I don’t care how often you train.

I don’t care how hard you train.

None of it matters if you’re not able to recover properly…

As I said in a recent Instagram post, “an athlete’s best quality is availability.”


We all know that guy or girl who has all the skill and athleticism in the world, but can’t seem to stay in one piece.

“He could’ve been great…”

Why not actually BE great?

If you can’t show up day in and day out ready to perform when it counts, now amount of skill, sprint speed, vertical jump, or strength will save you.

Even if you can muster up the willpower to “push through it” and “suck it up…”

By no means is that optimal. And if you’re putting in all of this time and effort, don’t you want to get the most out of it?

Good; I thought so.

Now, I’m not telling you to wrap yourself in bubblewrap and never step foot in the gym. That would be just as pointless.

The real magic happens when you are able to recover well enough to be able to train with intensity and sustain that over the course of your career.

You don’t need ice baths; you don’t need fancy supplements; you don’t need a float tank; you don’t need fancy supplements…

You don’t need any of that.

In this article, I’m going to teach you five EASY strategies that you can implement right now to optimize your recovery so you can push yourself as hard as you truly want to.

Strategy #1: Eat enough damn food.

You have no idea how many athletes come to me under eating.

While 2500 calories may be enough to sustain someone with a light to moderate activity load and no serious performance goals, it is by no means enough to support optimal performance (especially in high intensity modalities).

Just to put it in perspective, back when I was playing basketball I was eating ~4000 calories a day and losing weight.

A D1 offensive lineman that I worked with was eating upwards of 5500 calories per day and maintaining.

Now, that’s an extreme example but it proves the point. 

Quite literally, food is fuel. The calories that your body derives from food is used as energy to fuel activities like your sport.

If your not giving yourself enough fuel, you’re not going to perform optimally.

You’ll lack energy in your training session(s).

You’ll lack the raw materials to rebuild and recover between training sessions and competitions.

Not only that, but being in a calorie deficit is a stressor to your body. Why add another list to the plethora of stressors that your body endures as an athlete?

Also, worth noting: YOU GET TO EAT MORE FOOD!

Take advantage of that instead of unnecessarily restricting yourself!

How many calories do you actually need to be eating to achieve peak performance?

As always, it depends. However, a good starting point is to take your bodyweight and multiply it by 16.

For example, a 200lb individual would be eating 3200 calories per day, minimum.

Honestly, this is on the lower end of the range. After monitoring your performance (strength in lifts, times, endurance, etc) over a couple of days, reassess and decide if you need to increase.

If you’re losing weight, increase the calories methodically until you’re at least maintaining. I would recommend 100-200 calories every one to two weeks until you find that point.

Of course, over the course of the year you’ll periodize your nutrition. This article is referring to when performance is priority number one.

[To work with me and develop a periodized nutrition plan to maximize your own performance, APPLY HERE]

Step #2: Eat enough of the RIGHT food.

Eating enough is the first step.

Now you need to make sure to eat enough of the right food for YOU and YOUR performance.

I really want to emphasize the importance of carbohydrates in this section. Far too many well-meaning athletes forsake carbs because some social media guru convinced them that they were evil.

When it comes to performance, carbs are king.

They are your body’s primary fuel for high intensity activity. They are stored in your muscles as glycogen and are essentially rocket fuel for your performance. When you deprive yourself of them, you will not perform optimally in your workouts and your recovery will suffer.

Not only are they your body’s preferred fuel source, but they also play a key role in recovery. As I mentioned previously, training is a stressor.

Carbs directly combat that stress response by lowering levels of cortisol, a major stress hormone. By eating enough carbs and timing them correctly around your training sessions, you can usher your body from a state of stress and catabolism to a state of recovery at a much quicker pace.

The more quickly you’re able to transition into a recovery state after your training or competitions, the more of any opportunity your body will have to recover properly.

Now, when I say carbs, I don’t mean relying on bread, donuts, and cheesecake to fuel your recovery.

This seaways us nicely into the next point I want to make when it comes to eating the right food, which is regarding food quality.

While energy balance may trump food quality in terms of fueling performance, it cannot be forgotten if you hope to achieve peak performance.

