Q: What tools do you most recommend to aid in recovery?
A: The most effective ways to recover are sleep and nutrition. In terms of sleep, if one has to use an alarm clock to get up in the morning then sleep is insufficient. The solution is to go to bed earlier. Most of us need around 8 hours each night; some need more. As for nutrition, the first order of business following a workout for most athletes is carbohydrate along with some protein. Beyond the initial recovery period (which may last several hours depending on the preceding workout) the most critical nutritional components are micronutrients - vitamins and minerals. In their order of micronutrient density, the best foods are vegetables, seafood and fruit. Again, sleep and nutrition should always be the first considerations when recovery is needed. Other commonly used passive recovery methods are massage, stretching, floating in water, alternating hot- and cold-water immersion, icing, leg elevation, compression stockings, pneumatic compression devices, and others. The benefits of some of these are not well-established by research, but all of these are commonly used by athletes of all abilities.