When we train, we put a lot of stress on our bodies. On our muscles, and connective tissues, and our joints.
Post training, our body reacts to minimise this stress, prevent damage, and then return to homeostasis.
The quicker we can recover, the sooner we can return to training, and more progress can be made.
In the world of Crossfit, where individuals are pushing their bodies to the limit regularly, effective recovery is absolutely necessary. Not allowing your body to recover properly is like sliding down a slippery slope.
The following factors contribute to effective recovery:
A smart program will have recovery as an important consideration, ensuring enough time between workouts where similar demands on the body will be met.
Warming Up and Cooling Down Correctly
Proper preparation before ramping up the intensity in a workout will help to prevent injury, and therefore promote recovery. Likewise, giving the body a chance to return to normal state post workout, ie. heart rate, breathing rate, body temperature, lactic acid removal, is extremely beneficial and will contribute to effective recovery.
Adequate nutrition- pre and post training
Getting the appropriate amount of macro-nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats) is extremely important for tissue repair and replacement of glycogen stores around training. Exact amounts of these will de dependant on individual physiology, goals, and the duration and intensity of exercise. Consulting a dietitian for specific requirements is highly recommended for individuals with a specific training goal in mind.
An extremely important consideration to ensure maximum functioning of our cardiovascular system- effecting aerobic capacity and performance. Also necessary for cell growth and repair which occurs during the recovery process.
By this I am referring to methods which promote the removal of the waste product Lactic Acid, which when accumulated in the muscle tissue, can cause discomfort and soreness, decreasing the functionality and performance of the tissue. Methods include:
– Low intensity continuous exercise ie, walking, swimming.
– Wearing of compression garments preferably whilst at rest, for an extended period of time
– Hot/Cold contrast- through hot/cold showers, swim/sauna, or ice baths
A combination of the above methods will have an accelerated effect on your recovery.
A variety of methods can be incorporated into your recovery to promote tissue quality and decrease tightness and pain the muscle or joint. Examples include:
Once again incorporating a combination of the above methods will have an accelerated effect on your recovery.
Last but not least, this is actually the most important factor and is where all the adaptations to training will take place. High Quality sleep is essential for effective recovery. Ensuring the environment is conducive to high quality sleep should be a priority, and will contribute significantly to improved performance.
To allow yourself to train well, get fitter and stronger, and perform at your peak, recovery must be an important consideration. Getting the forementioned factors right and incorporating a variety of strategies into your recovery, the quicker you will recover and the more progress you will make.