4 easy steps to building a recovery program

assessments health recovery Oct 13, 2016

Hi Guys,

I’m Alisha Hale with The Movement Project and today I am going to talk to you about the importance of knowing how to assess your limits. I’m also going to teach you a very simple way to build a recovery program that works for you!

In my last two blogs, I talked with you about my journey back into health and fitness and also on how pain is created and destroyed based on neurological concepts. In these blogs I gave you some background into how dealing with a hypothyroid disorder can drastically impact performance so much so that even going for a walk can seem like an insurmountable task.

Today’s story is going to encourage you to explore your limits while also teaching you an easy assessment tool to make sure you are always making steps forward!

In September, I started the 2nd year of my Master’s of Acupuncture program at MCPHS University feeling super level headed and ready to take on the task of another year of being a full-time student, an entrepreneur, and a personal trainer. The energy I had going into this semester was the result of a complete change in attitude and strategy after being rocked by my first year of grad school. I started my new workout program at the end of June and by September I was feeling ready to rock. I worked up to working out 5 days/week for about 60 minutes or more each day plus a 2-mile walk almost every day. I literally have not ever felt better with where my health is going.

Then school started :)

You may recall Taylor’s video blog from last week called, The Threat Bucket: An Easy Explanation of Pain & Decreased Performance. In this blog he describes, incredibly eloquently, exactly what can happen when you experience an increase in stressors – mainly, you can experience an increase in pain and/or a decrease in performance.

Within 2 weeks of the start of school, I started to notice a decline in performance. I wasn’t able to workout for 60 minutes anymore without extreme fatigue. I immediately went into problem solving mode keeping the threat bucket concept in mind. The reality is that there are a number of different exercises to do that can actually decrease this stress response and allow you to complete a quality workout without compromising results.

We call it Threat Modulation.

What this means is that just because I could not complete a workout at the same intensity did not mean I had to quit entirely. The old me would have quit. Instead, I chose very specific recovery drills that I have found to drastically reduce my stress levels and performed them before, during, and after my workouts. I also decreased my workout times to 30-60 minutes depending on how I am doing each day. I refuse to let the stress from an overbooked lifestyle interfere with my workouts. My workouts are my sanity. Modifying my program and finding a way to recover appropriately is actually helping me perform better at work, at school, and it’s increasing my overall happiness.

Here’s a video of some of my favorite recovery drills.

This video is meant for you to see how the assessment process goes more so than to teach you drills for your own program. The reality is that every individual has his or her own unique, individualized nervous system and all of us respond very differently to exercise!

4 Easy Steps to Build a Recovery Program from Taylor Kruse on Vimeo.


What you will see me working on is very specific visual, vestibular (balance), and mobility drills that target my own weaknesses (video sped up 2x). In the video, I am using a forward bend as an assessment before and after each drill to determine whether or not each drill is improving my performance and decreasing threat. If the drill was not a good drill, you would have seen me lose range of motion. Yes, you can decrease range of motion despite the fact that you have “warmed-up.” This tells you something incredibly valuable – either the drill was performed incorrectly or the drill is not a good drill for you.

These drills are likely unfamiliar but there is a very simple way for you to know whether the recovery drills you include in your own program are working for you or against you. The best part is that you can take this concept and integrate it into your workout program immediately.

Try out these simple steps below to create your own little recovery series!

4 Key Steps for Exercise Selection: 

Assess Range of Motion
Perform 1-3 reps of chosen drill (i.e: mobility drill, coordination drill, light movement)
Re-Assess Range of Motion
If it assesses well, perform drill. If it assesses poorly, remove drill from program for the day.
Repeat steps 1-4 above for every drill you choose. I mean Every Drill!

You might be surprised by what works and what does not. Some questions to consider:

Is foam rolling working for you? Is that hamstring stretch ok or does the hurting actually mean it’s working against you? Does performing 50 push-ups/day help or hurt you? The only way to know is to assess.

If you missed our blog on how to choose a simple self-assessment tool, check it out and then get started!

The goal of today’s blog is to encourage you know your limits and to build yourself a recovery program. Understanding this will help you to choose exercises and exercise duration/intensity that is appropriate for how you feel each day. You can use this assessment process for every exercise you perform, not just for recovery drills. You can even use it to determine whether your workout duration or intensity is appropriate. The reality is if you are assessing range of motion and your range of motion decreases, something needs to change.

Our job as professionals is to figure out why certain drills are not assessing well and to figure out how to improve the result. Nothing is supposed to break you. If you need help finding the right drills for you, contact us.

Good luck, have fun, and keep moving!

About the Author:

Alisha Hale pulls from over 10 years of experience in the health and performance industry to provide you with the tools needed to reach your best health.

Alisha is in process of adding Acupuncture as a service for TMP and is particularly passionate about combining Acupuncture and movement coaching to help young women through metabolic issues, thyroid problems, adrenal fatigue, pain, asthma, allergies, and menstrual irregularities.


Practice FIVE Neuro-Performance Drills

Learn why respiration, vision, vestibular, and complex movement integrations are essential tools for every coach!



Practice FIVE Neuro-Performance Drills

Learn why respiration, vision, vestibular, and complex movement integrations are essential tools for every coach!