Training intensely and frequently creates high amounts of stress and inflammation in the body.

When inflammation runs rampant, this leads to joint pain, injuries, illness… all of which you want to minimize to enjoy long term success as an athlete.

By eating a variety of high quality, micronutrient-dense foods you will provide your body with the tools to fight off this inflammation in the form of antioxidants.

On the other hand, if you’re relying on mostly processed junk, you’re adding wood to the fire.

As always, the 80/20 rule applies. If you’re truly looking to maximize performance, aim to get the vast majority of your food from high quality sources.

Look, some people can tolerate eating s****y and still seem to perform well. We all know that one guy. If that’s you, congrats (although I would ask the question, what if you did eat mostly high quality foods? Imagine how much better your performance could be).

If it’s not, you can keep trying to force the issue and complain about how you keep getting injured and just can’t seem to progress. Or you can make the necessary changes that will support your performance. The choice is yours…

As for how you can do this?

A simple (and cheesy) guideline to follow is to “eat the rainbow.”

The presence of certain colors in food indicates the presence of specific micronutrients. By eating a wide variety of colorful foods (fruits and veggies especially), you’ll ensure that you’re getting a wide variety of necessary micronutrients in your diet.

So, do yourself a favor and work with your body rather than against it!

Step #3: Get 8 hours of sleep every night.

It doesn’t matter if you have the best macro prescription or training program in the world…

If you’re not sleeping enough, you’re not maximizing performance.


If there was a drug or supplement that did everything for our body that sleep does, it would be priceless.

It impacts everything from physical recovery, muscle gain, fat loss, memory, mental health, mood, hunger/cravings, and soooo much more…

There are whole books written on the benefits of sleep.

In this article, I’m going to provide you with a few actionable strategies to get more of it.

If you’re only getting 5-6 hours a night, don’t worry. I don’t expect you to make the jump up to 8 right away.

All I want you to do this week is to get in bed 30 minutes earlier than you usually do. That’s it. I don’t care if you lay there wide awake, as long as your in bed (no phones, though).

If you have trouble falling asleep, try some of these tips:

-Limit screen time/electronics before bed. The blue light suppresses melatonin and the stimulation makes it difficult for your brain to calm down.

-Wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening. If you’re like me, banishing your phone simply isn’t going to happen. To combat this, I highly recommend ordering a pair of blue blockers to wear at night when you’re home chilling on the couch.

-Meditate 15 minutes before bed. This will allow you to calm yourself and get into bed relaxed, making it much easier to fall asleep.

-Take a warm shower 60 minutes before bed. Oddly enough, this helps to lower your body temperature and makes it easier for you to fall asleep.

-Keep you room cool (65-70 degrees Fahrenheit).

Each week, move your bedtime up 30 minutes until you’ve hit that 8 hour mark. Trust me, you’ll notice the difference.

Speaking from experience, when I prioritize sleep I simply feel so much better and perform better in the gym It’s no coincidence…

Step #4: Manage Lifestyle Stressors

Yes, arguing with your girlfriend is impacting your ability to perform in the gym, on the court, on the field, etc…

So is that project at work…

So is the credit card payment that you still need to make…

Just as we talked about how eating too little and training too much are stressors, so are all of these other lifestyle aspects.

Your body registers them all the same. Think of it like a bucket. Each stressor, no matter the source, fills up that bucket.

An inability to manage them properly will cause the bucket to overflow and undoubtedly harm your performance.

It’s important to note that some stressors simply cannot be gotten rid of. As much as I wish I could tell you to just forget about that difficult work project, that likely isn’t a possibility. Instead, focus on developing effective coping skills to manage these stressors.

Interestingly, your perception of stress greatly affects the impact it has on the body. For example, while you may be freaking out about that project, your coworker may not even blink an eye. And those two different perceptions will impact the way your body is affected.

