July saw the return of the CrossFit Games to the Stubhub Centre, Carson California, testing the world’s fittest athletes and watched by an increasing worldwide audience. After such physical intensity you’ll want to read on for these 5 Top Ways to Recover from Gruelling Workouts!
CrossFit is all about constantly changing functional movements performed at relatively high intensity. CrossFit workouts are based on real-life movements that you’d do in everyday life. The fitness workouts focus upon the functional movements employed in sports such as gymnastics, weightlifting, running and many others performed at a high intensity. This concept that aims to dramatically improve levels of fitness defines intensity as being vital to achieve maximum results.
Participants are results driven, targeting and striving to be the fittest they can be and are regarded as being the most well rounded athletes. They place themselves under increasingly intense training modalities, in some instances twice a day, six or even seven times per week. The community of CrossFit commence the regime with workouts of the day (WODs) comprising of more technical aspects and range from grassroots to elite with top participants competing in regional competitions. The elite qualify to compete in the world showcase which is the CrossFit Games, held annually in July.
Participants challenge themselves intensely with this form of high intensity training, developing the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and psychological systems. However, recovery, which is often ignored or seen as inadequate is an essential element of CrossFit and indeed any form of high intensity training.
Let’s look now at 5 Top Ways to Recover from Gruelling Workouts of the day so that you can effectively prepare for the next day’s training!
1. Looking after muscle tissue
During intense exercise there is often a chemical shift in the muscles, although muscles contract they often do not relax back to their normal state. Many experience cramping or tightening therefore there are popular techniques to break down the muscle tissue such as foam rolling or deep tissue massage. None of which are pain free.
2. Nutrient replacement
Protein will assist in recovery by replenishing depleted energy stores and repairing the damage done during intense workout sessions. Protein is essential for muscle repair, development and repairing and strengthening exercise-induced damage to fast and slow twitch fibres. Complex carbs including whole wheat products or potatoes assist and recharge your energy stores whilst fats assist protein absorption.
3. Clearing lactic acid
Lactic acid (a metabolite) develops during and remain post workout. When the muscles contract the lactate limits their function. These products need to be flushed away through active recovery, contrasting ice baths with hot showers or recovery garments which squeeze oxygenated blood back into the muscles.
4. Hydration of the body
Naturally during an intense workout session, the body loses fluids by sweating which could take up to 24-48 hours to replenish. In sweating both water and electrolytes, particularly potassium and sodium are lost. Water is the main constituent of our blood transporting oxygen to damaged/fatigued muscles. Replacement is essential in assisting that all systems work to their full capacity and achieve recovery.
WODs put the body under extreme stress, sleeping gives the body an opportunity to recover both mentally and physically. It also allows adaptations within the body to occur.
So there you have it, what you really need to know about how to recover from the most difficult and gruelling of workouts as well as giving you an overview of CrossFit and its benefits. Use this knowledge to train smarter, gain your performance edge whilst realising optimum levels of capacity and stamina over longer periods!