We all want to see results from our training, but sometimes it’s not happening.  But why?  Sports performance coach and educator Korey Van Wyk is here to explain.

In Part I of this series, I outlined the basic physiological process through which we attain results from training and the two main factors that work in tandem to determine our success.

These two factors are the stimulus, or stress, we place on our body through training and the recovery process our body undertakes to build itself back up stronger than before. Part I lays out several ways to evaluate if the stimulus side of the training coin is optimized, so definitely check that out here if you haven’t already!

This article will flip to the other side of the coin and look at how we can start seeing results through better recovery.

athletic male sitting on a yoga mat in his living room stretching

The Recovery Process

As mentioned in Part I, nearly all forms of training designed to improve the strength, efficiency, or robustness of a system (such as the muscular system) will disrupt the status quo of that system. This is an essential occurrence with training because it’s the signal that something needs to change. The systems that are stressed must adapt to better cope with the challenges consistently being placed upon them. Muscles need to get bigger; bones must become denser, cells must produce more mitochondria, the nervous system must become more efficient, tendons and ligaments must become thicker, etc.

These rebuilding processes take time, and each system of the body has a different time scale by which they occur. But by creating an internal environment that allows these processes to operate at peak efficiency, we can accelerate the recovery process. The faster we recover, the sooner and more frequently we can push ourselves in training, and the better our results will be!

The strategies covered in the rest of this article are ones that nearly everyone has access to and can perform every day. There are certainly methods such as compression, cold and hot water therapy, or massage that may help, but those may not be viable options for many people.

Therefore, I’m going to focus on two areas pretty much everyone can improve and that likely offer the most bang for your buck: nutrition and sleep!


top view of a tabletop with oven mitts, basil leaves, fresh tomatoes on the vine, and a freshly baked pizza

Seeing Results with Nutrition

In order for our tissues and systems to repair themselves, they not only need the proper raw materials to do so but the energy in order to do it. This, at a base physiological level, is why we eat!

Recovery nutrition can’t be condensed to just one nutrient such as protein. It takes the entire cast of nutrients to optimize recovery. Yes, we absolutely need protein because many tissues need amino acids as their building blocks. But if enough total energy (i.e. calories) isn’t provided, those building blocks aren’t going to be put together (at least, not as efficiently as they could be).

So, when optimizing recovery, we need to consider all the essential nutrients:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Then, to make sure they can be utilized effectively an adequate amount of calories must be provided. Here is a brief breakdown of how much of each nutrient you need and why you need them.



Most protein and sports nutrition experts agree that typical protein recommendations are too low, especially for anyone who is training and exercising regularly. The recommended protein intake per day is .8g/kg of bodyweight. Many experts believe this should be doubled to around 1.6g/kg/day just for general health!

That’s not even taking tissue repair requirements into account. For this reason, most experts recommend around 2g/kg/day, or 1g/lb. And you may be surprised to know that this doesn’t differ much between sports or activities. All forms of exercise have recovery needs that are dependent on amino acids; it’s not just for those who lift weights. So, recommendations across the board hover around 1g/lb. of bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 200lbs. then you would require 200 grams of protein per day. As for timing, you’ll want to spread it throughout the day by consuming some protein every ~4 hours in roughly even amounts.



If you do any form of high-intensity exercise such as lifting weights, sprinting, jumping, throwing , or anything that you wouldn’t be able to sustain for 20-30 minutes then consuming carbohydrates is in your best interest.

When doing these types of activities for longer than ~10 seconds, carbohydrates are the only fuel source your muscles can rely on to continue working. Luckily, we store a significant amount in our muscles to be used for this very reason; about 400-500g total for the average person.

As you can imagine, performing high-intensity exercise for an extended period (such as a 60-minute bodybuilding session or a 30-minute CrossFit session) will at least partially deplete these stores. Therefore, an important part of the recovery process is to replenish them. Now, doing so isn’t necessarily complicated. Most people who exercise hard, but not to extremes, on a regular basis will meet their needs by consuming a moderate amount of carbohydrates.

However, with the advent of low-carb approaches to the diet (e.g. Atkins, keto) there’s a good chance that many of you are not consuming enough. A good starting point for most people is to consume 2-3g/lb of bodyweight per day. If you are particularly active on a day or have a longer/harder training session, you can bump it up to 4-5g/lb.

And, honestly, timing isn’t a huge deal unless you are going to have multiple bouts of exercise in close proximity such as multiple competitions in one day or for several days in a row. Again, for most people who train fairly hard for 30-60 minutes, 3-5 days a week, consuming 2-3g/lb. spread evenly throughout the day will cover your bases.



Like carbohydrates, fat is a crucial energy source for exercise and daily life. However, there are a few big differences.

The first is that while we have somewhat limited stores of carbohydrates to rely upon, our stores of fat can provide fuel for a very long time. Yes, this is even true of very lean individuals. In addition, fat is relied upon as an energy source for lower-intensity, longer-duration activities (think true endurance activities or sustaining constant activity for at least 20-30 minutes). So you don’t really need to worry about depleting fat stores like carbohydrate stores, even if you are an endurance-based athlete. And “fat loading” isn’t really a thing. The only sustained activity that would lead to is frequent trips to the bathroom.

So, what is fat’s role in recovery? Well, it is great at helping you meet calorie requirements. Active individuals should be consuming .5-1g/lb of fat per day. However, it is the type of fat you consume that might have a specific impact on your recovery.

