Active Recovery

Active Recovery…?

A few days ago was Day 3 of P90X3 – X3 Yoga and, by the end of the workout, I found myself remembering how important Active Recovery is to any workout regimen.  So important in fact,

I am 100% sure Active Recovery actually helped physically change my body composition.

By definition Active Recovery is any low intensity exercise done either right after a workout or after a strenuous training session and/or competition.


Active Recovery…To Be Or Not To Be?

For the purpose of this post I am not considering Active Recovery something you do right after a workout – I consider that a cool down.

 You may be asking, “What about your post-workout runs? What do you consider those?” Well my friends, more on that at a later date.

Active Recovery, as it will be addressed in this post, refers to the activity or activities one does on their “rest/off” days (i.e., the days one plans on recovering or resting from their regular strenuous workout routine).


Recuperation Is More Than Just Rest

Before starting my first round of P90X over a year and half ago I took my recovery/rest days as 100% rest days.  I mean I was pretty serious about resting as much as possible…and what did that get me….

….a bit of a belly shelf…and nice man boobs. – Photo Courtesy of Mr. R from

I quickly learned during P90X, and especially a few weeks into P90X2, that our body needs a bit more than just rest to recuperate –

our bodies need, probably more important than just rest, blood flow too.

Getting our blood flowing helps recovery so much that every P90X program includes Active Recovery which helps prevent injury and soreness…which, in turn, allows you to go hard every workout.


Soreness Does Not = Progress

A few weeks into doing P90X I realized that I was gaining mass and strength without feeling the soreness I was accustomed to feeling post strength-training sessions.

At first I was a bit nervous I was not truly making progress.  You see, I had always associated muscle aches/tenderness, and still do really, with the break-down and building of muscle fiber.  BUT, though that may be true about soreness, the fact is we don’t have to feel the soreness to be making improvements.


As a matter of fact, for me, the lack of soreness meant greater results!

After weeks of practicing Active Recovery I noticed I was going 100% on every move during every workout.

Long gone were the days of backing off a bit because I was too sore.  And, even though I was not experiencing the soreness I used to equate with progress, I was doing more pull-ups, lifting heavier weights, and running longer and quicker than ever before.

You see, if, instead of feeling sore or tender, you feel energized and 100% at the beginning of every workout then you’ll be able to go 100%, and feel 100% 100% of the time.

So please make sure to include Active Recovery 100% of the time!  If that ain’t easy Math I don’t know what is.


Why Does Active Recovery Work?

Active Recovery works because;

  1. It gets our blood flowing
  2. Our blood is what transports our nutrition
  3. Our nutrition is what helps us recuperate
  4. Recuperation is what allows us to go 100% 100% of the time…and there’s that Math again.


So, Active Recovery Is?

Active Recovery is anything that gets your blood flowing.

Active Recovery can be a nice stroll around the park, a pleasant walk to your local ice cream shop, a relaxing bike ride around your neighborhood, yoga, meditation, Frisbee in the backyard, a trip to the batting cages, Pilates, a basketball pick-up game, stretching while watching your favorite TV show, etc.

The important thing to note is that Active Recovery should be something you don’t mind doing, or, better yet, something you LOVE doing, which both;

  1. Gets your blood flowing to the body parts needing recovery
  2. Helps relieve a bit of stress…which in turn helps promote recovery (i.e., Active Recovery = A Win, Win…this post is full of Math!)