Brian Shaw, 3X World's Strongest Man
Many of us put emphasis on making gains in the gym. However, an area that is often overlooked is how to speed recovery after training. The truth is, you don’t grow while working out—you do so when you leave the gym.
The first thing that I do when I finish lifting is take care of my post- workout nutrition. This starts the recovery process immediately by replacing lost amino acids, glycogen, and ATP. Then, about 30 minutes later, I drink another protein shake that contains the essential nutrients that my body needs. I follow this up with a whole-food meal such as beef and rice or sweet potatoes. This all takes place within an hour to 90 minutes post-training.
I find it critical to get a massage/soft-tissue work done a couple of times per week to help work out spasms and trigger points that prevent muscles from contracting properly. While this method might not be practical or affordable for everyone, using a self-massage device can provide many of the same benefits.
I highly recommend a contrast bath or an ice bath. This topic has been downplayed as not helping with recovery, but I think those opinions are coming from people who aren’t mentally strong enough to submerge themselves into a bathtub filled with ice water! Also, make sure you get plenty of quality sleep each night to promote muscle growth and so you’ll feel rested for the following day’s workout.
I don’t find static stretches all that beneficial, so I rarely do them. Instead, I perform a series of dynamic stretches. I do this at least once per day for about 10 to 15 minutes, and sometimes I’ll bump it up to twice per day if I’m especially tight or sore. Consider it active recovery. – FLEX