How to Recover Faster From Your Workouts

How to Recover Faster From Your Workouts


  • Recovery Training should be performed the day after a high intensity session. Learning How to recover faster can be a game changer.
  • Prioritizing recovery will speed up your gains and reduce injuries.
  • Purposefully using recovery training can improve your strength, endurance and resilience to stress.

“No Pain, No gain…”

“The harder you train, the more you gain…”

This is the common logic used by most of us who are passionate about our training. But the logic is wrong, and it’s costing you. Best case it will simply cost you progress in your training. Worst case, it’ll take an injury or two, or three, to make you realize the importance of properly programming recovery into your training.

I used the train-all-out-every-day method for a long time. I was stuck in a cycle of driving myself into the ground. I always wondered why I wasn’t much better with all the effort I put in. Recovery was the missing link.

What is Recovery Training?

Recovery Training is a specific type of training you can implement to speed up recovery from more intense sessions. Recovery training will allow your body to adapt to training faster, i.e., you can get bigger, stronger, better.. in less time, with less risk for injury.

Why You Need It

Training with high intensity more than once or twice a week should be reserved for elite level athletes. Even they keep it to no more than 3 high intensity sessions per week. This is because the body simply cannot recover from (and adapt to) that much intensity. Training too hard, too often will lead to negative results 100% of the time. Get it out of your head that progress = max effort every time you train. Research clearly tells us that this is false.
Check out my article on the dangers of too much High Intensity Training Here: Is HIIT sabotaging your fitness?

How to Implement Recovery Training to Recover Faster

A Recovery Session can be broken down into 5 parts. The total length of the session shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes or so.

1. Breathing

Assume a quadruped position (on all fours) on the floor, or just lay flat on your back. Take in 5 deep breaths through the nose, and out through the mouth. This isn’t meditation. You’re simply preparing the mind and body for the upcoming session. Take note of any soreness or fatigue you feel in the body.

2. Foam Rolling and Light Stretching

Perform about 5 minutes of light, dynamic stretching and foam rolling. This isn’t the time to do static stretching (holding for prolonged periods). Check out the video below by TrainHeroic (an amazing app if you’re looking for training programs and great coaches). The “Agile 8” is a great warmup.

Video by TrainHeroic. Check their App out for awesome programming

3. 30 Minutes of Light Cardiovascular Training

This is best accomplished with a heart rate monitor. You should aim to keep the heart rate between 120-135 beats per minute. You can use any method you want… treadmill, elliptical, swimming, light shadow boxing or drills, or a mixture of implements. I like to spend 10 minutes on 3 different activities.

4. 1-2 Strength Movements

Perform 1-2 strength movements, preferably full body compound movements like the Deadlift or Olympic lifts. Perform 3 sets of 3-5 reps at no more than 85-90% of your max. Aim a little low if you’re in doubt. We want to stimulate recovery in the body and nervous system, not incur more stress to recover from.

5. Cool Down, Stretching, Breathing

Spend the last 10 minutes or so with a cool down. Perform 5 minutes of very light cardio, and really try to drive the heart rate as low as possible. Spend another 5 minutes or so doing some longer, static stretching. Continue to focus on being relaxed. End the session the same way you started. Take some deep, relaxing breaths. Drive the heart rate as low as you can. You should walk out of the gym feeling good.

The Benefits of The Recovery Session

This light training will allow your body to remove waste products built up from previous, higher intensity workouts. It will push blood flow into the joints, ligaments and tendons, which can be slower to recover. Blood flow will also be pushed into damaged muscle tissue, speeding up recovery.

Most importantly, the low intensity cardiovascular work trains the heart to pump more blood per beat (cardiac output). The low intensity work is essential for a strong foundation of aerobic fitness. A strong aerobic base allows the body to recover faster… You see where this is going?


Recovery Training will help nudge the body into a parasympathetic recovery mode. You can best track this by monitoring your HRV, which I explain in this article:

By prioritizing recovery, your high intensity sessions, once or twice a week, can become even more intense and productive, and your progress will certainly become more rapid. You’ll be less likely to get injured, more resilient, and healthier overall. Learning how to recover faster has dramatically improved my overall fitness and conditioning, and I know it will do the same for you. Let me know what you think!

