Human Performance & Athletic Development
Prepare to Perform. Perform to Prosper.


Forever Recovery

The Principle of Forever Recovery


Stress is Stress: Filling The Cup/Empty The Cup

Principle of Forever Recovery

The Quadrants of Forever Recovery

Action Tips

Stress is Stress

Imagine yourself going into the fridge after being outside on a hot summer day. You open the fridge to see a cold, large pitcher of water. You take a glass, and pour a refreshing glass of water. You take a sip and you can feel the water going down, nourishing your depleted body. Sounds nice doesn’t it? I like to use this analogy to frame how our bodies, as a whole, deal with stress from a holistic standpoint.

Our activities and daily living are either filling the cup or emptying the cup. Once the cup is depleted, you can no longer adapt or upgrade to a larger cup to handle more stress. We then begin to cause damage over the long haul and decrease our ability to perform at a high level. Below I will give examples of instances that ‘empty the cup’ and actions that ‘fill our cup.’

Empty The Cup (Sympathetic)

  • Too Much Training

  • Lack of sleep (Less than 6 hours)

  • Poor nutrition

  • Dehydration

  • Job/School Stress

  • Chronic Inflammation

  • Relationship Stress

  • Internal Conflict

  • Sickness

Fill The Cup (Parasympathetic)

  • Properly Dosed Training & Deloading

  • Adequate Sleep (7-9 Hours)

  • Proper Nutrition

  • Proper Hydration

  • Time Management

  • Parasympathetic Activities (Meditation, Prayer, Walking in Nature, Quiet Time, Etc)

  • Healthy Relationships

  • Heat and Ice Modalities

Our body is one organism utilizing the same resources to optimally thrive and recover from the stressors of life. It is up to us to manage those stressors and ensure we are “filling the cup.”

Recovery, Forever

One of my principles of high performance is the Principle of Forever Recovery. That is, we are consistently ensuring we are giving ourselves the resources to optimally recover from stress. Stress is not bad- since it is the stimulus to begin adaptation. however, we only adapt when we have the proper resources to do so. Simplifying this idea, I have placed the big rocks in The Four Quadrants of Forever Recovery which are as follows:

  1. Sleep & Sleep Hygiene: 7-9 Hours

  2. Food & Hydration: Proper Macro and Micronutrients for Health and Performance

  3. Soft Tissue and Mobility: Having Enough Range of Motion and adequate tissue quality

  4. Externals (Ice, Heat, Massages, Cryotherapy, Ice Baths, Etc.)

The quadrants are in order of importance. However, they are all important and should not mutually exclude one for another. The majority of my clients and athletes see the largest increase in performance from quadrants 1 & 2 since these areas typically their largest limiting factors. Sleep and nutrition are the largest drivers of appropriate adaptation that we are seeking through training.

Action Tips

As stated above, the largest gaps in performance for the majority of my clients is getting adequate sleep and nutrition. I will give my most successful tips for both that are very simple to implement to get the ball rolling.


  1. Set a device bedtime. Blue lights from our phones and TV’s delay our release of melatonin that allows for a restful night sleep

  2. Sleep in the pitch black room

  3. Regulate temperature. The optimal temperature for sleep is 68-72 degrees

  4. If you are averaging 6 or less hours of sleep, start by adding 30 minutes each night for two weeks. Once two weeks have eclipsed of adding 30 minutes, add another. Do this until you find a sleep time that is optimal for you between 7-9 hours


  1. Start your day with a glass of water before having food or coffee

  2. Protein and vegetables with all meals

  3. Make your meals prior to next day


Human performance can become complicated. But like all goals and processes we should start from the general and move towards the complex. The Principle of Forever Recovery are what they are and have been proven time and again to be extremely effective. To perform at our best whether it is in sport, work, and all aspects of life it is essential we simplify our process and work to progress in the actions that will give us the largest return on time invested.

Charles SamsComment