When most people envision exercising thoughts of pain, sweat, and intensity are conjured up in a positive or negative context. Most times recovery is a distant after thought; some exception to this can be given to nutrition. Variables to recover such as stress, sleep, medication, tissue quality, and environment tend to get little thought by the general fitness enthusiast. Workouts will average 1-2 hours, depending on activities, on a given day. This leaves 22 or more hours in the day that can be focused on optimizing recovery. The whole premise of working out is to break drown the body and rebuild it stronger. The break down can be easy and quick, but the recovery is much slower. Creating the best conditions for recovery will improve the speed and quality of your gains. We all know sleep is important, but it is even more important with strenuous activity. Decreased sleep will lead to over eating and will lower the anabolic hormones that build muscle. Getting 8-9 hours of quality sleep will address this area of recovery. Mental stress releases the same hormones as physical stress, so mental down time is just as important as physical down time. This is where relaxation techniques such meditation can affect your gains as well as metal well being. Medications that one might take regularly can have adverse effects on recovery; refer to the medication information, a pharmacist, or your physician for details. Tissues quality is changed after exercise; this can be appreciated as muscle soreness after an intense workout. This can be address with massage and foam rolling, the faster the tissue is returned to baseline the faster the recovery. Environment factors can also cause stressors that impede recovery. This can be through noise pollution, chemical/allergens in the air, and elevation to name a few. Some of these recovery strategies will be further explored in following articles.