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  • Ingri Pauline

The Gym 101: P13: Recovery

Most of us long for a good looking physique and desperately scramble trying to get one. Too much scattered effort and not enough results are the fruits of lack of knowledge. There are many things that go into being well trained and it not just weightlifting and running.

When you InstaHeros say its a lifestyle, they are right. You cant take the average american office worker and just tack on 45 minutes of gym time to 5 days of their week. While it will make some benefits, what most people want is specific results.

Athletes, the people that most of us want to look like, view their bodies as a math equation. Everything must perfectly add up to equal X: sleep, nutrition, training time, excess stress to name a few.

The most important thing is recovery.

from Medical News Today

Its seems pretty cliche, but recovery is extremely important. With out proper recovery, the body will be unable to make repairs and work with you to make that body what you are training so hard for it to be.


You cannot out train a bad diet. You also cannot properly build muscle with out adequate protein and vitamin intake. Most women train more and eat less to drop pounds and chisle their bodies. This is the exact opposite of what you have to do.

Train more, eat more to build muscle. You will stress your body out and hold on to stubborn body fat if you are not eating enough. You will have issues with sleeping, mood and hormones if you are not eating enough to support and recover from a spike in physical activity.

After you have put on some muscle, you can them focus on losing body fat. The good news is, if you have +25% body fat and sedentary, lifting weight will drastically change you body composition and you will likely lose body fat no matter what, granted you are not staving yourself.


If you have read my article on sleep and athleticism, you remember that most pro athletes get 9-12 hours of sleep a day.

Hot bods are not made on a lack of sleep. Sleep is the basis for a healthy life and if you are not prioritizing it, you need to start as soon as possible. You need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Every person is different and you need to find you ideal number. I need 8.5 hours. I wish it was 7, but that is my boyfriend. In general, women take more sleep than men.

Muscle Work

Message, foal roll, stretch, trigger point work - all of it is muscle and deep tissue work. Get some in you life and watch your mobility and recovery skyrocket. For every exercises enthusiast I train, I recommend yoga x2 a week and try to get a message once a month.


Sauna is a wonderful tool for fitness and mental health in general. I use it at least once a week and ideally x3. Dr. Patrick has studied this extensively and issued an easy to read scientific report.

Sauna exposure increases endurance, cardiovascular health, muscle recovery, improved insulin sensitivity and many other beneficial effects. Check out the report.

Split Training

Hopefully by now you know that you can just hammer away at yourself. Check out doing training day split of cycling your training to have run days, lifting days and off days. Of course you can workout sore and you should! But avoid blasting a body part or movement two days in a row. Check out this training article for more ideas on training splits.


You menstrual cycle plays a big part in your training gains and ability. By working with you hormone levels, you training will be more tailored to your bodies natural cycle of energy. At different time in you cycle you are more likely to build muscle - so why suffer through a power workout when you really aren't going to gain anything from it? Why test you overall strength on a day when you know you are not going to perform your best.

Track your cycle and gain control. Find out how to do it here

Rest Days

Take a flippin break, lady! You don't have to lie around the house all day, in fact don't do that. But just take a walk, clean something, read a book, play a sport or game with you loved ones. I aim for at least one rest day a week and one light activity day a week.

If you are new to working out, three rest days are fine but try to get more activity in general into your day. Take stairs, 10 min walk after lunch or dinner, walk to store - all those are good things for you general fitness.

Slow and Steady Climb

If you are new to working out, do NOT try to just start x5 days a week. This is an good recipe for burn out and quitting. Start with x2-x3 days a week and work on getting more activity in you days.

Taking a slow and steady climb toward your goals will be healthier and easier.

Drugs, alcohol, Tobacco and Sickness

All of theses thing greatly reduce your ability to recover and build muscle. Alcohol effects sleep and hormones, nicotine effects muscle recovery, drugs effect brain chemistry and hormones, and sickness effects sleep and immune system.

If you are sick, you need to rest and eat very little. To recover, eat more protein and bone broth. This like trip to the sauna can be beneficial but only after you have slept the majority of the sickness off. Never try to tough through a day or a workout. you can prevent may illnesses from getting too bad by sleeping for a day when you first feel it. Only PAID, professional, performance athletes should suffer through a sick workout. Everyone else needs to scale back, sweat and sleep.

Learn all the basics and insider knowledge

Check out The Gym 101 Series

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