1: Eat adequate high-quality calories. A state of over-training and a low-fat, energy-restricted diet have one thing in common: A catabolic environment that does nothing for recovery.
2: Ensure hydration. For years, water was the number-one supplement. Drink at least 0.7 ounces per pound of bodyweight.
3: Eat high-quality protein and fat at every meal. For carbs, favor plant-based nutrient-rich carbs to counter inflammation. This means meat, eggs, nuts, saturated fats, olives, avocado, coconut, and a boatload of veggies and berries.
4: Increase intake of amino acids. Favor foods that provide at least 10 grams of essential amino acids at every meal.
5: Take about 20 grams of fast-digesting whey protein with training. Whey has a superior content of BCAAs, but also provides non-essential aminos for faster tissue repair.
6: Eat foods high in zinc such as meat and shellfish (oysters are highest). Zinc is critical for recovery because it boosts glutathione, which accelerates the removal of waste produced during training and stress.
7: Eat antioxidant-rich fruits such as blueberries, pomegranate, kiwi, and pineapple to help repair muscle damage and reduce inflammation.
8: Add concentrated tart cherry juice to water post-workout because it reduces muscle pain, accelerates recovery, and enhances sleep.
9: Eliminate alcohol other than red wine because it slows the removal of waste products from the body and causes oxidative stress. It also elevates aromatase, which leads to imbalances in estrogen and testosterone that impede progress.
10: Actively support estrogen metabolism. Excess estrogen inhibits fat loss and causes imbalanced hormones for slower recovery.
11: Eat cruciferous veggies with every meal because they are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and contain a compound called DIM that helps the body metabolize estrogen.
12: Be ruthless about limiting chemical estrogen exposure. Chemical estrogens are man-made compounds that mimic estrogen if they get in your body. They have been linked to cancer, and some, such as BPA, can increase body fat.
13: Favor organic foods and avoid ingesting estrogenic pesticides and growth hormones because they raise your toxic load, impeding the removal of waste for a delayed recovery.
14: Support your body’s pH to improve liver health. The liver is involved in fat metabolism and waste removal. Add citrus to water, and eat egg yolks and cruciferous veggies—both contain nutrients that help the liver metabolize fat.
15: Boost selenium intake because it reduces oxidative stress and aromatase (which turns estrogen into testosterone). Fish and shellfish are high in selenium.
16: Take carnitine to support fat metabolism and improve hormone balance of testosterone and estrogen. Beef is packed with carnitine, and chicken and whole dairy contains small quantities, which is the reason most people supplement.
17: Get adequate vitamin D because it supports hormone balance for recovery and appears to improve neuromuscular strength. Keep your level above 40 ng/ml year-round.
18: Balance your intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fats by avoiding vegetable oils (corn, soy, canola, peanut, vegetable blends) in favor of saturated fats, olive oil, fish, and meat.
19: Take fish oil post-workout to enhance recovery, reduce cortisol, and lower the acute inflammatory response.
20: Take 2 to 10 grams of vitamin C post-workout to help metabolize cortisol.
21: Try 400 mg of phosphatidyl serine (PS) post-workout when you need to be at your best cognitively. PS helps metabolize cortisol and improves brain function.
22: Eat nutrient-rich foods at every meal to ensure you are getting a consistent protective dose of compounds that help eradicate inflammation: Try dark leafy green vegetables, artichokes, beans, walnuts, pecans, olive oil, dark chocolate, raspberries, and many spices such as turmeric and cinnamon.
23: Generally avoid high-glycemic carbs because these can impede cortisol metabolism and lower testosterone. The one exception is post-workout if you’ve depleted glycogen stores with very intense training.
24: Eliminate sugar it causes the largest insulin spike of all foods. The effect of eating sugar regularly is a poor testosterone to cortisol ratio. High-sugar foods also inhibit estrogen metabolism.
25: Dose 10 grams of glutamine a few times a day to boost the immune system and speed recovery.
26: Do foam rolling post-workout because it’s been found to decrease pain feedback from the spinal cord.
27: Get a massage. It increases drainage of waste products from cells, stimulates receptors in the skin and may speed recovery.
28: Use topical curcumin to improve cell repair and reduce inflammation in the muscles post-workout.
29: Apply topical magnesium to aid muscle healing. It helps buffer lactic acid and interacts with the calcium that accumulates during intense muscle contractions for a faster recovery.
30: Take elemental magnesium (bound with glycinate, ororate, fumarate) to reduce oxidative stress, calm the nervous system, and aid sleep.
31: Take taurine to accelerate recovery from muscle-damaging training. Taurine decreases oxidative stress and is a relaxant, supporting sleep and recuperation.
32: Avoid anti-inflammatory drugs because they have a negative effect on protein synthesis and cause intestinal leakage, elevating inflammation.
33: Drink caffeinated coffee (3 to 4 cups) pre-workout to reduce muscle soreness (DOMS) from intense training. Pre-workout caffeine also restores strength loss after heavy lifting so that you can train at a high intensity more frequently.
34: Avoid coffee in the immediate post-workout period because it may inhibit the clearance of cortisol, delaying recovery.
35: Don’t skip your warm-up. Spend 10 to 15 minutes warming up by lightly using the same muscles you will train: This activates the central nervous system and pre-conditions the muscles to reduce muscle soreness post-workout.
36: To reduce muscle pain on the days after a damaging workout, do a moderate intensity concentric-only workout.
37: Listen to pleasurable music during the immediate post-workout period because this can help calm the autonomic nervous system and speed clearance of lactate.
38: Do meditation: It can help clear cortisol and reduce the stress response post-workout. It’s also been found to increase testosterone, growth hormone, and DHEA.
39: Sleep! Shoot for more than 10 hours of sleep—really! Athletes who get at least that much experience accelerated recovery for greater strength, speed, and precision.
40: Sleep according to your natural tendency to be a “morning” or “evening” person. Adhering to “chronotype” will enhance central nervous and muscle recuperation, also improving the testosterone to cortisol ratio.