Recovery Methods Part 4: Putting it all Together for Peak Performance

We’ve been exploring various recovery methods and modalities in this exclusive four part blog series for WebbWell. So far we’ve discussed the following lifestyle habits and modalities:

Now let’s talk about how and why to work recovery methods into the big picture of your fitness playbook for peak performance in life and sport.

woman wearing athletic attire running outside before applying recovery methods

The Problem with Always Being ‘On’

If you struggle to sit still with yourself and feel like you have to be go-go-going all the time, I encourage you to begin thinking of recovery methods as the yin to your yang. In other words, your training program is incomplete, insufficient, and completely out of balance without one. So no more excuses! The world’s best athletes are taking time to recover, and we can all apply some of that good wisdom to our own active lifestyles. 

Just like all training and sports conditioning protocols, recovery methods are one part of the whole. While we used to think training meant constant lifting weights, doing cardio, or running drills, now we know the body needs down time to optimize physiological adaptations. Adaptations include muscle hypertrophy, cardiovascular strength and endurance, and tissue repair as a result of proper hydration and nutrition. When these physiological processes are optimized over time you can expect to see continual cognitive and physiological performance gains in both sport and life.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, recovery doesn’t mean loafing around on the couch watching football and drinking beer all day. A recovery day is not a cheat day; in fact it’s quite the opposite. As we’ve explored in the first three editions of this series, recovery methods are, in fact, active things that you do. Recovery simply means turning down the volume and intensity of higher output exertion so that the body can heal and prepare for the next round of exertion. 

Behind the Scenes of a Division One Football Training Room

Two colleagues, a woman and man, in a football training office talking about recovery methods

I’ve been so intrigued by the application of recovery protocols that I recently visited the football training room at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where Director of Football Athletic Training, Brett Mortensen, PhD gave me a behind the scenes look at the exercise recovery methods being used to optimize the performance and wellbeing of the football players. It’s always great to spend time at my alma mater, Brigham Young University! We talked about compression, hot and cold modalities, using light therapy and barometric pressure for concussion therapy and so much more. 

As you’d expect, operations in the training room as well as the privacy of underage athletes must be respected, so I won’t be sharing any proprietary brands, methods, or revealing pictures of the athletes or training room here! Let’s just say that for this Certified Personal Trainer who studied Athletic Training in college, I felt like a kid in the candy shop. It was awesome to see all of the methods I’ve discussed so far being implemented into the fabric of the training of elite Division One football players:

  • Contrast Therapy Room, complete with hot and cold plunge pools? Check.
  • Compression Sleeves and Pneumatic Devices? Check.
  • A variety of the best electrolytes for hydration? Check.

There were even a few things that surprised me, and when I asked about their use Dr. Mortensen responded, “the science on placebo reports a 10% improvement on average, so why wouldn’t you go for it if it isn’t harmful?” 

How to Begin Using Recovery Methods Now

Hopefully our blog series has helped you understand why recovery methods are important, and how you can benefit from utilizing them. Are you wondering how to get started? Here’s what I recommend:

Pick One.

Yes, that’s right. Pick one, whichever is most interesting, convenient, or makes you most curious.

Once you’ve mastered that one thing, then move on to the next, and so on, experimenting with what feels good until you’ve created an arsenal to choose from at any point in time. The key is paying attention to how you feel in your body before, during, and after applying these principles. As you do that, you learn to integrate experience into the wisdom of the body, until the process becomes intuitive. That, my friends, is how you’ll know how and when to use which method. 

Work with Me

I hope you enjoyed this series on recovery methods. It’s the kind of information I try to provide to my clients every day in the training studio in Park City, Utah and remote. 

Ready to implement your own recovery protocols? Reach out and let’s work together!

About Melanie Webb and WebbWell

Named “The person to call” by DEPARTURES Magazine, “a leader in the adventure travel industry” by Norie Quintos of National Geographic Traveler, and “one of the top trainers in the industry” by The Sports Club/LA (now Equinox), Melanie Webb is the founder and creator of WebbWell and the WebbWell wellness app. A sought-after industry and corporate retreat facilitator and speaker, her fitness course Mother Nature’s Gym Outdoor Fitness Guide is approved for 1.6 CEC’s from American Council on Exercise.