‘Murica coming at you for a bit a thinking and shit. Often the focus we place on training takes over.
We join the gym (or attack it with new vigor) buy new gear, protein powder and BCAAs(<—Worthless). Sorted! I’m going to look like Huge Jackman (Wolverine) next month, then BAM!
DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) hits you like a fucking train. You smashed Mondays workout but you can’t move again until Thursday and even then you’re still sore. This often happens when too much intensity comes before consistency and results in an inability to recover.
You should be focused on getting into the gym and work hard without killing yourself. BUILD A BASE before you crush your body so badly it takes days to recover. Because thats just completely unproductive.
This is the first in a series of articles that are coming your way from your stellar coaches at CrossFit Green to help maximize your potential for awesomeness. Going forward we will break down the subjects below into more detail to give you the best tools for success.
Most everyday athletes, like much of the Crossfit community, have issues with recovery. The hour you spend in class, in the gym, is honestly the easiest part of getting fit. The time you spend focused on performance and recovery is the hard part.
This is a guide and is a great place to start, it isn’t all inclusive, nor is it meant to be. Everyone will benefit from the same recovery tools, but as individuals some people may need more focus on certain things than others.
For everything you do on a daily basis you get 1 point. The higher the amount of daily points you earn the better you recovery is going to be.
There are also weekly and special occasion points you earn. These are tasks that don’t need to be done daily but performed periodically will improve recovery.
Sleep. 7-9 hours everyday. This means weekends as well! (1) POINT
Obviously longer is better but more than 9 hours is usually just you being lazy. This should be for quality. ie Not drunken sleep. Not from 2am-11am. Not time spent in bed on your phone, but actually time spent asleep. Get into routine and go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Turn off your phone/TV an hour before going to bed. Sleep in a black room, no lights on. Get up when your alarm goes off. NEVER HIT SNOOZE.
Track nutrition everyday. (1) POINT
This will be individual depending on goals but regardless if your focus is fat loss, performance or weight gain, you need to track. “If your not assessing, your guessing”. My fitness pal is a great place to start. Get in the habit of tracking daily. EVERYTHING you eat or drink gets recorded. This is not easy starting out. An hour a day in the gym is about ten percent of your week. How many hours do you spend eating, drinking, snacking, cooking, prepping, thinking about snacking, or sneaking a treat? Way more than then 10% anyway. This is the simple, yet unsexy stuff that gets results.
Hydration. (1) POINT
An easy number is 1 liter per 25kg of body weight. This can be clear water, tea, coffee, etc. It’s harder than you think. Again, this is to be recorded.
Get enough Protein. (1) POINT
This is the most important macro nutrient to focus on. (Especially for anyone with weight loss goals.) Protein is the building block of muscle. Without it you will constantly be under recovered. Recommended protein sources are meat, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, legumes. Yes veg has protein in it but you have to eat a mountain to get enough, as the amount of protein content by weight is low. Protein powders and shakes are options if you struggle to get enough protein, but treat them like what they are, supplements. Whole food is always a better option. A general number to start with is 1g/pound of body weight.
Eat whole foods. (1) POINT
Carrying on from the above, focus on getting 80% of your food from whole, unprocessed sources. ie. no ingredient list. If you cooked it yourself and it’s made from things that lived, grew on a tree or in the ground or on a vine etc chances are it’s probably good for you. The 20% is where you can let your hair down a bit but not so much so that you undo your work for the other eighty percent you worked so hard for.
*Speaking of vines… Allowing for your single glass of wine or beer with dinner, if you have more than 1 alcoholic beverage a day you lose (1) point.
Daily mobility. Minimum 15-20min. (1) POINT
Use: Foam rollers, lacrosse balls, car buffer, resistance bands, hanging, crawling, ROMWOD etc. to help improve mobility. If you don’t know ask your coaches. Youtube is also great for mobility routines. The goal is to take each and every joint through full range of motion. This is important for staying injury free and improving all ten designated facets of fitness.
Minimize processed sugar and sweeteners. (1) POINT
This means anything sweet that is processed. W.H.O. guidelines suggest that men consume no more than 38g a day and women 25g. While in actuality most people consume upwards of double the amount recommended. Almost everything you eat does break down into sugars but these should be natural and from whole food sources.
Processed sugar contributes to inflammation, fatigue, poor concentration and many other negative physical and mental issues.
Meditate/Breathing exercises. 5-10min daily. (1) POINT
This often get dismissed as hippy shit or nonsense while in all reality in can have a massive impact on stress reduction. You body does not differentiate stressors. Your brain reacts in the same way (Even if to a slightly different severity) to a near death experience or an argument with your partner. Money worries and training fatigue. What this means is that as stress compounds and has a systemic(body wide) effect, your ability to cope will diminish. Focused belly breathing and meditating both have a great effect to reduce stress and help lower the stress load on your body.
Listen to your body. (1) POINT
Programming at CrossFit Green is a complex program developed around a year long cycle, designed to increase your strength, power, speed, cardio vascular endurance, stamina, agility, coordination, balance, flexibility and accuracy, and we know it works because we do the same programming alongside you. Wow! You’d swear we thought about this stuff! That said, always be prepared to take a step back hold up your hand and say “Coach I’m not feeling it today”. Take the day to move, sweat a little and cruise through the WOD. Not every WOD is designed to to a hell raiser.
Active Recovery. (1) POINT
Often rest days tend to be sit on the couch or bar stool and not move much. The makes for tight hips, back, shoulders etc. A rest day just means to limit the intensity of your workout. You should still be moving your body. Walking, swimming, leisure cycle or row, horseshoes and croquet are all great active recovery ideas. Get outside and #useyourfitness. Just make sure they stay that way and that your ego doesn’t get in the way and your chosen activity doesn’t turn into a “hold my beer and watch this” moment.
If you are getting to the gym regularly and training hard you should have a minimum of 1 active recovery day per week if not two. Just make sure it doesn’t become an excuse to skip the gym and be lazy.
The above are daily ideas to help improve your recovery. If you scored:
9- 10 Your recovery is on on point! It’s ok to still have sore/tight days while most of the time you feel great!
7-8 Starting to get there! Room for improvement, but this score shows decent dedication to optimizing your recovery.
5-6 60% is barely a passing grade remember, so if you are much below 6/10 chances are you have poor mobility and are sore on a regular basis.
4 This is where much of the general population is currently at. If this included you, changes are seriously needed.
< 3 Chances are CrossFit is going to be REALLY HARD for you!
You should always being aiming high and trying to get 10/10 if you are serious about improving your health and fitness.
In addition to the above these are some weekly/occasional tools to use for recovery.
Again 1 point for each.
Massage. (1) POINT
Reduces muscle soreness, relieves tension etc. I don’t really need to tell you about it.
Physio. (1) POINT
A huge shout for people who rarely/never go to physio! Get a good one. This should not be a massage. It should be someone doing a in depth evaluation of your movement quality and prescribing corrective exercise to help you towards optimal movement quality.
Icing/Heat/Compression. (1) POINT EACH
Use icing sparingly and reserve use for when really sore and beat up. Sea swims are also great and achieve much the same result here in our tropical Irish climate. Heat is great to heat relax tight muscles. Sauna, stream rooms and hot showers are the places to get it. If you have compression tops or bottoms and are really sore, sleeping in them will often increase circulation and speed up recovery a bit.
Like I said above this is a general guideline and will be a great starting point for most people. You coaches will be bringing you weekly info! This is to dive a little deeper into the above topics so you know how to properly implement these changes into your recovery toolbox.
As always if you have questions… ask!:)
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