I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about soreness and how to eliminate or reduce it in order to keep a solid training schedule and get the most out of the WOD.
What better day to talk about this than the day after I finished a competition that involved 4 WODs in less than 3 hours?
To say that I wasn’t sore this morning would be a lie, but I was a lot better off than I expected and I think it’s due to a list of things that I have made a habit of and that I think you can all learn from.
1. Warm Up: I will be the first to admit that in the past I was terrible about getting a proper warm up in before I hit the WOD. However, over the past 6 months since we opened Cróga, I have come to appreciate and see the value of a solid warm up, not only for myself, but for all our members.
If you don’t put in the time or effort to warm up your body and muscles properly for the WOD, you will not only perform poorly, but will most likely be regretting it the next day when you wake up.
2. Stretching & Mobility: In every class at Cróga we take a significant chunk of time to make sure you all have stretched the systems you’re going to be using during the WODs. The reason we do this is the same as getting a proper warm up.
If you don’t spend the time to perform proper maintenance on your body, you will pay the price either during the WOD or after.
We encourage you all to spend time after class at Cróga or at home mobilizing the systems you used that day. It will most definitely help reduce or eliminate the soreness the next day.
3. Protein & Supplements: For almost all of you, CrossFit is the most strenuous athletic activity you’ve ever done in your life.
With all the strength training and gymnastics movements that we perform comes some serious breakdown of muscle fibers. Beyond making sure to eat quality foods, we advise everyone to take a protein supplement post-WOD to help repair those muscles.
Our personal favorite is Progenex Recovery, which we sell at the box, and Kelly and I both take after every single WOD.
We also sell Kill Cliff, which is an awesome product post-WOD that Kelly and I both enjoy daily for recovery purposes. In their words, “the idea behind Kill Cliff was to create the equivalent of a natural liquid ibuprofen. Why pop pills for pain and swelling when you can drink a tasty beverage formulated with natural ingredients right?” You can read more about it on the Kill Cliff About Us Page.
Finally, the #1 supplement besides protein that we advise everyone to take is good quality fish oil or another source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been proven to provide a LONG LIST of benefits, most importantly improved blood flow and reduced inflammation, which both help you recover quicker. At this time we do not sell any Omega-3’s, but we can point you in the right direction if you’re looking to start taking some.
If you’re interested in any other supplements, one of our members, Jon, works at the Max Muscle store next door every day except Monday & Wednesday and can give you as much or as little info about a wide range of products to help your recovery.
4. Sleep: This is the #1 thing that I personally struggle with and am trying to get better at, but it is arguably one of the most important.
Your body does all it’s major repairs in your sleep, so when you stay up late and get up early you’re cheating your body of the time it needs to recover.
The optimum amount of time for sleep for an athlete is 10 hours. I know this is a lot, especially when many people work 10 to 12 hour days, but if you’re not going to get there, you can at least set a goal to get maybe 30 minutes or 1 hour more than you currently do.
Check out this awesome article from the CrossFit Journal on the importance of sleep, it’s called Sleeping for Performance.
5. Food: Eating good quality foods in correct protein (7 grams) to carbohydrate (9g) to fat (1.5g) proportions is essential to recovery! It doesn’t matter how good your warm up was, how much you mobilize, how many supplements you take, or how much sleep you get, without proper nutrition you will not recover properly or reach your full potential.
We will be hosting a Paleo Challenge here at Cróga CrossFit next month and will be talking about diet a lot, but if you want to get a jump on the learning curve, go out and pick up the book It Starts With Food. This book will give you a great look into the science behind the Paleo Diet and what foods are good for you and help with recovery and what foods are not.