Drake blasts through the speakers of what must be one of the most state of the art workout havens in the world. An aerial view shows you neat rows lined with pieces of blue and white exercise equipment—squat racks, cable machines, and the like (see photo above). Almost every one is in use by some very special teenagers. These 14- to 18-year-olds attend the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida—a boarding school with more than 1,000 students from 80 countries. And some of those students will go on to play college and maybe even pro tennis, golf, baseball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, football, or track & field since the Academy has a great reputation for placing students at top Division-1 athletic programs and top-100 academic universities.
In addition to providing these young elites—and many collegiate and professional athletes who train in their world-class facilities—with the training (and the kick ass gym!) they need to excel, they’re also taught about the importance of recovery from day one. “The way that I look at recovery is that it gives the body the best chance at future success,” says Jared White, M.Ed, ATC, LAT, Head of Athletic Training at the IMG Academy. “Allowing damaged tissue to heal, whether that damage is from injury trauma or from the body adapting to physical demands of exercise, is vital to the potential level of future performance that is achieved,” he adds.
And in order to maximize that potential for success, White and the other trainers at the Academy utilize many different recovery means: “We look to nutrition, hydration, sleep and sensory wellness as key ingredients in the recovery diet,” says White. “Without any one of these components being rested and at full capacity, our total body performance can diminish significantly.” Still, IMG Academy is fortunate to have some high level recovery modalities on campus as well. Keep reading to find out the old school and new school—and some on-the-horizon—recovery methods these future allstars are using—and the ones you should adapt to maximize your own training as well.