Post-Workout Recovery: The 7 Mistakes You’re Making

Summer is here, and like many others, we have busted our butts to try to get that “summer bod.” Sometimes putting in two-a-days and pushing our bodies to extremes hoping to reach our fitness goals in this short season. This might have lead to overtraining our bodies and not giving it the recovery needed, which often leads to lackluster results.

By overtraining, we are actually doing more harm than good. We all love the feeling of sore muscles after a workout, reminding us we put in work and got some ish done in the gym. But when you can barely walk up stairs, or even put one foot in front of the other… it becomes a problem.

Recovery is SUPER important because if you’re not recovering properly you won’t be able to get the most out of your workouts.  If you’re always sore you can’t push as hard and you’ll feel low on energy which leads to half a$$ workouts.  😉  Also, if you’re not recovering enough, your muscles are constantly being broken down and don’t have the chance to get stronger.  You get stronger during recovery, not during the workout.

I have gathered a list of common mistakes people make post-workout and what to do to fix them; along with other experts opinions so you can have all of the resources you need in one place to correct your recovery mistakes!

Common Recovery Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Newsflash- nobody’s perfect! We all make mistakes, and post-workout recovery is no exception. Here are some of the biggest mistakes and what you can do to fix them!

1. Not Keeping Enough Off-Time Between Workouts

1221-insta(ie. doing leg work every day when you want to improve your legs)

Sometimes people can get in the mindset of “if I want my legs to be stronger/slimmer/whatever it may be, then I need to work them more.” They then find themselves working that body part every day. This is a classic case of overuse and could increase your risk for injury.

What experts say:

We love to turn to Kaytlin Neil when we need an expert’s opinion. And when it comes to recovery, Kaytlin just gets it:

“You can do full body workouts every day, but it will depend on the intensity of your workouts and how long you’re working out each muscle group. If you do 1-2 exercises per muscle group a day and do a full body workout, you should be okay to work out the same muscle group again the next day. If you’re just focusing on one or two muscle groups for each workout you should wait at least 24-48 hours before you workout that muscle group again so you don’t overwork it and get injured.”

What to do: Work different muscle groups different days of the week and switch up your workouts.

ex: Monday: Triceps and Shoulders

Tuesday: Legs and Butt

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Biceps, Back, and Abs

Friday: Cardio or Rest

Saturday: Full Body

Sunday: Rest

2. Not Sleeping Enough


Believe it or not, sleep plays a huge role in your recovery! Exercise breaks down muscle and depletes energy levels. Getting in a good night’s sleep will help to increase energy resulting in better performance.

What experts say:

Jeff Kuhland, fitness professional and owner of Athletic Human talks about the importance sleep plays in recovery:

“Sleep is the most important time to recover. Adequate levels of sleep help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. You need to get enough sleep, which is between seven to ten hours for most athletes. Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyle, workouts, and genetic makeup.”

What to do: Plan on getting anywhere from 7-10 hours of sleep at night. By sleeping longer you are able to get in more cycles of REM sleep so that you can get in the proper amount of sleep you need to help you feel refreshed and ready for a new day.

3. Not Using BCAAs


Adding BCAAs to your diet is such a great way to help you recover. BCAAs reduce muscle soreness and promote muscle building, helping you to make the most out of your recovery so that you are ready to get back into the gym, faster!

What experts say:

Kaytlin Neil also knows the importance of incorporating BCAAs into her diet:

“As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and MMA fighter, I always need to stay on top of my game. When I’m preparing for fights, my body is getting beat up and my muscles are being torn down with every workout. I need IdealLean BCAAs to repair my muscles so that I can recover quickly and get back into the ring!”

What to do: Supplement BCAAs into your diet. My personal fav? IdealLean BCAAs. Not only are they delicious, but they are also formulated specifically with women in mind and contain 0 calories, sugar, and carbs.

4. Not Stretching/Foam Rolling


I know that I am guilty of this one! It can be easy to skip over this step, but crucial that you do not! Stretching and foam rolling your tired, sore muscles will help to enhance flexibility, repair your muscles, reduce muscle tension, and prevent injuries.

What experts say:

Zuzka Light specializes on 15 minute workouts that you can do anywhere! And she says this about stretching:

“Stretching after a workout keeps muscles loose and limber and increases mobility by increasing range of motion.  It also helps with muscle soreness and stops our bodies from tightening up after a workout.  While it’s not necessary to be as flexible as a ballerina, try stretching for fifteen to twenty minutes after a workout or before going to bed.”

What to do: Set aside 15-20 minutes at the end of your workout to stretch it out. Yoga is also a great way to soothe sore muscles and increase flexibility.

5. Not Drinking Enough Water

woman drinking waterWater. Water. Water. We have been told to drink water since we were little kids. But there has to be a reason why this is stressed time and time again, right? RIGHT! It is important to stay hydrated so that our bodies can function correctly.

What experts say:

The experts on say:

“Drinking water after you exercise helps you to replace the fluids lost during physical activity to ensure you stay properly hydrated. When you work up a sweat during exercise, your body loses large amounts water which can lead to dehydration if you don’t replace them by drinking water and other fluids. Sweat losses during exercise can exceed several liters over the course of an hour…. When rehydrating after exercise, drinking cool water is the best choice, as this will also help restore your temperature to a normal level.”

What to do: Try to drink a half gallon to a gallon of water a day. I have found that when I carry around a water bottle with me everywhere I go I am more likely to get my water intake for the day.

6. Not Taking Rest Days


You guys, our bodies just need rest! It is important that you give your muscles a little break in-between workouts. Allowing your body rest-days will help you to properly recover so that you can have more energy the next time you hit the gym, or when you try your next at-home-workout.

What experts say:

Kaytlin Neil is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and MMA fighter. She knows the importance of recovering so that she can quickly get back into the ring. She says this about rest days:

“Once or twice a week I do a complete rest day where I either do absolutely nothing or a nice little walk to give my body a rest so I can go hard the next day at training. I think it is important to let your muscles recover so you don’t over train your body and get injured and have enough energy for your next workout.”

What to do: This one is pretty straight forward: forego the gym a few times a week and get in some much needed R&R.


7. Not Getting Enough Protein in Your Diet

Protein. Not Brotein. We all need it! Our bodies need the essential amino acids found in protein to recover effectively. To maximize the work you have put in at the gym, you should follow up with protein to help achieve your fitness goals.

What experts say:

Mike Matthews, is a health and fitness author at and knows the benefit that protein plays in our diets. He says:

“A high-protein diet is important for building muscle, and now you know why: dietary protein provides your body with the raw amino acids it needs to synthesize its own proteins. This is why eating enough protein every day is an important part of maximizing muscle recovery.”

What to do: Follow-up your workout with a snack high in protein. I have found that the easiest way to get in my protein is taking IdealLean Protein. Incorporate it in your favorite recipes, or put it in almond milk for a quick shake to fuel your body.


By following these simple steps you can help to maximize the effects of your workout and get a leaner, stronger body. Recovery is so important because this is the time when your body will repair damaged tissues, replenish energy levels, and where you will really be able to see the effects of your training.

Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer & Nutritionist

Lindsey Mathews is the Head Trainer and Nutritionist at IdealFit. She is a NSCA-CSCS certified personal trainer, C-ISSN certified sports nutritionist, Pn. 1 certified nutrition coach, and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor. Before joining IdealFit, she ran the largest boot camp program in Utah County.

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