Learning how to cope with lifestyle stressors will be a powerful tool that you can use to your advantage in terms of recovery. In this article, I’ll provide you with a toolbox from which you can select your tool, or tools, of choice:

Meditate. I promise, it works. It’s a little overhyped nowadays, but if you are consistent with it, it works wonders in managing stress and slowing down your mind. If you need help getting started, consider using an app like Headspace. Aim to start with just 5 minutes per day and then increase if desired. Honestly, I currently just do 5 minutes. It gets the job done for me; as always, it’s very individual.

Journal. Another cheesy one, I know. But, the cheesy stuff works. Just like with meditation, you don’t need to devote hours a day to journaling. It can be something that simply takes 5-10 minutes. Often times, getting your stresses out of your mind and onto a piece of paper will make a big difference in your perception of the stress.

Go for a walk. I do this every morning. Not only does it help get some low intensity movement in, but it’s also great for stress management. Vitamin D from the sun has a number of benefits for mental health. Some studies have indicated that the color green of plants also plays a role in stress management. From personal experience, starting my day with a walk outside has done wonders for me in terms of keeping a positive outlook the rest of the day.

Schedule fun time for yourself at least once a week. This one’s huge. I don’t do it nearly as much as I should (partly because working on stuff like this is fun for me lol). Nonetheless, taking time to do something that you truly enjoy that’s not at all related to work, school, or your sport is crucial for stress management. Hang out with a friend, go see a movie, binge watch Game of Thrones (personal favorite of mine), play vide games, etc..

Make a to-do list of 3-5 items each night. By being on top of what tasks you need to get done, you can avoid the stress and anxiety of overwhelm. Make this list at night before going to sleep, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re ready to kick ass the next day.

As you’ll notice, none of this have anything specifically to do with your particular sport or event.

But, they have everything to do with it.

Not only from a physiological perspective, but if you’re burnt out and frustrated all the time…

Good luck performing.

So, pick 1-2 of these tools and add them to your own stress management toolbox. Now, let’s get into the final strategy for today…

Step #5 Manage your training intensity intelligently.

You can’t only focus on training hard.

You must train smart as well.

I’ve left this one for the end because if you’ve implemented the previous four steps, you should be able to handle a relatively high training load. If you hope to achieve high levels of success in any sport, it’s a must.

However, running yourself into the ground will do you no good either.

It’s a very fine balance that you must strike between stress and recovery.

In some sense, you do have to push a little too far to know what that limit is for you (and to be able to expand that limit).

But I’m here to say that it’s okay (and necessary) to give yourself a break sometimes as well.

As an athlete, it’s really easy to get caught up in the “grind.”

Spending hours and hours in the gym, early mornings and late nights…

In today’s society, it’s pretty much glorified.

I’m here to challenge that.

To truly succeed, you need to be efficient with your time.

More is not better. Better is better.

By that second, and third, hour in the gym whatever reps you have left are typically half-assed and low quality. At that point you’re not getting much out of the training and probably harming your long term progress.

Instead, be in the gym 1-2 hours. But in those 1-2 hours be laser focused on the task at hand. Get the absolute most out of every single rep. By the end of those 2 hours, you’ll be far better off than if you’d have stayed another 2 hours going half-speed.

Also, you need to periodize your training. There are times in the year to go hard and times to pull back. I’m not going to speak too much on that because that is outside of my expertise; but simply be aware that it’s necessary.

Lastly, I suggest taking one complete off day per week.

In most cases, I recommend that you stay completely out of the gym. if you want to do “active recovery,” just go for a walk. For most athletes, an “active recovery” day in the gym leads to them overdoing it…

By taking a day off, you’re setting yourself up for success in the coming days. if you feel any guilt creeping in due to being out of the gym, remind yourself of that.

Remember, you’re playing the long game.

Wrapping It Up

I hope that by the end of this article, you have a solid foundation that will allow you to recover effectively from your training. As you’ll notice, none of these strategies are insanely complicated.

Sure, there are some supplements that may help recovery, you could do ice baths, contrast therapy, blah blah blah…

They all have some merit (I’ll definitely do an article on them in the future).

