Last week I talked about two general topics that can contribute to the recovery process, Muscle Manipulation and Sleep/Rest. The reason I felt the need to make this a two part discussion was so that I could go more into specific examples with both of those last, and now do the same with two more topics this week. The concepts I want to dive into this week are Consumption and Flushing.
When I say “Consumption” I’m of course referring to eating or taking in calories of some kind. Now I’m not a nutrition expert in any way shape or form, and the topic of Nutrition could be a thirty part post of its own! With that said I’m going to keep it as simple as possible and stick to my general thoughts in regards to what I have observed over the last 6 years I have been involved in CrossFit.
Having that out of the way I believe that making sure we eat around the time of exercise is very important. Not only to give us the energy to complete activities, but to make sure we have the materials to repair ourselves after said activities. Last week I explained how sleep triggers processes in the body that contribute to protein synthesis, but if we don’t have the proteins and other pieces in our body to carry out the processes then they won’t happen. This applies for any time of the day also since the body is always doing stuff like this. I do like the idea of making sure to consume some kind of calories right after a hard training session and shakes are very convenient for this. The problem I often see with post WOD shakes is that they’re often straight protein when in truth carbs are much better for recovery since the body can convert them into energy much easier. I’m also not a fan of when people think that drinking a shake, of any kind, constitutes as a whole meal. In my opinion a shake can be used in tandem with actual food, but never in place of it! My best example for this is Vitamin D. Sure you can buy pills to make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts, but it’ll never make you feel as good as standing in the sunlight.
The last topic I can think of when it comes to recovery is what I’ll call Flushing. All I mean by this is moving in some kind of way, either the body in general or a specific sore area, to keep the muscles warm and getting all the bad stuff out. This comes back to a lot of the Muscle Manipulation stuff I bought up last week with the principals of blood flowing through an area so it can better heal the broken tissues. There are two specific things for Flowing, however, that I think makes it a different category. These are a Cool Down and Around the World work. I’m CrossFit we’re all pretty notorious for finishing a workout, laying on the ground while we contemplate life decisions, then getting in the car and leaving, but it’s much more helpful after a workout to keep moving. I don’t mean doing another round or anything, but simply take a second to catch your breath then sit on a bike or a rower for five minutes at a very slow pace. I’ve found that this helps my legs feel a lot more normal throughout the following days. Sometimes there are just several training days in a row that compound together and have our whole body feeling out of wack! When these times pop up I like to do something I call Around the World. This is just picking 5 or so movements that are very easy and smooth to do, and cycling through each one for a minute at a time for anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. I find this helps loosen everything up, gives me a little sweat, and kind of resets my body.
Looking back on all four of the general areas we touched on; Muscle Manipulation, Sleep/Rest, Consumption, and Flushing, there’s two big things in common. Those being keep moving and give your body the time and tools to do what it does! Whether its taking ten minutes to stretch before bed or sitting on a bike while you have your post-WOD social hour just keep blood moving. Also to make sure you replace the energy you used with real foods, and give your body the proper amount of rest to fix itself.