The Ultimate Training Recovery Resource


Sean posted the blog below as a snapshot summary of a full length article he was working on for Training & Conditioning magazine, which was published digitally on October 20, 2015. Below he emphasizes the importance of recovery for athletes in all forms. For a more thorough analysis of the science and technique, specific to training and recovery for high-intensity and elite athletes, read the full version of Best Foot Forward here: http://bit.ly/trainingandconditioning.  

Sean Muldoon, MSEd, CSCS, is Co-Founder of brüks bars, and Assistant Strength Coach/Sports Scientist. When he wrote the article, he was in his third year as Sports Performance Coach for the University of North Carolina-Charlotte men’s soccer team.



At brüks bars, we are INTO fitness: run, lift, yoga, spin class, you name it. In fact, aside from slangin’ bars, training athletes is how I make a living. I know, no matter how you choose to stay fit, we all go through ups and downs in training, whether it be injuries, plateaus, over training, or not having a goal in mind. Above all, what I’ve found to be the most frequently neglected aspect of training, is proper workout recovery. It’s not exciting, it’s not glamorous, and it doesn’t have any trendy hashtags, but without it, the most bad ass training in the world will do no good if your body is too beat up or tired to perform.

Recovery Priorities

Kate Wheeler eats a brüks bar while training for her 5th Ironman.Proper workout recovery training is like the food pyramid. The foundation at the base is composed of sleep and nutrition. They are the staples that every athlete has 100% control over. They also have BY FAR the biggest impact on recovery and subsequent training. In fact, athletes that slept less than 8 hours per night had a 1.7 times greater risk of being injured than those that slept more than 8! Food not only fuels our performance but as our body breaks down from the stresses of training those same foods repair our tissues and become part of our new better body.

After the foundation is: corrective exercises, mobility drills, and soft tissue work. The barrier to complete these is still fairly low as anyone can utilize these tactics, which don’t require much time, but they do require a bit of knowledge, or instruction. They can all be done in most homes or gyms and thanks to books/internet/podcasts there is an abundance of information available. One of my go to resources is Kelly Starrett’s YouTube channel.

As we move up the pyramid, workout recovery begins to get more specific with tools like subjective wellness questionnaires, fitness tracking apps like Nike +, and expensive modalities like the Marc Pro or Normatec. Items in this section are quite compartmentalized, they do an excellent job at targeted jobs, (i.e., tracking calories burned, distance covered, current mood, stimulating the lymphatic system, etc.) but aren’t the most bang for your buck

At the very top of the pyramid, we get into advanced measuring tools like Omegawave that uses an algorithm and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to measure Central Nervous System fatigue, athlete load monitoring via GPS and heart rate monitors that give objective data on the intensity of training (i.e. number of changes of direction, time spent in high intensity heart rate zones, velocity of runs, asymmetrical power differences), blood/urine analysis of hormonal response, and cryotherapy.

The Takeaway

The two things that are the most cost effective and have the biggest impact on your performance also happen to be the things you can control— your sleep and nutrition. Without

getting into higher-level nutrition best practices, here’s a simple checklist that will take you where you want to go, if done regularly:

  • 8-10 hours of quality sleep per night
    • If that isn’t possible then squeeze in a nap, no longer than 90 minutes. Even 15 minutes can positively impact your day
    • Use a free app like Sleepbot to monitor total hours and sleep quality
  • Limit screen time immediately before bed and upon waking for at least 15 minutes
  • Set a regular sleep and waking schedule so your body can get into its natural rhythm
  • Have your post workout shake/meal within 30 minutes of exercise completion
    • Should be protein and carbs in a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4
  • Have a proper meal within 2 hours of training that is composed of mostly proteins and carbs with a little bit of healthy fat
  • Maintain steady protein intake throughout the day and especially before bed
  • DON’T SKIP MEALS… plan ahead if you know food will be hard to come by
  • Stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle and drink to your thirst.

So, before going out to buy the next gadget or studying what the World Cup Champion German National Team is doing just ask yourself, “Am I consistently practicing the basics really well?” If not, that’s a great place to start.

Until next time,

Coach Sean

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