But, far too many athletes skip over the foundation to get to the fancy stuff. If you do that, your body becomes a house of cards that can collapse at any minute…

If you have any questions at all about the strategies outlined in this article or if you need help setting up your own blueprint to get you to the performance you’ve been after, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message! As always, I’m more than happy to help out :)

[APPLY here for a free discovery call]

If you’re trying to taking your performance and aesthetics to the next level…

Nutrient timing matters.

Before we get into exactly why it matters and exactly how you can implement it for yourself, let’s first clarify what “nutrient timing” actually is.

The concept of nutrient timing actually consists of two components:

  1. Meal timing
  2. Macronutrient timing

Meal timing encompasses how many meals you eat per day, as well as the time of day at which you eat them.

Macro timing refers to the timing of specific macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) intentionally at certain times throughout the day.

“I thought calories in vs. calories out was all that matters…”

Not quite.

Yes, I completely agree that you must prioritize total daily calorie and macronutrient intake before you so much as bat an eye at nutrient timing. I would also highly recommend that you’re ensuring that you’re getting enough micronutrients via high-quality foods before you explore nutrient timing.

However, I know that you’re looking to be the best you can be; and to fully optimize your nutrition plan (especially if you’re a competitive athlete) nutrient timing needs to be taken into consideration.


The combination of meal timing along with the timing of specific macros at specific times will enable you to optimize a number of variables that promote muscle gain, fat loss, and increased performance in the gym or on the field/court. These variables include (in no particular order):

-Muscle protein synthesis (MPS)

-Insulin sensitivity

-Glycogen replenishment

-Stress management/recovery

-Digestive health

-Circadian rhythm

-Sleep quality

If one of these terms doesn’t ring a bell, sit tight. We’ll go much more in-depth into each of these variables as I take you step by step through how you can implement these tactics for yourself, just like I do with my online coaching clients.

Now, let’s get into the three-step process of how you’re going to be able to utilize nutrient timing to maximize your results…

Step 1: Determine the number of meals you’ll eat during the day.

Ahhhh… the age old question:

“How many times should I eat during the day?”

Short answer: It depends.

If you listen to the calories in vs. calories out (CICO) zealots, they’ll tell you that it doesn’t matter at all and you can eat as often or as infrequent as you’d like. While there is some truth to that, it doesn’t tell us the whole story.

The CICO perspective 100% holds true in the lens of solely weight gain and loss. What it doesn’t take into consideration is the type of weight gained/lost.

While on the surface you may want to gain or lose “weight,” if we look a little deeper we’ll likely find that you want to gain muscle and lose fat. The number of meals you have throughout the day can have somewhat of an influence on this.

How, you might ask?

Enter, muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

MPS is one of the key indicators of muscle growth. It’s stimulated by the ingestion of protein, specifically the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) in protein (leucine, in particular). While meal frequency doesn’t affect total weight gain/loss, it can play a role in optimizing MPS, therefore optimizing muscle growth.

Now let me just say that the statement that meal frequency affects MPS comes with the assumption that you’re consuming some sort of protein source with each meal (more on this later), as you should be.

And research has indicated that the optimal frequency of protein consumption to stimulate MPS seems to be 3-5 servings of protein throughout the day.

Because of that, I usually recommend that my clients eat 3-5 times per day assuming all things normal.

It’s important to understand that muscle protein synthesis isn’t the only thing to take into consideration when determining your meal frequency. Digestion and nutrient absorption is also extremely important to look at.

Simply put, it doesn’t matter how many calories you eat if your body can’t absorb and use them effectively!

When it comes to this side of things, a good measure of how it’s working for you is simply how you feel.

If you feel full and bloated when you eat 3 larger meals per day, try eating 4 or 5 smaller ones. The same is true if your digestion feels off if you are eating several small meals throughout the day.

This topic leads us nicely into the next step…

Step 2: When do I eat my meals?

Again, the CICO crowd will have you believe that it doesn’t matter when you eat as long as the calories are equated for.

Ohhh how I love when people brag about eating Oreos and ice cream right before bed…

Step 2 is actually going to be broken down into 2A and 2B.

Step 2A is determining your eating window for the entire day. While many people ride the Intermittent Fasting bandwagon wayyyy too hard, I do believe everyone should “fast” for ~10-12 hours a day.

