It’s easy to take recovery for granted, especially when you feel you’re at the top of your game. If you’re a casual CrossFitter, an hour of working out is roughly 5% of your day and a dedicated athlete may train two or three times a day for an hour, which is 10–15% of the day.
What’s the smartest thing to do with the remaining 85–95%?
Everything you do outside your gym hours is essential to ensure optimum performance and growth. The CrossFit mainsite programming implements a 3-on, 1-off recovery scheme, where you train 3 days straight then rest the day after. Other programming methodologies implement just one rest day throughout the week. Regardless of which day of the week you recover, here are some essential things you can do to prioritize rest and recovery.
- Feed Your Body Well
This is pretty obvious. Your body needs fuel--The right kind! So you need to make sure you eat lots of vegetables, get sufficient protein and good quality carbohydrates.
You can eat small meals or large meals but eat the right meals. Avoid junk food and eat like an athlete to perform like an athlete.
- Ensure Proper Hydration
An adult human being is composed of up to 60% water. Drinking enough water helps relieve fatigue, improves mood, aids weight loss, flushes out toxins and many more. In case you didn’t notice, your body loses a lot of water during the workout so it’s really important to refill your body’s most important component.
- Maintain Active Recovery
CrossFit WODs are composed of high-intensity functional movements. There’s a reason why it’s called “high intensity.” Over-exertion can lead to injuries that will erase your progress. Remember, your muscles grow as you rest, not when you’re working out.
On your rest day, go for a walk, a short hike, a bike ride, a swim if you really feel the need to do something.
Alternatively, you can take the opportunity to take better care of your body through yoga, some stretching and mobility exercises. Try foam rolling for at least 30 minutes on all your major muscle groups or get a massage on your rest day.
- Get (more than) Enough Sleep
We can’t stress this enough. But the truth is--sleep is the most important and the most difficult to implement. I know I still struggle with this from time to time.
Sleep not only makes you feel better but it benefits your heart, weight, mind and more.
Sleep also decreases inflammation and significantly accelerates your body’s ability to recover faster. Get eight to ten hours of sleep at night and stay off screens close to two hours before bedtime. Sleep in a dark room. If you like taking power naps throughout the day, do not go beyond 30 minutes.
- Enjoy Leisure time.
The primary benefits of CrossFit include increased confidence and a stronger, fitter body. That said, these experiences are not exclusive to the gym and should be enjoyed outside of it.
Go ahead and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Go outside, play games, hang out with friends or roommates. If you’re married, enjoy a date night with your spouse, play with your kids and overall, just enjoy life.
Remember, Stress + Rest = Growth. There’s no sense in overtraining yourself if it can’t lead to long-term growth. Be wise and prioritize rest and recovery. That way, you can really see the gains you’ve been training hard for. Also, if you have recovery ideas of your own please share them!