Post-Workout Recovery Mistakes Your Clients Are Making

Post-Workout Recovery: 5 Mistakes Your Clients Are Making

You know the value of post-workout recovery and the best methods for making it happen, but your clients probably don’t. Use your time with clients to educate them on the importance of recovery, and better yet, the many things they should be doing to recover at home, when you’re not with them.

While there are many things your clients may not be doing, these five have potential to be the most detrimental to their results. Check in with your clients about their post-workout recovery and educate as necessary. I’ve listed 5 of the common ways your clients may be shortening necessary recovery periods – do any of these sound familiar? Use my list to hone in on client issues and how to correct them.

1.    Not Resting Long Enough

Your client is feeling strong and fit and wants to keep feeling that way—so they go to the gym every day. While we admire the dedication of clients like this, we need to remind them that resting is an important part of recovery. As you know, without enough recovery time, your client will see diminished results and become burned out.

Fix it: Remind your clients to get at least 24-48 hours between sessions, and focus on a different area of the body every time. Write them a workout calendar, specifying upper body, lower body, and cardio, with properly spaced-out sessions. They can use this as a guide for training outside of your one-on-one sessions.

2.    Not Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is necessary for reducing stress, poor food decisions and moodiness. It’s also critical part of the post-workout recovery process, and clients who aren’t getting enough are losing out. Because exercise breaks down muscle and depletes energy levels, your clients need even more sleep than usual, especially if training is new to them.

Fix it: Have clients track their sleeping habits, noting when they went to bed and how long they slept, along with how they felt the next day and during their next workout session. You can go over this together to come up with solutions for getting more sleep if needed.

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3.    Not Moving Enough

The goal with inactive clients, or those who are totally new to fitness, is to ensure that they get a good workout without experiencing extreme soreness. This leads to excuses like, “I could barely walk for a week after our session so I didn’t bother doing any other workouts.” However, activity recovery, defined as light activity, gets your blood pumping. This circulation promotes healing, which in turn will help reduce soreness.

Fix it: Make an active recovery plan for clients. Give them a list of options for the day or two after your workout, including activities you know they like, such as slow jogging (50 percent exertion), treadmill walking on an incline, swimming or yoga. Encourage your clients to purchase a fitness tracker if they don’t already have one, and set active rest goals for them to track. A recent survey found that affordable wearables have hit the market and they will do everything your client needs them to, without breaking the bank. You could even purchase a few and give them away to clients as referral gifts.

4.    Not Getting Enough Protein

If your clients are strength training, they need protein and I’m sure you’ve told them that. But have you told them how much is ideal, how they can get more of it and what sources provide the most bang for their buck? In many cases, your client is making poor protein choices, focusing on processed protein powder and fattening nut butter.

Fix it: Make sure your clients are aware not only of how much protein they need to eat, but also what kind of protein will have the most impact while providing the highest-quality nutrients. Calculating macros for a client is within your scope of practice, so make that a habit as well. This will help guide your clients nutritionally. If you’re uncertain of your math, double check with this calculator from or this one from ACE.

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5.    Not Stretching

Almost everyone who works out is guilty of this—even personal trainers. However, forgetting to stretch not only increases soreness but it can also lead to tight muscles which can in turn lead to injuries during training sessions. Unfortunately, no amount of “Remember to stretch when you get home!” will make your clients remember to stretch.

Fix it: Focus on what you can do in your sessions, this means including a stretching session after the end of every workout. Leave five minutes for stretching together. If your clients don’t know how to stretch, they won’t do it. Including this in every session will help your clients learn the best stretches so they may be more likely to do them at home.

Recovery is as important as the workout itself. Educate your clients on how to make the most of their workouts by focusing on active recovery, stretching, getting enough sleep and spacing out workouts. They’ll see better results and you’ll be the superstar trainer they’ll tell all their friends about.

This article is by Jessica Thiefels. The author’s opinions are their own and Gear Update does not take responsibility for content statements and opinions. You should seek expert counsel in evaluating opinions, treatments, products and services. For more info see our Editorial Policies.

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