Maximize Your Post-Workout Recovery with the Best Exercise Recovery Techniques

Rest and recovery after exercise is essential to muscle and tissue repair, strength building and subsequent performance. This is even more important after an intensive workout.

There are many types of recovery techniques that can impact perceived fatigue, muscle damage, and inflammatory markers after physical exercise.

These are the best methods. However, there is no best method for everyone. Choose a recovery modality that is best suited to your individual training schedules, preferences, facilities and equipment.

Get Adequate Sleep.  Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. Sleeping is the body’s most natural way to take care of the recovery and provides time for the muscles to grow and repair.  Keep track of your sleep duration and quality and then assess and make a plan if necessary. So nap, sleep in or whatever it takes to get enough sleep.

Rest. Time is one of the best ways to recover. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself if you allow it some time.

Avoid Overdoing Your Workout. One simple way to recover faster is by ensuring your workout is within your capacity and build up gradually to harder workouts. Trying to do too much immediately without a gradual progression for your body and muscle groups will limit your fitness gains from your workouts and undermine your recovery efforts.

Massage seems to be an effective method for reducing delayed onset muscle soreness and perceived fatigue. You can also try foam rolling self-myofascial release like shown here. Or use a massage stick.

Cooling Down means slowing down (not stopping completely) after exercise. Continuing to move around at a low intensity (gentle stretching or walking for instance) for 5 to 10 minutes after finishing your workout.

Replace Fluids You lose a lot of fluid during a long workout and ideally, you should be replacing it during the workout, and filling up after exercise is an easy way to assist  your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function.

Eat Properly.  A long workout will deplete your energy stores, you need to refuel to replace this energy, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. Ideally, you should get serious about pre-workout nutrition, eat during exercise and eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein (15-25 grams) and complex carbohydrate.

Fueling for Performance for Hiking and Mountaineering

Fueling Up to Maximize Your Workout Muscle Growth and Recovery

This nutrition advice was written for my professional ballet clients but is applicable to all athletes. If you would like additional personalized advice, contact me.

Stretch. After a tough workout, consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover. Here is a 6 minute yoga stretch video performed by one of my interns.

Perform Active Recovery. Easy, gentle movement including low intensity walking improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.

Take an Ice Bath, Ice massage or contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) may help recovery. If you are interested in exploring this further, look at some credible meta-analysis study articles.

Compression Garments may be beneficial to recovery process. The type, when to put them on, for how long depends on what type of exercise you do. If you are interested in exploring this further, look at some credible meta-analysis study articles.

Listen to Your Body. The main thing you can do to recover quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, irritable, have a higher than normal resting heart rate, are sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from workout altogether.


Progressive Hiking Schedule Snoqualmie Region

Mailbox Peak Summit September 2019

The benefits of hiking are numerous. Hiking improves physical fitness, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and improves mood and enhances mental wellbeing.

I suggest progressively increasing the difficulty of your hikes. If you are training for a backpacking trip or a mountain summit, it is best to start training in earnest at least 8 weeks before a backpack trip or 6-8 months before a summit.  Prior to that, it really helps to start with a good base of cardiovascular exercise such as moderate walking, jogging, biking and thus already have basic conditioning. If you do not have this base, a 12-16 week progressive build-up to pre-trip hiking fitness is more appropriate.

Training helps you enjoy the hike, backpacking or summit climb. You are more relaxed and fully present to appreciate your surroundings if you are not under the physical and psychological stress of being overwhelmed with the effort of hiking.

Some of these hikes are not accessible during the winter season. Check WTA.Org for trail reports, weather reports, directions and pass requirements.

Maria Faires’ Progressive Hike Schedule Snoqualmie Region

Hike Mileage RT elevation gain Feet/mile elevation gain High Point Difficulty Rating
Rattlesnake Ledge 4 1160 580 2,078 16
Margaret’s Way 5.5 1500 545 1,730 17
Tiger 3 5 2,100 840 2,525 22
Poo Poo via Chirico 3.8 1,760 926 1,850 23
Talapus/Ollallie Lake Exit 45 6.2 1220 394 3780 12
Annette Lake 7.5 1400 373 3600 15
Olallie Lake via Pratt Lake Trail Exit 47 6 na na na 15
Poo Poo Via High School 8 1700 425 na 15
Kamikaze Falls 6 1420 473 2370 16
Little Si 4.7 1,300 553 1,550 16
Snow Lake 7.2 1700 472 1830 17
Cable Line- West Tiger 3 3.0 2022 1348 2522 31
Twin Lakes & Lillian Lake 9 2000 445 5300 18
Pratt Lake Basin 11 2300 418 4100 19
Melakwa Lake 8.5 2600 611 4600 21
Mason Lake 6.5 2420 744 4320 22
West Tiger Four-Summit Loop 9.6 2830 na 2948 22
Mt. Si 8 3150 787 3900 24
Bandera 8 3400 850 5240 26
Mt. Washington Exit 38 Ollalie 8.5 3250 764 4450 24
McClellan Butte 9 3700 822 5162 26
New Mailbox 9.4 4,000 851 4,822 27
Granite Mountain 7.6 3,658 962 5629 28
Old Mailbox 5.2 4000 1538 4882 37
Camp Muir Mt. Rainier 8 4,600 920 10,080 32
Camp Muir to Summit 4,330
Paradise to Mt. Rainier Summit (although typically done in 2 parts) 16 9010 1126 14,411 39

Hike Difficulty calculated using




Hiking Fitness by Melissa Ozbek, Author of 75 Great Hikes Seattle

Hiking Fitness by Melissa Ozbek Author of 75 Great Hikes Seattle 













Being physically prepared for a hike is important to help you complete a hike safely, have more endurance, prevent injuries, and set yourself up to have a fun, successful hike. Maria Faires, RD (, a personal trainer, outdoor fitness expert, registered dietitian, and active hiker, was kind enough to share some tips on hiking fitness below.

  • Be examined by a physician. Ask your physician about any special medical needs you might have or areas of concern. If you’re overweight, get the physician’s or a registered dietitian’s recommendation on how to lose weight through dieting and exercise.
  • Start with 20 minutes, 3x a week. Begin by walking, swimming, or biking for 20 minutes or more at least three to five times a week. Gradually increase your time and number of days to five times a week. Schedule a couple of five- to 10-mile day hikes. Gradually increase the weight of your backpack for even more benefits!
  • Take the stairs. If you don’t have a chance to hike outdoors as much as you’d like, find other options, like your gym, building, or neighborhood. Simply strap on a backpack for your next walk or carry a backpack while you’re on the treadmill or stairmaster. Gradually increase the incline of your treadmill walks to simulate hiking up rolling hills. Take the stairs during the day whenever possible: walking or running up and down them on a regular basis is terrific pre-trail training.
  • Add in strength training. Done properly, strength training challenges your other muscles by forcing them to adapt to the stress of the weights and become stronger (meaning they can help you to feel less worn out when you are hiking). For the greatest benefit, do a well-designed weight training program two to three times a week. Get a professional to teach you how to safely and effectively do strength training exercises. The muscle groups particularly important for hiking/climbing include the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors, adductors, the lower back, shoulders, rear delts, back, and calves. Add in the chest, biceps, triceps, and core too for a well-rounded program.
  • Stretch after your hike. Stretching will increase the range of movement in your joints. Stretch when your muscles are warm, either immediately after exercising or after a 5- 10 minute warm-up. Warm muscles will elongate more, i.e., the warm-up increases the elasticity of the muscle-tendon unit. Stretching when you are cold increases your risk of a pulled muscle.