Recovery is a crucial aspect of any fitness routine, yet it's often overlooked or rushed through in favor of more intense workouts. But according to Joe Holder, Hyperice ambassador, and Nike Master Trainer, prioritizing recovery is essential for achieving optimal fitness and performance.

EBONY spoke with Joe Holder to get his expertise on maximizing recovery between workouts and integrating recovery habits into your everyday life to improve movement and overall quality of life. He discusses the benefits of Hyperice's innovative recovery technologies and shares best practices for using them. He also offers sleep and nutrition advice and addresses common questions about injury prevention and recovery.

Whether you're a pro athlete or just beginning your fitness journey, Holder's insights will help you make recovery a regular and effective part of your routine.

EBONY: How important is recovery for your overall fitness and wellness, and what are some of the most effective recovery methods you recommend to your clients? 

Joe Holder: Sleep and a good diet are the best recovery methods. Everything then builds on top of that. From there, you can add in things like massages, acupuncture, sauna, and devices, but nothing else matters without the foundation of sleep and a good diet. 

As a personal fitness trainer, how do you help your clients balance the intensity of their workouts with adequate recovery time?

That's about proper programming of workouts and paying attention to how your body feels. But the simple rule of thumb is, don't do two challenging or intense workouts back to back. Space them out, and only do them 2–3 times a week.  

How can cross-training or varying your workouts help with recovery? Which workouts or exercises do you recommend?

You don't want to stress the body with the same repetitive movements that are likely to cause an overuse injury. You can also use low-intensity modalities like walking/jogging, stretching, Pilates, yoga, etc., properly to still get movement and deliver via blood flow nutrients to muscles and the rest of the body. 

As a Hyperice ambassador, are there recovery technologies that you recommend to your clients to implement in their workout routine?

Yes, Normatec, especially since it is portable now, is an excellent pre-bed routine. The massage guns are great before and after workouts. Foam rollers are a hit for home use, making the experience more enjoyable. 

How important is sleep for recovery, and what are some tips for improving sleep quality? 

It's the most important thing. Everyone has heard the main ones; implement them. 

  • Don't eat too close to the bed. 
  • Sleep in a cool environment, when possible, 68 degrees or so. 
  • Limit phone usage before bed. 
  • Try to take a warm shower 2–3 hours before bed to assist with the body cooling down. It might seem counterintuitive, but a warm shower will help you release heat from your body. 
  • Don't keep your bedroom too bright. 
  • Get good sheets. 
  • Decompress and download from your day with mindfulness or journaling, so you don't go to bed with a lot on your brain. 
  • Everyone talks about supplementation these days for sleep, but that should be an extra step, magnesium, or short-term melatonin use. 

The body is made to sleep. Just have a consistent nighttime routine that lets you know it is time. 

What foods or supplements do you suggest to recover more quickly and effectively? Alternatively, are there things to avoid?

Nutrition is going to be specific for each person. The big things are to avoid sugary foods. That is the foundation of an "anti-inflammatory" diet. No simple carbs (excess flour, bread, pasta, etc.). Yes to fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, root vegetables, beans (as tolerated), and grains in limited amounts. Learn to cook and, from those categories, build from there without using cooking processes that destroy the nutrients in food. Hydration is essential too. Adding some electrolytes to the water never hurts if you want something with a taste to it.