It is really trendy, to just keep adding more and more volume to your training in order to see results. I believe this is probably because you see CrossFit Games athletes’ schedules and think, “Well he does five workouts per day, why can’t I? That must be what I need to finally reach my fitness goals.” For about 99.9% of us, this actually is the complete opposite of the truth.
While it is true that Rich Froning trains at least two to three times per day, and almost never takes an off day, he is not normal. His genetics are incredible, and apparently the only person who can train like Rich and still recover is actually his 21 year old cousin, who just started CrossFit recently. But that is another story. The important point is this: you cannot train like that and have the same results. But you can recover better and improve your results.
The nice part is, when you recover better, your time in the gym gets more enjoyable, and you don’t even have to suffer through another grueling workout to get results! So how do you make sure your recovery is good?
1. Drink More Water: drinking water is one of the easiest ways to improve recovery. Not only does it taste great after a tough session in the gym, but being hydrated also allows you to flush toxins from your system faster and helps your heart rate recover faster. Both of these aid in recovery.
2. Eat the Right Food: after working out, you need a combination of carbohydrates and protein to build your muscles and fuel you for the rest of your day. The gold standard is a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein, but to make it simple on you, a baked sweet potato and a palm sized amount of lean protein will be just about perfect.
3. Supplement Smartly: there are really only a few supplements you actually NEED to be taking. Need is even perhaps a strong word here, but fish oil is so beneficial, there is just no reason to not be taking it. As an anti-inflammatory, fish oil aids in blood flow. More blood flow equals greater recovery. If you have a difficult time getting 0.8 – 1 gram protein/pound of body weight, a protein supplement is also a good choice. I like Driven Nutrition, which is why we sell it in the box.
4. Active Recovery: this goes back to that whole blood flow = recovery thing. Just sitting on your couch is not going to get you ready for your next WOD. Get up and do something slightly active, such as a bike ride, easy job, or a walk. It should be hard enough that your heart rate rises, but easy enough that you can hold a conversation the entire time.
5. Warm Up and Cool Down Well: when you warm up well, you prime your body to have a better workout, and when you have an active cool down consisting of easy movement to lower your heart rate gradually (think easy bike or row) a little bit of static stretching, and foam rolling will help you feel better the next day. It also can have the same effect as meditation of lowering cortisol which is a positive almost any time.
6. Sleep: nothing will aid your recovery more than sleep. When you sleep, your body releases HGH (yay, we’re all taking steroids!) and it basically resets your hormones. This process rebuilds muscle, manages stress, and sets you up for another productive day in the gym. Getting just 10-20 more minutes per night can be completely revolutionary for your recovery.