As you go about your CrossFit workout sessions, paying close attention to the recovery process will be pivotal to your long-term success.
One thing that newcomers and seasoned fitness enthusiasts alike run into with CrossFit is the ‘too much, too soon’ syndrome.
It’s easy to keep going at maximum intensity for the first while because you’re excited about the workout and seeing great results, but it’s highly likely to catch up to you, with potential consequences including fatigue, injuries, or both.
Since most CrossFit workout sessions are physically demanding and intense, if you are not allowing for optimal downtime between them for rest and recovery, you may pay the price.
By focusing on the recovery you give your body, your fitness goals can be more readily realized and health increasingly improved – let’s go over a few of the best tips out there for recovery maximization.
Tip 1: Foam Roller And Mobility Tools
First, consider integrating some foam rolling into your program.
With foam rolling, you’ll simply place the foam under the muscle that’s sore and roll back and forth. This will place extra tension on those muscle tissues, helping them loosen up as you relax and the recovery process ensues.
If you are very tight, it can be slightly uncomfortable at first, but keep at it and you’ll find you feel quicker recovery by doing it.
Use smaller tools such as lacrosse balls or innovative devices like the MobilityWOD SuperNova against a wall or on the floor to pinpoint and work those troublesome deep muscle sites.
These smaller, lighter, and highly portable muscle grinders are a must-have for your recovery and muscle work, and are a perfect way to get similar benefits that a deep tissue massage would provide, at a fraction of the cost.
Tip 2: Take A Hot Bath, Get Some Sleep, And Hydrate!
A hot bath is another great way to foster a faster recovery. This will increase blood circulation to the muscle tissue, which then means greater oxygen and nutrient delivery – two things that your tissues need for repair.
A hot bath before bed can also lull you to sleep easier, and sleep is another very vital part of the recovery equation.
If you aren’t getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night, it could be one reason you aren’t seeing the recovery you hope you would. Stay away from the alcohol and caffeine several hours before bedtime, but drink plenty of water.
Try reading a book with soft light before bed to help get you relaxed and sleepy. Running the risk of being accused of sacrilege here – but if possible, try turning off or muting your phones and tablets too.
If you’re not getting at least 8 hours of sleep, don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor or a specialist. Sleep doctors can change your life, and help you get the sleep you need.
Hydrating before, sometimes during, and especially after working out is essential for muscle endurance and recovery. Your CrossFit gym should have a water jug or fountain, so bring a big cup with you and swig some H2O.
One of the main reasons for tiredness and feeling sluggish during the day is a lack of hydration. You morning routine should include gulping water, at least a full glass or two – your body and mind will thank you!
Tip 3: Activation Of The Muscles And Mobility Exercises
Activation and contraction of the muscles leads to blood flow and draining of the lymphatic vessels and helps with muscle recovery.
Although mobility should be practiced daily, consider scheduling 1 or 2 yoga or athlete mobility classes into your week to increase activation and help improve flexibility, mobility, blood flow, and lymphatic drainage.
These classes will also allow you to focus on your weak spots and increase muscle and mind self-awareness.
Use resistance bands for low-intensity upper and lower-body movements to re-activate the muscles and get the stiffness out of your system. Use loop bands or bands with handles, such as Crossover Symmetry HIIT Bands, to stretch, lengthen, and pull your muscles for increased flexibility and mobility.
Use PushX3 pushup equipment for static and dynamic mobility training. This versatile pushup tool can also be used to better engage your muscles during a pushup.
There are several useful variations you can incorporate into your mobility exercises; for example, try holding plank position and slowly rolling the shoulders, or even slowly rocking back and forth while lowering and raising in pushup position using PushX3.
Other activities such as surfing, swimming, hiking, or climbing trees – anything to get you moving will work great; just make sure you get out there and get active!
Tip 4: Fuel Your Body With Nutrients For Repair
It’s also going to be a must that you fuel your body well after each workout is over.
Taking in both carbohydrates as well as protein immediately after the workout session will help to provide your body with exactly what it needs to kick-start the recovery process.
Make sure you don’t wait too long before eating after the session is over, the time period immediately following the workout your body will be extra sensitive to taking up those nutrients.
Tip 5: Take Two Or Three Days Off Per Week
Finally, your body needs rest – the professional athlete standard of no days or only one day off per week will likely not be enough for those of us doing intense CrossFit training sessions. Instead, aim for two or three days off per week from all intense exercise.
Do some leisure exercise if you wish, schedule mobility or yoga classes as mentioned previously, but most importantly, re-energize yourself for the week ahead.
So there you have the most vital points to remember if you hope to see a maximum recovery between CrossFit training sessions. Use these tips and you can be sure you will be coming back to each workout ready to give 110%!