You likely know that there are two primary types of fat:

  • Saturated
  • Unsaturated

You might even know that there is a particular type of unsaturated fat that has received a lot of attention over the past couple of decades: omega-3s. This attention usually centers on the heart health benefits of omega-3s. However, we know that omega-3s can have a significant impact on recovery by reducing the symptoms of inflammation and possibly enhancing muscle protein synthesis. If you are eating fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines a couple of times per week you might be covered here. If you’re not, then you’ll probably want to consider supplementation. Aim for a combined 3g of EPA and DHA per day.


So how many calories do you need to support recovery? Well, if you’ve been keeping track we’ve already calculated it! By giving gram per lb. recommendations for the macronutrients, total calories are naturally provided. Protein and carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram and fat is 9 calories per gram. By doing the math you can calculate your total needs. Let’s break this down for a 200 lb. individual:


  • Protein: 200 grams
  • Carbs: 400 – 600 grams
  • Fat: 100 – 200 grams
  • Total Calories: 3,300 – 5,000

You’ll also notice that all of the macronutrients have an intake range. Based on your activity levels, you can adjust your intake to ensure that you’re meeting your needs. On rest or low-activity days, err toward the bottom end of the ranges. And on heavy training or very active days, err toward the top end of the ranges.



Just like carbohydrate stores used during training need to be replenished, so do any fluid losses. And also, like replenishing carbohydrates, it doesn’t need to be complicated. A very common recommendation for base hydration needs is to consume half of your bodyweight in ounces per day. While this does not need to be 100% comprised of water, it’s a good idea if most of it is. If you aren’t already meeting this need, you’ll notice a stark difference in performance just by changing this one thing!

In order to determine your rehydration needs, the easiest method is to weigh yourself before and after working out. A good rule of thumb is to consume 12-16oz of fluid for every pound lost from your workout. So, if you lost 2lbs. from your session, you would consume an extra 24-32oz of fluid in addition to your base amount.

In the majority of cases, this does not need to be a sports drink or anything special. Water plus the minerals provided through food are typically sufficient to replenish electrolytes.


woman sitting on her couch at night looking at her cell phone

Seeing Results with Sleep

Ah, 😴 sleep. The thing we all know we need more of, it’s just the one thing we can’t (or don’t) get.

I’m not sure I need to belabor the importance of sleep but just to make sure we’re on the same page, this is when the bulk of the recovery processes mentioned earlier will take place.

Yes, some aspects of recovery can take place during waking hours (such as the replenishment of carbohydrate stores and fluid). But the true rebuilding, restructuring, and rewiring processes are going to occur while we sleep.

Now, as my friend Nick Lambe loves to remind me: there is more to sleep than just total time. Is getting the ever-elusive 8 hours the end all be all of sleep? No. Will it help if you’re consistently getting less than 6 hours per night? Almost certainly.

Unfortunately, the more you worry, stress, or beat yourself up about sleep, the less you are likely to get. So, while the behavior change aspect of sleep improvement is beyond the scope of this article, here are some strategies that will help increase both the quality and quantity of your sleep:

  • Limit technology and sources of blue light in the ~1 hour before trying to sleep. Try reading, journaling, or light stretching and mobility work.
  • Try to establish a routine of going to bed at a similar time each night
  • Keep the bedroom cool. Turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees at night or invest in cooling mattresses and technologies.
  • Keep the bedroom dark. Use blackout shades or an eye mask if necessary
  • Avoid caffeine intake at least 6 hours before trying to sleep (I know, I know- I can pretty much hear you afternoon exercisers laughing out loud!). Caffeine can stay in the blood for up to 6 hours, so a good guideline is to keep intake to before 2pm.
  • Don’t force it but be honest about your efforts.

As mentioned earlier, stressing about your sleep schedule, or trying to force yourself to go to sleep when you’re not tired is a recipe for more sleep issues. However, take an honest audit of your efforts if this is an area you particularly need to work on. Do you really need to watch one more YouTube video or go further down the TikTok rabbit hole? Give yourself the space to change this incrementally, but don’t be afraid to gently challenge yourself when it comes these habits.



As with Part I of this series, my suggestion is to choose one or two areas to focus on that you know will have the biggest impact to help with seeing results.

Spend a few weeks incorporating them into your daily routine, working out the kinks, and finding how to best implement them for you. Then, focus on adding one or two more while you enjoy all your new gains!


the back side of a male athlete in a Crossfit gym | myHMB blog Why You Aren’t Seeing Results from Your Workouts: Part 2 by Korey Van Wyk

Optimize Your Recovery with myHMB to Start Seeing Results

MyHMB (scientifically known as beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate – HMB) is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine.  MyHMB aid in increasing muscle protein by acting on both sides of the metabolic pathways or protein balance.  It stimulates muscle protein synthesis while decreasing muscle protein breakdown.  This allows you to increase strength and power, blunt muscle damage, and improve recovery after intense training. Learn more >





Korey Van Wyk performing a pull-up / MS in nutrition / Sports Performance Coach with CSCS Cert / team myHMB athlete

Korey Van Wyk

Korey Van Wyk is an educator and sports performance coach who has spent the last decade of his career bridging the gap between science and practice. As a former professor of kinesiology and collegiate strength coach, he spent every day connecting the classroom and the weight room. Now as an acquisitions editor, he helps create world-class educational products for trainers and coaches. With degrees in exercise science and nutrition, Korey is an experienced presenter on all aspects of nutrition and human performance. Facebook Icon Twitter icon Instagram Icon  YouTube icon

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