Do Training Masks Really Work?

Do Training Masks Really Work?

Makers of the Training Mask, (also known as elevation or altitude masks), claim that an athlete can reap the benefits of working out at altitude by wearing a mask while they train. But what does the research say? Do training masks really work? Or is it just a gimmick?

Note: This article contains affiliate links, which come at no additional cost to you.

Altitude Training

do training masks work

I recently took a short vacation with my wife to Flagstaff, AZ. It’s a really beautiful place, and just happens to sit at over 7,000 feet elevation.

My second night there, I decided to do some interval training on the hotel treadmill. After two rounds, I felt noticeably more fatigued than normal and was breathing much heavier than I usually would be.

This was because at over 7,000 feet elevation, the air is thinner and there is less oxygen available. Spending prolonged time working out in this environment would cause the body to adapt to the limited oxygen supply by producing more red blood cells, which transport oxygen to working muscles.

How Does Altitude Training Improve Your Performance?

It is well established by research that in order to accumulate any physiological benefit from training at altitude, an athlete must spend at least 2 weeks in that environment.

The limited oxygen at high altitude stimulates adaptations in the body, such as an increase in red blood cell production, which improves the body’s ability to transport and use oxygen. Training at elevation has real, measurable physiological benefits for an athlete. But does wearing a training mask work in the same way?

Read: How To Run Faster. 4 Methods and Full Program

Research on Training Masks

Studies done to test the effectiveness of the training mask show clearly that wearing the mask does NOT simulate training at altitude.

6 week studies have shown no physiological benefits of wearing the mask vs. a control group in trained athletes. No change in red blood cell production was observed, nor was lung function improved.

do training masks really work pin

The group training with the mask did, however show one important improvement. 

The Group training with the elevation mask showed a 15% improvement in Power at ventilatory threshold.  The ventilatory threshold is basically the point at which anaerobic processes are beginning to take over, and lactate is beginning to accumulate faster than it can be cleared out. 

Improving power at this threshold would certainly be an advantage. However it remains unclear exactly why the mask induces this response. 

Researchers believe that the mask likely acts as a resistance trainer for the respiratory muscles, as wearing the mask forces you to work harder to pull air into your lungs. So, in this regard, the mask may provide some benefit.

A Better Approach to Use:

do training masks work?

If you’re looking to improve your cardio-respiratory abilities, and overall endurance.. I have a better approach. It’s simple. You don’t need to go into the gym wearing a mask. You simply need to go through your workouts while breathing only through your nose.

It’s harder than it sounds, but regularly training while breathing only through the nose would yield far better results than wearing a training mask.

This concept is broken down thoroughly in a really interesting book called “The Oxygen Advantage” by Patrick Mckeown. In the book, Mckeown breaks down how we’re supposed to be breathing vs. how most of us breathe. He makes a strong case that learning to breathe properly can help lose weight, have more energy and perform better in all areas of life.

The book is really great and well worth reading. I’ll post the link here if you want to check it out.

Read: How to Lower Your Resting Heart Rate: Specific Methods


So, do training masks work? The answer is, “not really.”

Studies show that training masks do not offer the benefits that they claim to. They do not simulate training at altitude, but may act by strengthening the muscles used during breathing, thus stimulating some improvements in performance.

For most people in the gym who aren’t even close to their natural conditioning potential, the mask is completely unnecessary and unlikely to provide much benefit.

Learning to breathe properly, intelligently programming your training, and spending some workout sessions breathing only through the nose should pay dividends to your conditioning, all without spending a dime.

10 Things you Must Do to Improve your Fitness

If you still want to check out the training mask, read reviews, etc.. then I’ll post that link as well right here.


Mike (Supastrong)
Mike (Supastrong)

Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach and personal trainer. I’ve run boot camps and served as the wellness coordinator for a fortune 500 company. Currently a Federal Agent in San Diego, CA, and an Infantryman in the Army Reserve.