CrossFit is quickly becoming one of the most popular fitness regimens in the world. This branded regimen has many different aspects – it is a type of workout, it is also an exercise philosophy and even a competitive fitness sport. Those who incorporate CrossFit as part of their fitness routine can enjoy a robust and hard-hitting workout that can make a huge difference. Whilst the regimen itself is manageable, people often struggle with CrossFit recovery. This is often an area of the regimen that is rarely discussed but is just as important. This article looks at how to recover effectively from CrossFit:
General recovery advice
Before we look at specific recovery methods, it is important to understand the general things you can do to improve the process. As you will see, nutrition and rest are two key recovery aspects:
Nutrition is hugely important
Nutrition is important in every aspect of your life. Without sufficient nutrition, our bodies will become weak. It is important to imbibe a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals. This will allow our bodies to perform vital functions such as cell repair. Furthermore, vitamins will help our muscles and cells function effectively without causing lasting damage. As CrossFit is such an intense fitness regimen, a strong nutritional diet will aid recovery.
Sufficient rest is also important
It is surprising how many people forget about rest. If you don’t allow your body sufficient time to rest, you can cause lasting damage. During periods of rest, your body will actually divert resources specifically for cell and tissue repair. Therefore, if you never rest, your body will never truly recover from an intense CrossFit workout! Adequate sleep, power naps, and even meditation can improve your recovery.
Now we can look at the actual post-workout methods that can aid recovery. These methods are all tried and tested. They have scientifically proven benefits that can help both your body and mind after an intense CrossFit workout. Please note that the results may vary depending on each individual person:
This technique is also known as SMR (Self-myofascial release). Foam Rolling is hugely popular in the CrossFit world and can aid your recovery. Foam Rolling involves using foam rollers and other speciality devices to relieve muscle soreness. Consider purchasing a foam roller and using it before and after your CrossFit exercises. By using foam rolling, you can improve blood circulation, and allow your muscles to stretch sufficiently after a workout.
Although resting and nutrition are important, you must also perform a little active recovery. Active recovery is when you are performing some form of body movement – this shouldn’t be strenuous body movement, however. Ideally, your heart rate should be at 50% of its usual maximum capacity. You should perform active recovery exercises for at least 10 minutes after a CrossFit routine.
The main point of active recovery is that it shouldn’t feel like exercise. It should be a throwaway activity that should almost feel like a waste of time. Examples of active recovery include bike riding, walking or even rowing. Simple, low-energy active recovery for 10 minutes after a CrossFit session.
It should first be noted that massages do NOT aid your physical recovery from CrossFit. A massage should be used for relaxation and to soothe your muscles – it will not speed up the actual recovery process. Where massages do come into their own, however, is mental recovery. A massage acts like a mental stimulant and can help clear your mind after a strenuous CrossFit exercise. There is nothing more relaxing than lying on a massage table and having your muscles and joints worked over for half an hour – perfection!
When most people think of compression garments, they think of plastic surgery. Indeed, this type of garment is often used after elective surgery to help retain shape and reduce swelling. There is actually research which shows the benefits of compression garments for CrossFit recovery.
Wearing a compression garment can have several benefits. Firstly it can help reduce the impact of DOMS. Secondly, it can help hasten muscle function recovery. Finally, it can help attenuate the concentration of CK (creatine kinase – muscle damage) after a strenuous CrossFit session. Popular sportswear producers such as Under Armour provide some fantastic compression garments that are certainly worth the investment.
There you have it – an awesome recovery regimen to compliment your CrossFit classes. It is important that you take recovery seriously. If you do not, you will ultimately cause damage to your body and could simply burn yourself out. We hope you have found this guide beneficial. After your next CrossFit class, why not try one or more of these recovery methods and look at improving your nutrition and rest?