Recovery has become one of the trendy topics in training, but it’s often terribly applied. Firstly, lots of people spend ‘too much time recovering’. The majority of people only have limited time with which to train. If you’re spending too much time recovering, that’s less time actually training, and it’s the training that helps you stay fit and healthy.
However, if recovery is a fundamental component of your training, make sure you’re using it appropriately. One rule to implement is no ice baths or anti-inflammatories unless you’re in the competitive phase of your season and have a competition/game to prepare for each week. The inflammation response following training is a critical part of the improvement process. If you dull that inflammation with external tools, you’re limiting how much the body has to adapt, and thus limiting your improvement. A simple alternative is to ensure that you do your foam rolling/release following training (it’s more effective after training than before it) and stretch properly. This is going to help your body transition to a more recuperative state and reduce stiffness tomorrow.
If you’re getting increased levels of soreness from training that you feel you ‘need’ to ice or take anti-inflammatories, it might be the program or nutrition that needs changing, not your recovery methods.
On the topic of nutrition, getting enough fuel to fully recover is critical. It is extremely difficult to train hard and improve whilst in a calorie deficit. That’s not to say that you should go crazy and consume considerable amounts of food, but on hard training days, consider that you might need some extra fuel to get you through. You’ll find that consuming protein after a hard session will have a profound effect on the soreness you feel tomorrow, as will consuming enough calories throughout the rest of the day.