Design Your World for Recovery

New York City, The City that Never Sleeps

The past few days have been all about recovery for me. I spent the weekend delivering roughly 16 hours of material at my genMAX seminar here in NYC and nothing empties my energy stores more than this. Two years ago when I gave my first presentation, it was only eight hours but it buried me. I was dead for several days afterwards. So when I started doing two-day courses, I knew I had to be really locked in to make it through and make it through with plenty of energy. This is why I have designed my world for recovery and it's something that you should do too.

As strength coaches, we typically think about recovery in terms of what we can do in the weight room or simply just programming a day off. Some of the more progressive coaches may build some active recovery activities into their programs but there is so much room for improvement here. Here are some things that I do to make sure my body recovers before, during and after my seminars.

  1. HRV Readiness: I take my HRV score every day. It gives me a snapshot of how my body is functioning on that day and how ready I am to handle stress. By 9am on Saturday (the start time for genMAX), I want to be as close to a 10 out of 10 as I can be. So monitoring this score and understanding how to influence it has been critical in my recovery. You can learn more about what the HRV test is all about here and you can read about the driver of HRV, the Vagus Nerve, here.
  2. The Ritz Carlton Bathroom: Every genMAX participant has heard about the Ritz Carlton bathroom. When I worked in the NBA, I was fortunate enough to have stayed in several Ritz Carlton hotels. The bathrooms in these joints were spectacular. When I would come home to my own bathroom, it was nothing but disappointment in comparison. So I did my best to recreate the Ritz experience at home. I picked up some matching burgundy towels, rugs and shower curtains. I bought a really interesting log that has a long crack in it where dim, relaxing light shoots out. I bought reed diffusers, high end soap and a rainfall shower head. I bought a succulent plant to sit in there. I even included a wall mount for my iPad since most of these hotels have some ability to watch TV in the bathroom. Now when I use this bathroom, it is so relaxing to use that I know it helps down-regulate my system.
    The Ritz Carlton Hotel
  3. Body Lotion: I use the good stuff. Not the huge tub of vaseline from the supermarket. I make it a scent that I love. My favorite scent is vanilla so it's usually something like that. Just like I preach the power of our sensory input from the visual and auditory system, the olfactory system is the same. If I can use smell to turn up my recovery, then I'm doing something right.
  4. Scented Candles: Keeping on theme with the olfactory system, I use my favorite scents (still vanilla) to help my recovery. Nothing fancy here. Light it and enjoy it.
  5. Amish Hour: This is my newest invention. This is where I pretend that I am an Amish person for one hour.  This means no technology whatsoever.  No lights, no TV, no phone, nothing. I find this to be wildly helpful when I have spent a day inundated with technology and screens. I tried this one time randomly and loved it so much that I use it regularly now. I will say that one hour is great but I have noticed a dramatic improvement around the two and a half hour mark. So if you really want to let it rip, try doing the Amish THREE hours.
  6. Great Nutrition: At the end of the day, is there really anything better and more impactful than nutrition?  Saturday night, after my seminar is the healthiest I ever eat. Fruit and veggie smoothies, tons of water and a vegetable soup swimming in bone broth is my go-to meal. I want to load up on as many nutrients as possible. I will also make sure throughout the day I am drinking water and crushing a protein bar during the breaks so that I'm never running too low. 

Having implemented these ideas for several seminars now, I feel DRAMATICALLY better on Sunday and after the weekend on Monday. My intent with this article is to illustrate how easy it is to find more recovery and how important it is to not only think about it in terms of the weight room. Give some of these a shot and let me know how you feel after. When you go home, recovery is what it's all about. So design your world to make sure you are recovery. 

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