If you’ve ever competed in a Crossfit competition then you’ll know it’s tough.
First there’s the months of hard work you’ll put in at the gym; training once, or maybe even twice a day. You’ll spend that time honing your technique and working on your engine, ready for what ever wod gets thrown your way. Then there’s the time spent in the kitchen, dialling in your nutrition to help fuel your body through this brutal training (and to get lean as f***, of course). Not to mention your daily rom wod, supplementation plan and potentially some hours spent in the pool trying to learn a new skill – tires me out just thinking about it!
But have you ever planned for your recovery?
I’m guessing not (I’m speaking from experience here). In fact, you’ve probably thought about your post comp treat meal more than you’ve thought about your post comp recovery.
So what should you be doing to make sure you’re well rested post comp and ready to get back to the gym (and training for your next competition) in no time.
MOVE – This is one for the day itself – your recovery starts here. You may have just completed a mammoth grinder or pushed yourself so hard in 5 mins that you think you might burst, but that doesn’t mean you can sit down. Make sure you’re keeping mobile between wods. Walk, mobilise, roll, stretch or even crawl. Just KEEP MOVING.
REST– And I mean, the do very little sort of rest and definitely not back in the gym within 24 hours. For the rest of the day and perhaps even the following day you’ll want to rest pretty hard, maybe walk the job and mobilise but then it’s ‘Netflix and Chill’ all the way. Following that you can start adding in some active rest but don’t go whole hog until you’re fully recovered, and then some.
SLEEP – I’ve spoken before about the importance of sleep for recovery here. Getting the right amount of sleep will help you to recover both physically and mentally. Just remember, you’ll want to build a good sleep pattern before your competition to make it even more effective afterwards.
HYDRATE – Keeping well hydrated before, during and post wod will help your muscles to recover, aid digestion when refuelling your body and reduce fatigue. You may find it difficult to drink a lot of water during the day, especially if Double Unders feature (ladies, you know what I’m saying) but just ensure you constantly take small sips throughout the day & make time for your pre-wod wee and you’ll be fine.
EAT – Yes, you do deserve that treat meal after but don’t let it turn into a full on treat weekend or even worse a treat week! Eating the right foods will certainly help you to recover faster, the same as eating the wrong foods will hinder recovery (so try not to go get wasted and have a dirty kebab on your way home). Instead, enjoy a treat meal, have a beer or a wine and make sure you are getting plenty of protein and veg (if you live in Manchester then head down to Kettlebell Kitchen post comp and cheat clean like I did)
MASSAGE – A good sports massage following your comp is a great way to aid recovery. It will help to flush out toxins, allow the body to relax, reduce the risk of DOMS, and lets face it, it’s a nice little treat right?!
EPSOM – You can pick Epsom Salts up pretty cheaply in your local chemist (drug store) or supermarket. Magnesium Sulphites are known to help muscle relaxation, sports injuries and recovery in the bath. Just add two cups to a bath of warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes. This can be repeated a couple of days a week as needed.
DELOAD – And finally, when you do get back to the gym you might want to consider a deload week. You can either reduce the weight in your lifts, stick with the same weight but lower the rep scheme or if you’re doing a lot of wods/cardio then maybe think about hitting the intermediate scaling instead of advanced. You’re much more likely to come back with a bang the following week.