The Importance of Recovery

February 22, 2012

Often when we have fitness goals, we focus on the activities getting us there and neglect the recovery needed. When we exercise muscle damage, fluid loss and energy depletion are evident, the magnitude of which correlates directly with the volume and intensity of the exercise session.1Without paying careful attention to recovery, signs of overtraining can become evident leading to a decrease in health, wellbeing and performance.

Here are some tips to maximise your gains and avoid the negative effects of overtraining.


An athlete in full training requires between 4-10 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body weight per day to satisfy the energy demands of their activities,2 and if properly managed, all of the macronutrients required can be gained from a well-balanced diet including lean meats, salad vegetables, dairy products or yoghurt, and fruits. So I would advise if you are exercising more than once a day, you will require immediate refuelling of your glycogen stores maybe as much as 1g/kg to ensure sufficient available substrate for your next workout. A great post workout snack may include a mixture of fruits, dairy products and sports drinks.


It is important to make sure all fluids lost during a bout of exercise are replaced within 2-4 hours. It is recommended that 1.5 x the water lost is consumed to compensate for the continued sweating post effort while the body returns to its resting temperature.3 A great way of calculating fluid required is to weigh yourself before and after your session; if you lost kg that equates to L of water, so replace this with 750mL!


Growth Hormone (hGH) that is responsible for muscle repair and hypertrophy is released during deep sleep. Waking in this time will disrupt the production of hGH as well as leaving you tired and cranky.4Try to aim for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, in a dark quiet room, and avoid napping during the day.

By remembering to balance these variables in your exercise plan, you can expect to be at peak performance!


1. Presland, J, 2011, Recovery, Activate, 3, pp22-24

2. Marsh, D, 2011, Periodisation of carbohydrate and energy in team sports, Activate, 3, pp25

3. Presland, J, 2011, Recovery, Activate, 3, pp22-24

4. Presland, J, 2011, Recovery, Activate, 3, pp22-24

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

About the Author

David is a Fitness Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness NSW

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