Your performance in today’s workout is directly influenced by how well your body has recovered from yesterday’s exertions. Regardless if you are an experienced crosffitter or a beginner, you know what those first few weeks felt like. You hurt! In fact, even now your days off feel oh so good. An experienced crossfit athlete will tell you that in time you adapt to the rigor.
So here are some ways to optimize recovery and kill your WOD…..
1 – Clean Up Your Diet
A clean diet includes lots of lean protein to support muscle growth and lots of fruits and veggies. Fruit and veggies contain good antioxidants, which can protect against muscle cell damage, and the antioxidants in dark-green leafs can repair connective tissue and may be able to reduce inflammation. But you also have to watch your total calorie intake. If you are dieting to drop a few pounds, your recovery will suffer.
2 – Pre-Workout Snack
Eat enough energy-packed nutrients before your workout. Every one is different when it comes to eating before a WOD, but you should try to consume a snack or a small meal 1-2 hours before training. Snacks should contain 250-350 calories with 60% of those calories coming from non-sucrose carbs. Example – commercial sports drink, salad, whole-wheat bagel, granola bar or fruit.
3 – Post-WOD Work
Immediately after finishing your WOD, cool down with light activity. Get on a rower, a bike, a little jog, or even work on a gymnastic skills. By continuing to push blood through your vessels, you are helping to circulate out the waste products of muscle contraction. After light activity, stretch while muscles are still warm. Make post workout stretching part of your standard routine.
4 – Break it up
Physical manipulation of affected muscles can reduce swelling of tissues and muscle damage. What we know is this: When muscles are compressed after intense exercise, muscle function improves and there are fewer signs of inflammation. That compression can come from anything that will provide direct pressure on the affected muscles. Use a roller, lacrosse ball or even partner massage to break up muscle tightness
5 – Post-WOD Nutrition
When the clock stops on your WOD, it starts on the next one. During your training session, glycogen synthase — an enzyme whose mission is to help you replenish the energy you lost — is circulating in high concentration. It’s trying to find glucose to store for your next session, and you have 45 minutes to an hour to capitalize on it, so don’t wait to get home before you ingest carbs. Get a post-WOD recovery drink or other fast-digesting carbohydrate in you as soon as possible. Interestingly, most recent research is showing that a recovery drink with a little protein added to the carbohydrate solution actually results in greater glycogen storage than one with carbs alone.
6 – Sleep
If you’re not sleeping well, you are guaranteed to be sacrificing growth and progress. Not only does a significant amount of the anabolic process (i.e., muscle growth) occur during sleep, but it is also when the body tends to regulate growth hormone, melatonin, cortisol and other hormones that can affect how muscles adapt to training. Try to get at least eight hours a night.
7 – Stay Hydrated
You’ve got to show up at the box hydrated for optimal performance, and you need to maintain hydration during the next 24 hours. If you don’t stay hydrated, you’re hurting your body’s ability to reduce swelling and soreness, and you could even promote an injury.
8 – Supplementation
The more we look at supplements and muscle recovery, the more we recognize the role many have in repairing and replenishing cells. Here are the top five:
Omega-3 fatty acids. These oils from fish and plants can reduce cell inflammation resulting from an intense exercise session.
Vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins have antioxidant properties, meaning they can prevent the destruction of muscle cell membranes.
Branched-chain amino acids. Leucine, isoleucine and valine can be used directly by muscle cells for energy. Keep circulating levels high.
Creatine. Study after study shows that creatine supplementation enhances performance in repeated anaerobic bouts — exercise that is very much like a typical WOD. Supplementing with it ensures you are ready for the next hard workout.
Calcium and iron for women. Women have particular needs for adequate calcium and iron. Ladies, if you are not a big dairy or meat eater, please consider calcium and iron supplements — or a good multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the Daily Value for your age of these two important micronutrients.
9 – Thermal Therapies
After a tough WOD, you could benefit from cold therapy, which calms muscle and tissue inflammation, thereby minimizing oxygen depletion on the cellular level and even soreness.
If you don’t have access to an ice bath — or you just hate freezing cold water? Try a contrast shower. In either a shower or a tub, alternate between cycles of hot and cold water. Try 60 seconds of hot (up to 110 degrees), followed by 30 seconds of cold (as low as 60 degrees) for five to seven cycles. Studies show that contrast hydrotherapy, which alternately dilates and constricts blood vessels, reduces inflammation and promotes lymphatic drainage of waste products.
10 – Know when to Back off
We all like to hit WODs all-out, all the time. The problem is that there are times when we need more rest despite the fact that we’re doing everything right. For instance, the ability to recover could be hampered by a training regimen that’s not appropriate, emotional or psychological stress, or even something like the common cold.
So listen to your body! Ask yourself – Do I feel week today? Am I enthused? Am I prepared with adequate sleep and nutrition? Don’t be afraid to take a few days off, you will likely come back stronger!
Taken from an article written by Bob LeFavi, Ph.D.