Balancing Training and Recovery

24 Jul

You can’t go hard everyday. Let me repeat that:


If you’re like me, you enjoy moving in some capacity everyday. It makes me feel better, and if I do it right, it helps me perform better as well. I’m not the strongest, leanest, fastest, or biggest guy I know. However, I do pride myself on being well above average in all those categories. I attribute this to intelligent management of my training and nutrition; oh and being a bad ass.

Here are a few things I have put in place to manage high training workloads, recovery sessions, and smart nutrition.

1. Carbohydrate placement:

I hit four higher intensity sessions every week. It generally breaks down like this:

  • Monday: Lower Body Emphasis (A LOT of squatting, “abs”, and higher volume / low intensity upper back work)
  • Wednesday: Upper Body Emphasis (A LOT of benching, upper body assistance work done heavy)
  • Friday: Lower Body Emphasis (A LOT of deadlifting, “abs”, and higher volume / low intensity upper back work)
  • Saturday: Upper Body Emphasis (Speed Bench, upper body assistance work at a high volume and low intensity)

On these days I will place a low amount of carbohydrates about 30 – 60m after training (maybe 30 – 50g). When I get out of the gym at around 7p I will pack in a pretty high amount of carbohydrates from 7p to 10p (bed time). This allows me to fill my system up for the following training sessions, and it helps me get through the following day, which I’ll talk about later. The rest of the day 6a to 7p is filled with protein, healthy fat, and veggies.

Typical Training Day Meals












2. Include “Recovery Training Sessions”

The other 3 days of the week I am still moving around. These sessions are generally short in duration, or they are spent being “active”. For example, taking on some kind of outdoor adventure –> hiking, swimming, kayaking, snowboarding, etc.

A favorite choice of mine, when the weather allows for it, are hill sprints. You can find out everything you need to know about hill sprints in my post: Hill Sprints 101.

When the hill isn’t happening, I tend to get creative. I will work with anything from the sled, prowler, carries, TRX, my body weight, or kettle bells. Again, I prefer to get outside when possible. Allowing some room for creativity has a two fold benefit.

  1. I get some different kinds of movement in. My training is bilateral dominant (powerlifting is done on two legs folks…). This is a nice place to work more single leg training in, as well as some different patterns, and ranges of motion.
  2. It keeps me motivated. I actually LOVE squatting, benching, and deadlifting. It hasn’t got old. That aside, it is nice to try new things, and like I said earlier, just move differently.

A Favorite Spot For Sprints!












Lastly, on recovery days I do a fair amount of soft tissue work, and extra mobility / low level activation. I tend to not be interested in doing this stuff on high load training days. I’d rather just hit the essentials and focus on moving heavy shit.

3. Implement Recovery Friendly Nutritional Strategies

One thing I am doing a lot more of is being cognizant of what I put into my body on recovery days. I want to keep my overall stimulus low on these days, and try not to get too “excited”. Therefore, I tend to limit stimulants (caffeine), and carbohydrates. Additionally, I want to make the digestion process easier on my body. Therefore, I have found that using shakes on these days has me feeling terrific. I will load these up with green veggies, one with fruit (post light training), and some gut friendly choices such as probiotics.

The shakes are easier for my body to handle, leave me satiated while consuming less calories, and are an easy way to pack in a lot of nutrients without a lot of actual food.

Recovery Day Smoothies!












Training will always come down to management. You have to intelligently manage all the variables involved with training. Likewise, you have to decide what fits and what doesn’t. I get a fair amount of questions on how I manage my own training and nutrition, and adequately receive multiple benefits at the same time. I hope this helps give you some general insight!


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6 Responses to “Balancing Training and Recovery”

  1. Calvin July 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Cool article. Could you give us more info about what you had in those recovery day meals please? Thanks

    • Calvin July 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      And also what you like to throw in your smoothies 🙂

  2. Steve July 31, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I think it is safe to say we are on the same page with training/nutrition….I feel like I would have written this word for word. Are you roughly carb backloading? What are your thoughts on the possibility of consuming more protein than is necessary? Sometime I feel like I could replace some protein calories with fat or carbs but not sure if it would make a difference. I’m definitely a protein type

    • gregtrainer August 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      Steve, I very roughly carb backload. I don’t break down macro’s at all. I just skip on breakfast, have the whey and coconut oil pre training, a little carbs and pro post training, eat pro and fat during the day, and allow for carbs and little to no fat at night!


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