I've finally reached the point where it's harder for me not to exercise. Naturally, looking around for info, I've discovered something that was not previously known to me: recovering from workouts isn't just about rebuilding the muscles, but also about recovering from stress, and recovering some depleted resources (such as the glycogen).

I've also read that our body adapts, and the recovery time decreases, but I couldn't find anything that will help me figure out:

  • How quickly do we adapt? does noticeable change appear within a few weeks? a few months? a few years?
  • How effective are things such as contrast showers/black cumin seeds etc. in shortening recovery time? (I'm not interested in sleep and diet, as there is much information available on these, and I don't consider them ways to shorten recovery rather than an essential part of recovery)

(I do not specify a specific type of workout or frequency because I'm actually interested to know how this varies with different types of workouts, not just how it's relevant to my specific workout)

  • It would help a lot if you told us what kind of workouts you are doing. The answer is different between weightlifting, short-duration cardio, and long-duration endurance exercise. Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 21:58
  • I do high intensity exercises. But I'm also interested in how these things work, which is why, like I said, I didn't mention a specific workout. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


If there aren't at least a few studies backing up contrast showers/black cumin/black magic/other things you read about online, assume it's bullshit, it almost always is.

What kind of exercise are you doing? The best way and timing of recovery varies a lot depending on wether it's resistance training, marathon running or football...

Either way, you'll hear about professional body builders who only workout one muscle once per week and you'll hear about one who does it many times a week. The takeaway is that it's highly individual. 95% of people don't need to care about recovery adaption at all because they never get to the point where it actually makes a difference. If you have been working out diligently for a few years, you will run into situations where you stop developing and you will have to try new things, what will work for you won't work for the next guy.

  • Well, since I don't know what to believe anymore, I'll believe you and assume I just found so many warnings about overtraining because that's what I was looking for. I'm not close to being a professional athlete, so nothing for me to worry about. As for the contrast shower, I think that's pretty much backed up. Anyway, I'm kinda desperate for things to improve exercise, since it's as close as a magical cure can get, and I really a magical cure, and quickly. Thank you Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 10:37
  • That what? or is "that" referring to what I said/your answer? Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 11:31
  • Something to be aware of is that due to the amount of studies done, there will always be false positives - studies that show connections that don't really exist. This is why you have to get the whole picture, one single study doesn't mean anything, in fact, most results shown can not be re-produced.
    – Mårten
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 11:36

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