“Please raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by The Crossfit Open”
Week 2 is behind us and we still have 3 more weeks to go! After 18.2/2a, I know all of our legs are feeling like Regina George (cuz she got hit by a bus…last Mean Girls reference, promise).
So what should you be doing to ensure proper recovery RIGHT NOW as well as after each workout for the next 3 weeks to not feel totally destroyed and decrease your performances?!
18.1 wasn’t too damaging to our overall system. It was paced, longer duration, and no single body part was overly taxed, plus we went into it totally fresh! Then came 18.2/2a and we all emptied the tank on those last 10 burpees then had a few minutes to shake out our legs before lifting as heavy as possible…NOW we are feeling it. Our CNS (central nervous system) is a bit fried from maximal efforts and our glycogen stores (carbohydrates stored for energy) are totally wiped out so we need to do everything we can to recuperate those to have another great Open performance.
Our recovery for these next 3 weeks comes down to these components: EAT, SLEEP, MOVE. Pretty simple and straightforward, you might even think ‘duh’, but too often we let these things go on the back-burner and during the Open there is no time for that!
As I’ve mentioned before, you need to be eating 50-100g extra carbohydrates on the days before you are completing the workout (so Thursday for most) and you need to also include some extra carbs on your workout day (Friday) depending on the workout type. But after you workout it is also very important to re-fuel! Immediately after you finish your workout, as your heart rate starts to come down (give yourself a few minutes to allow your body to get out of panic/stressed/fight mode), take in some quick-digesting carbohydrates and some BCAAs. My go-to has been Coconut Water mixed with Purus Labs Amino Acids but you can also do fruit juices, carb-powders plus whey protein, or a sports drink. Replenishing the carbohydrates you just blasted through is key to initiating some recovery!
A little while later (about an hour), consume another serving of high-carb (can still be relatively fast-digesting) along with some protein. This can be more of a real-food meal if your stomach is ready for it now. Whole fruits, oatmeal, protein bar, or Oat Bites are all good options.
Then, another meal about 3-4 hours later, including some more additional carbs, proteins and some fats. These carbs can be slower digesting (whole grains, vegetables). Then, the following day (Saturday) consume another 50-100g additional carbohydrates for your daily intake to continue to promote recovery!
Even with all of these additional carbohydrates (I mean, enjoy all the food!) our bodies will still be trying to play catch-up to recover. Consider a second re-feed day along with your Thursday Re-Feed. Maybe take Wednesday and Thursday to up your carbs a bit to make sure that your body is geared up for the next week’s event. Even with all this extra glycogen and glucose being poured into our bodies, we will still be playing catch-up with our recovery, so that brings me to the next point…
On a regular weekly basis, sleep is crucial to our success. Whether it’s a weight-loss goal, muscle-building goal, overall health or performance, if we are skipping out on sleep (less than 8 hours per night more than 2 nights per week), we are missing out BIG TIME. But now, with our bodies being pushed to their absolute furthest point of ability 1-2 times per week (if you choose to re-do workouts) sleep is even more important!!
During sleep is the only time our bodies are in an anabolic state (that means building up) so if we are skipping out on sleep that means we are missing vital recovery time! No matter how well we are eating, how many carbs we’re taking in, and how much we are moving (details coming next), if we are not getting enough shut-eye not only is our performance going to suffer but our overall health and longevity is as risk as well! Being in a catabolic (breaking down) state for too long can cause hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue which can have really negative long-term implications for our fitness and our health! So get to bed a bit earlier on WEDNESDAY night to ensure you are going into your re-feed day with as little recovery-debt as possible, refuel well, then have another great night of sleep on THURSDAY before attempting your workout!
Again, starting immediately after you finish your workout, GET MOVING. Hop on a bike or a rower or go for a short walk around the building to flush out all the waste-product created within your muscle from emptying the tank in that last 1:00 of your workout! By flushing out the bad and ingesting some carbs and proteins to flush in along with other nutrients, you can kick-start your recovery process ASAP after your workout.
After 15-20:00 of some “flush movements”, hit a couple mobility pieces focusing on the areas you were just using. Foam rolling and light stretching will help you feel better on the following day.
You’ll want to feel better (of course there will be soreness) on the following day because you will want to do some more moving then also. Nothing strenuous, but do some more flush-type movement to stay loose and help your muscles continue to recover. Two days before your Open workout should be your rest day where you do very little exercise, even try to stay completely out of the gym for a good physical and mental break from it all! Then on the day before, go in for some light movement to stay fresh and not feel stiff or sluggish on Test Day!
Two down and three to go, we’re as fit as we’re going to be at this point and all that’s left to do is showcase that and be as recovered as we can possibly be!