Whether you are just starting out with CrossFit, or you are a seasoned veteran, you know that allowing for optimal recovery is crucial. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to tell if you have recovered properly until you start your next workout of the day (WOD). You might think things are OK, but the minute you start you feel weak and you have trouble keeping up, every pistol is an agony and you’re lucky if you can even manage one pood (kettle bell). These are all sure signs that you haven’t fully recovered from your last WOD before starting the next one. Even though you don’t have to be hardcore to do CrossFit, you might still try to push through the fog and make it happen.
Unfortunately, cheating your body of a full recovery can do you more harm than good. Not only can it cause injury, it can also impede your progress. Below are some tips to help you get the most out of your recovery periods.
Use Compression Garments
Compression garments were once the sole domain of professional athletes, but now they are showing up in gyms and on amateur sports fields throughout the land. TommieCooper, a manufacturer of women’s compression shorts and other compression garments, says that compression garments help support muscles and joints, improve circulation, and aid in muscle recovery.
Compression garment manufacturers aren’t the only ones touting the benefits of compression wear. In fact, there have been several studies to that effect and one, Lower limb compressiongarment improves recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in young, active females by J.R. Jakeman et al, indicates that there might be some truth to the claims.
As the name suggests, compression garments apply gentle pressure to encourage blood flow moving oxygen and nutrients to healing muscles, and removing wastes. Consider wearing them during your WOD and on your recovery days for maximum benefit.
Feed Your Recovery
Your muscles need the right nutrition to recover and grow, which means you need lots of lean protein and fruits and vegetables for proper nutrition. But want you eat is only part of the equation; you also have to pay attention to how much you eat. If you are using CrossFit for weight loss, you might be cutting calories and that could be hindering your recovery. Make sure that you are getting enough calories to feed your recovery. The best way to determine how many calories you need is to use a calculator that determines the number of calories you need based on your height, weight, gender, and activity level. You might be surprised at just how many calories you need to support your CrossFit activities.
Fuel Your Workouts
You also need to eat well on WOD days. This not only means eating a healthy breakfast, but having a pre-WOD and post-WOD snack as well. Your body is going to use up a lot of energy during the WOD and these snacks are going to give you the energy boost you need to keep up and jumpstart your recovery after. Try to time your pre-WOD snack at least one hour before hand, and your post-WOD snack within 30 minutes after. The snack should be in the 200 to 300 calorie range such as energy bars, fruit smoothies, and whole wheat crackers and peanut butter.
Cool Your Jets
Your WOD should include a cool down, but if you are finding that you are having trouble recovering, you might need to take it a step further. In addition to the WOD cool down, consider spending a few minutes on an exercise bike, or on a rower before dong some light stretching. Cooling down keeps the blood flowing through your muscles and helps flush out wastes. If you don’t cool down enough your muscles could tighten too quickly, which can seriously reduce your recovery time.
Consider getting a sports massage every few weeks, or months, to help with the recovery process. Sports massage helps push blood and fluids through your muscles, and it will also work out those nagging kinks that can slow you down. There is also evidence that massage can ease muscle cramps, which can significantly improve your recovery.
How do you help yourself recover from a hard WOD? Any suggestions to add?