Intense workout programs are encouraged and the benefits are great, but many times the most important part is left out. Recovery is often over looked and it is the most important aspect of exercise. Recovery encompasses all of the time that you are not working out. This includes nutrition, sleep, and specific recovery strategies such as foam rolling. Time off should be worked in as well as fluctuating intensity. If you work out hard all the time your body will not recover sufficiently and will start to break down. This is when you will increase your risk of injury and you will have to refrain from working out longer than if you took a day off. Off days can still include activities such as walks and pick up games.
A proper nutrition plan that coincides with your goals should be followed. Sleep duration and quality is also important. You should get 8-9 hours of sleep that is good quality and includes all the cycles of sleep. Interrupted sleep will not be as beneficial as an uninterrupted equal amount of sleep. This can be accomplished by setting a sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, bright display screens, and exercise 2-3 hours before sleep.
Another component of recovery is tissue quality. This includes soft tissue work such as foam/stick rolling, massages, and stretching. These activities ensure that the tissue returns to proper lengths and rids the muscles of waste products. Having a comprehensive recovery strategy will ensure that you meet your goals.