Before you freak out, 10-12 hours is not long at all. To do this, simply stop eating ~2 hours before bed and wait to have breakfast for an hour or so after waking up. Nothing crazy here.

Now, why am I suggesting that you stop eating ~2 hours before bed?

See when you’re getting ready for bed, your body temperature naturally declines as you descend into sleep.

However, when you eat a meal your body temperature rises!

So you’re essentially going against your body’s natural signals and making it more difficult for you to get to sleep and achieve high quality sleep.

I understand that implementing this right off the bat may be quite the change from your normal habits, so don’t worry! If you enjoy eating closer to bed time and it makes it easier for you to hit your total daily intake, then try to have that last bite within 30-60min of going to bed. As always, pay attention to how it works for you. If you notice your sleep is suffering, this may be a place for you to look!

And like I mentioned, for breakfast simply wait 30-60 minutes after waking up if possible! Especially if you’re drinking water upon waking to rehydrate; you don’t want to chug a liter and then eat a full meal. That’s digestive issues waiting to happen, lol.

And as for how much time you should keep between meals, I typically recommend every 3-4 hours. I find personally that when I eat every 2 hours I feel like I’m constantly eating. Not only does this make my gut feel off, but it takes away from my productivity throughout the day! Again, this is going to take some trial and error on your part to figure out what works best for you.

If you are training on a given day, pre/post-workout meal timing is relatively important as well. Typically, a good baseline for when to eat pre workout is 90 minutes prior to training (more on the composition of this meal later). If you find yourself feeling full/bloated going into the session, either push back the meal another 30min or decrease the amount of calories in the meal.

Post-workout, aim to get a meal in within 1-2 hours of training. While the “anabolic window” in which you must eat 15 minutes after your last rep is simply a myth, it is important to get a solid meal in relatively soon after your session (especially if you are an athlete training multiple times per day!).

If you’re looking to maximize muscle gain and performance, you may want to consume a protein/carb drink immediately post workout.

Alright! That essentially covers when you should eat. Now let’s get into what those meals should consist of…

Step 3: Macronutrient Timing

As mentioned previously, macronutrient timing is the timing of specific macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) intentionally at certain times throughout the day.

Now that you now when you’re eating, we can construct those meals accordingly.

First order of business is to determine the amount of calories you need per meal. A good starting point for this is to simply take your total daily intake and divide it by the number of meals you’re eating daily (ex: 2000cals/4meals = 500cals per meal).

Like I said, this is a starting point, as you go, you’ll be able to fine tune things yourself (or with the help of a coach) and see what really works best for you.

For example, you may enjoy a larger breakfast; so you’ll simply go ahead and allow more calories for breakfast and take away from another meal.

Got it? Good.

Now let’s move on to protein. It’s a very similar approach to calories, actually. Take your total daily protein goal and divide it by the number of meals you’re eating daily. (ex: 200g/4 meals = 50g per meal).

Typically, you want to eat a minimum of 30-40g of protein per meal to maximize muscle protein synthesis. While 40g seems to be the max for stimulating MPS, going over this amount will NOT detriment your gains!!! Your body will absorb it. Don’t worry about all the supplement company marketing BS you’ve heard :)

You should be having protein with every single meal. Rarely is there ever a case where you should not be eating protein with a given meal.

Now that we’ve got protein down, it’s time to tackle carbs and fat. This is where it gets interesting…

We can manipulate your amount of carbs and fats in each meals throughout the day to maximize workout performance, muscle gain, fat loss, energy levels, and more.

In order to maximize insulin sensitivity, it can be very beneficial to time the majority of your carbs around your training session.

Just so we’re on the same page, insulin sensitivity refers to your body’s ability to effectively shuttle nutrients from your blood into your cells. Insulin is the chief anabolic hormone that makes the magic happen. Carbohydrates elicit a relatively high insulin response from your body. When you are constantly promoting the release of insulin into your bloodstream by taking in very high amounts of carbohydrates throughout the whole day for months and years on end, your body will become resistant to insulin. This means that it will take more and more insulin to achieve the same result, until your body simply can’t keep up.

