"The whole point of working out is to create more relaxation. If you're stressing about your workouts, you're missing the point. Use them as time reserved just for you—and soon you'll crave that time."
World-record holder for the most sub-four-minute miles (136)
You've heard this one already: Recovery is a critical part of any fitness program. But did you know that this means a lot more than lying on the couch with a cold one after a hard training session? "We treat recovery as a scheduled workout," says Lance Armstrong's personal coach, Chris Carmichael. And so should you. Ultralight workouts aid recovery much better than total slack; blood flow to muscles increases at low levels of effort, and this in turn increases the amount of muscle-building nutrients your body can absorb.
For those engaged in weight training, sprint sessions, or building their cardiovascular base, go light on nonconsecutive days three times a week. This week, your heart rate goes no higher than 65 percent of your max. Every few weeks, try an alternative to your routine: flexibility training, a massage, a hike, a mellow ride, an easy swim, or light bouldering. Lastly, every seven to ten days, take a day off from exercising to restore your energy for the coming week's workouts.
Toolbox: Sure, beer tastes great, but, contrary to popular opinion, it's not the best recovery drink. "Right after a tough session, your body needs to rehydrate, restore its energy, and repair its muscles," says Shannon Hayes, a sports nutritionist with the St. Louisbased NutriFormance. Before that frothy pint, try PowerBar's new Performance Recovery drink. "It provides all the essentials: fluid, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein," says Hayes. ($25; 800-587-6937, www.powerbar.com)