Rethinking your recovery strategies

Reach your physique and performance potential with advice from Lilly Sabri on how to get smart with your recovery strategies

Lilly Sabri is an Optimum Nutrition ambassador, a chartered physiotherapist, an APPI Pilates instructor, and a fitness, health and lifestyle influencer. Here’s her advice on how some simple tweaks to your training regime can help you recover faster and build the body you want sooner.

Rethink your recovery
Most people tend to focus only on physicality of fitness – how they train and what you eat. Of course, both these elements are vital to achieve your fitness, health and lifestyle goals, but in isolation they are not enough. We must also consider our mental and physical recovery – it’s the crucial third pillar of having a rounded, balanced and holistic approach to your health and wellbeing.

Be more active
The amount of time I spend on recovery will vary on a weekly basis, because of my work schedule, but on average I will train five days per week, and two days per week are spent on active recovery or full recovery. Active recovery is something that I love: I used to work in professional football and a lot of my early professional training was with professional footballers who had to recover as effectively as possible to enable them to train hard and then perform on match days. For me, yoga, foam rolling, pressure point release, mindfulness and good nutrition play a vital role in recovery. I also recommend the occasional massage to help move and drain the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.

Rest to reach your potential
Without adequate recovery your musculoskeletal system cannot repair, and without repair you will not be able to get muscular growth, and will be therefore slowing down your progress and not reaching your potential. It is also so important for your mind to have rest; without this you cannot asses your progress and revaluate your goals and how to achieve them faster.

Be smart with stretching
If you don’t spend enough time on mobility and flexibility I would recommend allocating some time towards warming up your body adequately before your exercise session, and then also cooling down afterwards with stretches. Doing this will speed up your recovery process, which will enable you to work out more effectively. Depending on the type of workout you are doing will determine the warm up, but in general you should be looking in include mobility work, dynamic (movement) stretches, and an activity to get your heart rate higher. I have some great links to stretching routine videos on my website (

Mobility means muscle
Most men, unfortunately, tend to neglect recovery work. In general men have less flexible and mobile muscles, which means that they find mobility work and stretching less comfortable and far harder than women. However, the beauty of stretching and mobility work, is that you will make rapid progress once you start and are consistent with spending time doing it. And the beauty is that more mobile and flexible muscles can move through a greater range of motion, with less risk of injury, which will ultimately allow you to add lean muscle mass faster.

Nail your nutrition
To aid recovery I tend to prioritise eating high protein sources and foods, and ensure I am always fully hydrated.There is a lot of evidence that confirms the role of protein in aiding tissue growth and repair, which will help us achieve our physique and performance goals. A good rule of thumb is that the sooner after a workout you can consume protein, the better, which is why after every single workout I have a protein shake. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey protein powder is a great option to consume the highest-quality protein immediately after training to initiate the recovery process. If you want a lower-calorie but still high-protein option then Optimum Nutrition also has Opti-Lean, which I always take and it tastes amazing!