Recovery from CrossFit

I am writing this article to assist members in recovery. This is based on personal experience, practice, and revolves from many articles, books, and podcasts absorbed. I am not a doctor, I am not an expert. I am a coach, and I have been competing at CrossFit competitions for 4 years, up to 7 a year. And even broadened horizons with competitions in Strongman.

My rule for many beginner athletes is keeping it simple. So, if you take one thing from this and use it, then you are taking your first step to a better you. Recovery and care of the body outside of the gym is just as important as inside the gym.

I recently came off of a two day CrossFit competition. Individual the first day, and 2 person Team the second day. I did 4 workouts on Saturday and Sunday. Both days consisted of a total of 30 minutes of high intensity work over 4 workouts in 6 hours on each day. They ranged from 6-12 minutes. And one was actually only two minutes. These are short intense workouts prescribed to test your skills, ability, and work output over short periods of time. One to two hours rest is between each workout.

I am mostly writing this to answer all of those questions of, how did you do that? How did you recover? How are you able to come and squat the day after? Simply put, I am a mediocre athlete that never settles. Primarily this is written to benefit any person in ways to continue to work to their optimal level of fitness.

  1. Training. I spend most Saturdays and Sundays at open Gym preparing my body to know what it takes to do several workouts a day. I would work out at 9 and sometimes fit one or two more strength components, and possible two more wods in Open Gym. This is added to JCCF’s daily programming. I usually fit in my strength on lunch and the wod of the day in evenings. Because I can’t get there in time for a full hour class due to daily responsibilities. I have a full time job, husband, two kids in sports, and an amazing gym community that is also a full time business.
  2. Training can sometimes take more toll on a body than a competition, but the competition adds the mental fortitude. Positive Self talk. Stay away from negative environments and people for that matter. You HAVE to prepare. Not just for game day, but for the recovery there of. You train so your body knows you can compete two days, and know that it can continue when it’s all done.
  3. Programming. Follow the programming. I follow ours. You know how when you are a Mom or Dad and you tell your kids to do something, and they ask why. You say, “Because I said so.” Well, as a coach, “Follow the programming. Because I said so.” Ha!! Strength cycles, and 8-12 minutes Workouts. Strength is elite, and the workouts address our energy cycles most efficiently. I add squats and Olympic lifting in open gym sessions. The programming we supply is set the way it is for a reason. To peak at times when maximum potential is tested or required. To see our GAINZ.
  4. When I work out I no rep myself. If I am not practicing full depth and extension. It doesn’t really count. Make your movement count.
  5. Rest. I sleep 8-9 hours every night. Sometimes 10 on Friday and Saturday nights. This came with time. Mama Mia used to like to party Friday and Saturday nights. Now I just like to train on Saturday and Sundays more. And still do. My sleep comes first. I have lots of demands every day. If I don’t rest, I cannot perform at my optimal level at work, home, or gym. I have a restless mind, so it takes proactive measures to get that rest. I take a supplement of magnesium citrate and drink chamomile tea every night.
  6. I rest one to two days before a competition. It’s usually is 36 hours prior to the first Workout.
  7. I also eat protein, and non- processed carbs like it is my job. Processed foods cause inflammation. That’s all you need to know. Sometimes I will eat double what I normally do the day before. Consider building an energy storage. Because one, my nerves on game day are at their highest which directly correlates to my GI. I will get most of my food supplementation by Protein powder, and small nibbles of food right after WODS. Lots and lots of water. Pedialyte , Gatorade, BCAA’s. It is important to get your electrolytes replenished. Oh and bananas. Two bananas. Fish oil, one gram before every wod. My meal prep game day before comps are spot on. I don’t have any sponsors yet unfortunately. HAHA! For preworkout, I like coffee. Some sort of caffeine but nothing over the top. You don’t want to have a crash right after a workout, and then know you have to do another in two hours.
  8. I see a chiropractor regularly and the day before my competition. Your body being out of alignment directly affects your form in every movement you do. It will not only reduce risk of injury from compensation, but also make you move more efficiently.
  9. Mobility. Every day. Sometimes two times a day. Some times in one minute increments throughout any given day. Foam roller. Lacrosse ball. And lots and lots of deep lunges and air squats.
  10. My husband gives me weekly massages. Just kidding, but sometimes. Because Jake Holee is amazing. But I also see a massage therapist two days out from a competition. It relaxes the mind, body, and helps prepare to release havoc in two days when asked to do the unknown.
  11. I drink a protein shake and do a cool down right after a wod. Some stretching, maybe a walk, a row, deep breathing. And then I sit down with legs elevated to rest if at all possible.
  12. Deep breathing. All day. Box breathing. 4 seconds in. 4 sounds hold. 4 seconds out. 4 seconds hold. The best is literally right before a wod starts.

The end result, I was really sore Monday. But nothing I couldn’t handle. Great news is we are in deload week. De-load week is awesome. The reason I didn’t WOD (tax my heart rate and put myself under intensity) until three days later was so that my Central Nervous System could recover. I know I put my body through a lot. I know I have 36 years on this body. You must rest.  Even when your mind wants you to go.

I understand some people may think this is very extreme. I have never claimed to be normal. I actually enjoy staying away from the norm. I am a little crazy, and I am beginning to think that I get off on hard work. Because well… there is no replacement for it. And I love my CrossFit. I love the mental release and endorphins after a workout. I love my feeling of empowerment every day at the gym. I love our community. I love the power of the barbell. In a given day, my heart still raises before the ten second count down. That is one moment of me getting to do me. And it pours over into every aspect of my life.

So, why write this? Because if I know you, you are at our gym, and enjoy what you are doing. You have inspired me to be a better coach. There are times that words unsaid are better ‘said.’ You want to get better. And knowledge and practice of positive habits make us better. Small steps every day towards your goal is what will equal success. I have yet to feel there is a finish line. In our community. In our gym. As a parent, as an employee, as a coach. I can be better. I will be better than yesterday. We have one God given life. And we should make the best of the opportunity he has given us.


Coach Maria