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7 Ways to Recover Harder than You Worked Out

By Alexander VanHouten, Master Trainer & Life Time Education Specialist

“I burned 700 calories during our resistance workout today. Isn’t that good?”

It may surprise you to learn, the number of calories you burned while resistance training is largely irrelevant to why we did it.

There are so many benefits to your body from proper resistance training that energy expenditure (calories burned) pales in comparison.

All of the list below lead to improved metabolism for better body composition and improved quality of life so that you can enjoy a fitter you.

However, none of these long-term benefits happen while you are actually exercising. They happen AFTERWARDS.

The magic of your workout happens after you leave the gym. What you do (or don’t do) can bolster or hinder those positive adaptations.

Let me share my secrets so that you can ensure all your hard work is aptly rewarded.

  • Boost DHEA with Relora

Popping a Relora or two post-workout can skyrocket the resiliency hormone DHEA.[i][ii] Higher DHEA is found in performance athletes and thought to allow the body to bounce back from stressors.

Post-workout Relora supplementation was found to boost DHEA levels in a matter of weeks. Be warned, however, the subsequent “recovery state” may leave you in need of a good nap!

  • Support Muscle Recovery with BCAA’s

Taking branch chain amino acids both during and post workout decreases DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and improves muscle growth over time.[iii] Since exercise creates micro tears in muscle, tendons, and ligaments, it makes sense that giving your body the building blocks it needs to repair those tears to be stronger than they were before the workout is a good practice in recovery.
Plus, BCAA’s are the broken-down version of a few amino acids in your complete protein. This means they hit your blood stream quickly and bypass any potential digestive issues that have been hindering your protein absorption.

  • Shorten Recovery Time with Antioxidants

The consumption of certain antioxidants during and after strenuous exercise has been shown to reduce muscle breakdown and promote a better inflammatory (recovery in our case) response.[iv][v][vi]

Cherries, tumeric, and lobster all contain extremely beneficial antioxidants (Anthocyanins, Curcumin, Astraxanthan) that will enhance your workout recovery. Don’t worry though. You won’t need to become a seafood chef just yet. Cherry-pure and Astraxanthan are ingredients in our BCAA recovery complex, and we’ve already found the best curcumin supplement on the market for you. All you have to do is remember to take it after your workout.

  • Get Hot in the Sauna

There are countless benefits to jumping in the sauna after your workout.

Increased growth hormone[vii] is the most important since growth hormone is the most recovery-oriented hormone in your body. So go ahead, get sweaty.

  • Mindfully Calm Brain and Body

A brief bout of meditation can do amazing things all by itself. [viii] However when paired with exercise, meditation synchronizes brain patterns for focus, wards off depression and seems to enhance the effects of exercise.[ix]

So instead of hastening back to your busy life, spend 15 minutes with focused breathing guiding you through a reflection on the purpose of your workouts and your accomplishments. Seriously, this is one of the few times you have my permission to sit still and reap the benefits.

  • Like. A. Boss.

There is no question that proper sleep is paramount for exercise recovery. The trick is actually getting good sleep.

Follow these tips for recovery. And if you’re in a place in life that sleep isn’t very realistic right now, follow these tips for an effective workout even without proper sleep.

  • Keep Moving

When you finish an amazing workout and everything hurts the next day, don’t spend the day sitting around watching Netflix.

During recovery, tissues are rebuilding and that can be a painful process. However, the less you move, the less mobile those tissues will be during repair. To maintain flexibility and ultimately teach your body to roll with the punches, aim to get your daily 10,000 steps. Just keep your activities less intense than the day before.

Recover Harder


“Don’t wish for it, work for it” is on display in my house to remind myself, my wife, and my son that nothing in life worth having comes easy. And that dreams are only as powerful as the actions you take to bring them about.

“Work hard and recover harder” should also be displayed in our home to remind everyone of the need to balance diligence with proper rest.

In order to be strong, healthy, energetic and fit, we all need to put our goals into action and then give our bodies and minds adequate resources to recover.

Keep in mind: recovery is where the magic happens.

[1] Talbott SM, Talbott JA, Pugh M. Effect of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (Relora®) on cortisol and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2013;10:37. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-37.
[1] Increased free cortisol secretion after awakening in chronically stressed individuals due to work overload. Stress Medicine 1998; 14:91-97.
[1] Shimomura Y, Murakami T, Naoya Nakai N, Nagasaki M, Harris RA (2004). “Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle during Exercise”J. Nutr. 134 (6): 1583S–1587S. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
[1] A O’Connor, S Simbo, et. Al. Powdered tart cherry supplementation moderates post-exercise immunosuppression, total cholesterol, and antioxidant status with no effect on performance recovery following an acute bout of intense lower body resistance exercise. A O’Connor, S Simbo, et. Al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2014 11(Suppl 1):P32. DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-S1-P32.
[1] Fassett, Robert G.; Coombes, Jeff S. (2009). “Astaxanthin, oxidative stress, inflammation and cardiovascular disease”. Future Cardiology 4 (3): 333–342.doi:10.2217/fca.09.19PMID 19656058.
[1] Hsu, C. H.; Cheng, A. L. (2007). “Clinical studies with curcumin”. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 595: 471–480. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_21ISBN 978-0-387-46400-8PMID 17569225.
[1] Ftaiti F, Jemni M, Kacem A, Zaouali MA, Tanbka Z, et al. Effect of hyperthermia and physical activity on circulating growth hormone. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008;33(5):880-887
[1] B L Alderman, R L Olson, C J Brush, and T J Shors. MAP training: combining meditation and aerobic exercise reduces depression and rumination while enhancing synchronized brain activity. Department of Exercise Science, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Received 5 October 2015; Revised 1 December 2015; Accepted 5 December 2015
The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.
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