid recovery. Water has many other vital functions:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Helps prevent constipation
  • Lubricates joints
  • Lessens the burden on liver and kidneys by flushing through waste products
  • Helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible
  • Drink it to avoid dry/cracked skin


After training aim to eat a good meal to replenish energy levels and allow your muscles to repair. Ideally, this should be 15 – 60 mins after your workout. A carb/protein mix is the most effective post workout recovery meal to have. It’s worth noting that if you get injured you need to eat more to recover effectively, not less. Eating a well balanced snack straight after training is a great way to kickstart your recovery.

Here are some ideas for good things to eat straight after training:

  • Full fat yoghurt and fruit
  • Peanut butter on toast
  • Omelette with mushrooms
  • Chocolate milk (personal favourite!)

If you don’t recover properly you’re more likely to get:

  • Prolonged muscle soreness
  • Poor subsequent performance
  • Symptoms of overtraining


Ensure you get a good amount of sleep (6 – 8 hrs per night). It’s crucial for repair and recovery and if you have regular bouts of physical activity you need more sleep.

Sleep patterns are very important so it’s good to have a routine, like reading a book just before bed and sleeping in a dark room.

Insufficient sleep is proven to impact repair and adaptations to exercise. Lack of sleep also affects reaction times, power and quickness, as well as affecting cognitive processes like concentration and memory.

Sleep tips

  • Darkness: remove all light sources
  • Temperature: 18-22 °C is optimal
  • Comfort: a bed 6 inches longer than you/40-60 postural shifts occur each night
  • Ventilation: keep a window open (noise permitting)
  • Unload the mind: write stuff down that you are thinking about at bed time