Training helps to boost your insulin sensitivity, so timing your carbohydrates around your workouts is beneficial in ensuring that your body is able to effectively use them as fuel and for recovery.

Of course, if you are eating a very high amount of carbs (350+ grams per day), you may have a difficult time doing this. If that’s the case, insulin sensitivity probably isn’t numero uno on your priorities list. If you’re in the high-carb camp, you’ll want to make sure you’re prioritizing nutritional periodization (that’s a topic for another blog ;) ).

But, assuming all things normal, carb timing around your workouts will be very beneficial to your progress in the gym and in the mirror. As a general rule of thumb consume 50-75g of carbs in your pre-workout meal. In your immediate post-workout meal consume a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbs:protein. For example, if you consume 40g of protein, you’d consume 80-120g of carbs.

It’s important to note that the carb source in the post-workout meal should be predominantly a more “starchy” carb source like rice, potatoes, etc rather than fruit! The reasoning behind this is that the carbs from starches are going to be stored as muscle glycogen, whereas many of the carbohydrates from fruit are going to be stored as liver glycogen. Of course, you can still include fruit in your post-workout shake! Just make sure you’re not relying on it as your sole source of post-workout carbs.

As for fat, it’s essentially the opposite. You’re going to want to eat the majority of your fat intake outside of the immediate pre- and post-workout window. This is because the ingestion of fat slows down the digestion of other nutrients and slows down how quickly food leaves your stomach.

As you can imagine, having food sloshing around in your stomach during your training session is not going to be beneficial for your performance; not to mention, it won’t feel too great either.

After your training session, you don’t want fat slowing down nutrient absorption. You want the protein and carbs that you consume to be utilized as quickly and efficiently as possible. A good rule of thumb is to minimize added fat intake within 2 hours pre-workout and keep fat intake to ~15-20g post workout.

Here’s how this would look in a daily meal schedule. I’m going to include a “training day” (both AM and PM workouts) option and a “rest day” option:


Breakfast – 8:00AM – 30-40g P, low carb, higher fat intake

Lunch (pre-workout) – 12:30PM – 30-40g P, ~50-75g C, no added fat (don’t worry about fat from the protein source)


Post-workout meal/shake – 4:00PM – 30-40g P, 3:1 ratio of C:P, ~15-20g F

Dinner – 6:00PM – 30-40g P, rest or daily carb and fat intake


Pre-workout – 6:00AM – possible a protein/carb drink or a piece of fruit; don’t worry too much about having to eat in this time period.


Breakfast – 8:30AM – 30-40g P, 3:1 ratio of C:P, ~15-20g F30-40g P, low carb, higher fat intake

Lunch – 12:30PM – 30-40g P, balanced carb and fat intake

Afternoon meal – 4:00PM – 30-40g P, balanced carb and fat intake

Dinner – 6:00PM – 30-40g P, rest or daily carb and fat intake (likely lower carb and higher fat)


Nothing special here. Simply take your totals and divide them by the number of meals that you’re consuming. If you’d like, you can leave your carbs for later in the day (follow a similar schedule to the PM training day) if you’re trying to work on your insulin sensitivity. No need to overcomplicate things though.


Lot’s of info, I know.

I’ll leave you with this. Meal timing and nutrient timing doesn’t need to be that complicated. Simply eat a decent amount of protein at each meal and time the majority of your carbs around your workouts.

If you do that, you’ll be in good shape when it comes to this stuff.

And as always, what works best for you is individual to YOU. It’s going to take some trial and error for you to find what works best for you.

Oh, and one more thing.

Please DO NOT get married to a style of meal timing. Your goals are going to change. Your preferences are going to change. Your schedule is going to change.

Your nutrition plan should change to reflect that.

This is the fundamental principle of nutritional periodization.

Which may or may not be the topic of the next blog ;) (cliff hanger, anyone?).

As always, if you have any questions about any of the information I covered in this article ALWAYS feel free to shoot me a message and ask away! I’m here to help you achieve the results you’ve been after for so long.

Thanks again for reading! Be on the lookout for a NEW blog article every Wednesday from here on out.

Talk soon,