There’s nothing quite like showing up to the gym and absolutely SMASHING the workout. You leave smiling, confident and full of endorphins. But what about those days that you feel like you’re dragging, weights feel heavier than they should and you can’t catch your breath? Here are some tips for recovery, rest and being able to make your workouts work for you.
DIET: I don’t know if anyone else on the challenge noticed a difference in their performance, but by the fourth week the time it took me to complete my 100 cal bike bonus dropped by 3 minutes! Outside of restricting certain foods, we can also improve our diet by eating balanced meals. Our three main macronutritents (often called macros) are protein, carbohydrates and fats. In the most simple terms, your brain runs on carbs, your muscles run on fats and are repaired by proteins. Proteins are also the building blocks of all of your body tissues (skin, nails, hair). Most people assume that if your goal is to lose weight you should eat less, but that isn’t necessarily the case if you are exercising hard and feeling like you aren’t recovering. Balance in this sense isn’t equal portions of these macros but usually a 3:7:9 ratio. (3 grams of fat: 7 grams of protein: 9 grams of carbs** this isn’t total grams per meal this is just the ratio used to show how much of each macro you should have in comparison to the other). Total daily amounts of each macro are based on your activity level and body mass, and if you are interested in knowing your exact numbers please ask me and I will calculate them for you and explain this a little further. Also taking a multivitamin and extra magnesium if you’re having muscle soreness can really help. All things considered, your diet is so important to your goals in the gym and your recovery. If you’re struggling this may be the first place to look.
WATER: Drinking water is one of those things that we know we should be doing, but often gets forgotten. Water is essential to life!!! We NEED it! Whether you set an alarm on your phone for every hour to drink a few ounces, or you carry your water bottle with you everywhere, find a way to make it a priority! It will help you peel weight, increase the quality of your skin and you will overall feel better. DO IT!
SLEEP: I know that we are all busy people, some of us with children and hectic schedules and sometimes sleep eludes us. My suggestion in this case is to make the day after your busiest night your rest day. Allow yourself the day to recover. There’s nothing worse than coming to the gym and eating it on a box jump or overdoing it in a lift and getting hurt because your body was too tired. Granted, there are some days where we are tired and a good workout can increase our energy, but I think that we can all tell when it would be to much. My suggestion here is listen to your body and know when to pull back.
MOBILITY : Don’t skip out on the mobility at the end of class! Muscles shorten when we contract them, and over all of the repetitions in our workouts your brain can forget what the full length of the muscle is. This can leave us feeling tight and stiff! This is why stretching and lengthening the muscles out after a hard WOD is so crucial! That quad stretch may seem unimportant, but tell me that after you’ve been sitting at your desk all day!
MASSAGE: Consider massage as a compliment to your exercise! Massage is a great partner to CrossFit, helping to relieve tension, flush muscles of built up lactic acid, and calm the brain from the high stress and intensity of our training. Even one session a month can greatly improve your muscle quality and your recovery. Besides the fact they are amazing, you wont regret what they can add to your training in the gym.
REST DAYS: Rest days are the best days! Contrary to what you may think, resting is just as important as working! A day without a workout is a day for your muscles to repair, for your hormones to level out and it gives your brain an opportunity to rest. I know that we all love the intensity of CrossFit and that’s why we’re here, but it does cause our adrenaline to pump, and over long periods of time this can cause adrenal fatigue. If you feel like you can never recover, even with proper diet, water, and sleep, I would definitely consider seeing a doctor. As a general rule, I suggest no more than 3 days working out in a row before having a rest day. Rest days can still be active; consider taking a walk, yoga, stretching and rolling out, but try to keep your intensity low. Don’t make it your goal to burn calories. It’s also important that you maintain your diet on rest days- don’t eat less because you feel like you’re doing less. Your body still needs those macros to recover!
These are just some ways that can help us have longevity in the gym. Nobody likes to feel burnt out and tired all the time! Consider committing to some of the things on the list for a week and see if you notice a difference! We are here to continue a lifetime of fitness, strength and self love! I’m proud of all of your hard work, now let’s give back to ourselves!