The Growth of Recovery Services: What Fitness Professionals Need to Know | An interview with Rick Richey, Co-Founder of RēCOVER
As high intensity workouts, such as HIIT, grow
in popularity, personal trainers and clients have turned to advanced recovery
technology to help replenish after tough workouts. Rick Richey, DHSc, MS, LMT and Co-Founder of RēCOVER, a recovery studio in NYC, talks about the rising interest in recovery treatments, and what it means for fitness trainers and gym-owners. RēCOVER is a fully comprehensive recovery studio, that has a mission to “help restore your body, reboot your mind, and reshape your system”. Their experiences range from restorative sleep treatments to infrared sauna sessions. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
Stefanie Gordon: When did you start seeing a growing interest in recovery services?
Rick Richey: The rise of recovery tools like foam rollers and the old DMS (deep muscle stimulators) units were being replaced with more advanced technologies with companies like Hyperice. As more companies started getting into the space for recovery and it became more cost effective, more recovery technologies started to emerge.
Gordon: What customer base was requesting recovery services the most?
Richey: There was not a customer base requesting it. The emergence of the recovery sector in fitness is a great example of guiding the market to filling needs that people didn't know they could access or utilize. The biohacking community was perhaps the only group that knew about some of these modalities and technologies and were willing to spend money just to advance and optimize their health and longevity.
Gordon: Why are recovery services becoming popular now?
Richey: Athletic trainers, sports physical therapists, and sports chiropractors began using these technologies directly on people during treatment. Then elite athletes started to purchase their own equipment. Personal trainers that worked within that realm began to use some of this equipment because they did not need a license to utilize these tools on their clients. At that point, the technologies began to reach everyday clients rather than only elite athletes. This is how the RēCOVER concept began.
Gordon: How do you see recovery services fitting in with the rise of super intense workouts, i.e. HIIT?
Richey: There is a direct relationship between the rise of HIIT workouts and the need to recover. Many people were doing 3-5 HIIT workouts per week and not understanding why they were not reaching their goals. That is because the benefit of exercise comes from the recovery of the workout, not by doing more workouts at higher intensities. (Editor’s note: A recent study shows that HIIT is more likely to cause injury, meaning that the rise in these types of workouts makes recovery more important than ever).
Gordon: Why should trainers learn more about incorporating recovery services into their client training sessions? Any specific modalities or certifications you recommend?
Richey: At this point, clients may be asking for help with recovery. If trainers are not educated in the basic recovery modalities, they will end up learning more from their clients about recovery than their clients learn from them on the topic! This discussion should not be technology focused either. Recovery starts with diet and sleep. Then moves to flexibility training and foam rolling. Then, more advanced technologies like those used at RēCOVER. Though there is not a certification in recovery, I do recommend the National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Specialist course (NASM CEx).
Gordon: Why should gym owners add recovery services to their offerings? Any specific services you recommend?
Richey: Yes. All gyms should have foam rollers and stretching stations. All trainers should have a base level education to help support their clients with post-workout and lifestyle dietary change. Also, technologies that track sleep can help trainers support gym members in seeing their sleep time and quality. Beyond that, gyms can seek out modalities that meet the needs of their clients or partner with companies like RēCOVER that already exist and focus on the delivery of evidence-based technologies with the education to support their delivery.
Gordon: Where do you see the future of recovery services going?
Richey: Not only will recovery services be offered by more places, including gyms, but the sector is also expanding rapidly! Within the next few years, there will be an incredible number of new devices that will help with physical and cognitive recovery, virtual reality, motor advancement, sensory deprivation and suppression, mental clarity, muscle soreness recovery and mitigation, and so much more. In five years, we may look back at our current recovery tools and say, "Remember when we opened and all we had was ...".