CrossFit training is well-reputed to be brief, intense, often violent, and always effective. Using it, you force your body to perform a series of useful tasks in circuit style format, resulting in muscle fibers being activated from head to toe. Unfortunately for you, this means you are going to be experiencing some serious DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, in the 24 to 48 hours following your workout. The quicker you can manage this soreness, the faster you will recover and be back in the gym for the next brutal CrossFit workout. Let’s check out six secrets for faster recovery from CrossFit workouts.
Immediately following your training, there is a brief period of time known as the “anabolic window” in which your body is very receptive to protein consumption. The low-fat, quick delivery of whey protein is ideal at this time for giving your muscles the amino acids required for recovery. Complete your workout, stretch for 5 minutes to alleviate the nausea you should be feeling following an insanely tough workout, then drink 2 scoops of whey protein powder (40+ grams). You can eat a full meal an hour later – you’ll be hungry again soon, provided you train hard enough!
There are dozens of reasons why CrossFit trainers should be drinking plenty of water. Muscle recovery is yet another reason. If you want to keep it simple, you should drink 1-2 gallons of water each day. If you’re the measuring type, divide your body weight by 2, and drink that many ounces each day. A 200-pound athlete should be drinking 100 ounces, or 12.5 cups of water each day. Always have a water bottle on hand and sip steadily throughout the day for fastest recovery.
During your workout, you experienced pain beyond belief as the sets stacked up and you completed exercise after exercise. Lactic acid built up in the muscle fibers, causing pain. Small tears were incurred in the muscle fibers. They heal – and the muscle grows bigger and stronger when this healing process takes place. You can use a series of stretches for upper body, lower body, and core to help the muscles to loosen up, break waste, and reduce swelling. Massage helps too!
If you’re intro training with CrossFit, there’s little doubt you’re a focused, hard-working multi-tasker that tends to stay much busier than your more “laid back” (read: lazy) peers. For many people trying to balance work, school, family, relationships, and training, sleep is often the first recovery factor to be sacrificed. Don’t let this happen to you. Reduce caffeine sources early in the afternoon. Lay down about an hour before you need to sleep, and take your mind off of stressful tasks. You recover, heal and grow when you’re awake, not while you’re in the gym, no matter how incredible your pump may be. Sleep 7 to 8.5 hours each night, and try to create a routine you can maintain on a long-term basis.
Take your vitamins!
Many of us were forced to consume our Flintstone’s chewable vitamins as children, each morning as part of a well-balanced diet. Your body’s needs didn’t change when you turned 18 and found your own way in the world! A strong multi-vitamin will help alleviate any chance of micronutrient deficiencies you may be facing due to your rigorous training protocols. Toss in Zinc for added recovery, fish oil for brain/joint function, and Vitamins E and C if you find yourself getting sick following weeks of tough training.
The mental aspect
Your body reacts to stress from training, and you’re well aware of it. But you may not realize that your body also uses vital recovery resources to deal with negative mental stresses that you allow to enter your mind. Sure, we all have issues to deal with in life. However, allowing negative stressors to dominate your mind throughout the day will result in a situation where cortisol (stress hormone) levels spike. This wastes muscle, conserves body fat, and leads to prolonged soreness and exhaustion.
Train hard, eat, drink, rest, and quickly deal with stressors. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll be ready for your next intense CrossFit workout in no time!