If you talk to almost anyone who has competed or exercised intensely for a long period of time and is now experiencing some sort of long term injury or limitation, they would say I should have emphasized recovery as much as training. This includes your trainers and their personal experiences. Trust us, it awful to work very hard to get in shape, only to have the enjoyment of your exercise routine come to a halt. It sucks.
The road to a regular exercise regimen usually starts with a catalyst: weight loss, muscle gain, stress release, etc. The road to a recovery regimen can, too: muscle strains and pulls, sprains, tears, stress fractures, lowered immune system, declining strength and performance, joint inflammation, etc. These are incentives and catalysts you don’t want to wait for. Be proactive and therefore preventative, not reactive and regretful (medical bills, lost time, immobility).
The most important areas of recovery are sleep, stretching, rolling or massage (myofascial release), diet, hydration, meditation, RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), etc.
What’s a simple, practical and realistic approach? Because we, if we’re being honest here, usually say I know I need to do it, but I just don’t want to.
Do you have to schedule and budget time to work out? Yes.
Then be as intentional with recovery as you are with training. Schedule or budget half the amount of time and frequency to recovery. If you work out 3x for 3 hours a week, chop up 90 minutes to educate yourself, prepare and/or take action with recovery. 10-15 minutes of which you could accomplish after each workout with stretching and rolling.
What helps you train? Is it accountability, asking questions, education, encouragement, creating a sense of urgency? Ask a trainer to determine what works so you can get it done.