So far in our guide we have talked about how to tackle training and nutrition for the 5-6 week season. The time frame is the longest competition period in CrossFit (GW Strength & Conditioning athletes are likely to be in the same boat) and those who can feel both mentally and physically fresh each event have the best chance at success.
If you want to express your fitness to your highest level then you need to pay attention to recovery.
Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill to save you from the fatigue and muscle soreness that will no doubt come after you push yourself thanks to the excitement of competition and crowd support. However, there are few easy things you can do to help you recover faster and are proven to aid performance across any length of season:
- Cool down: immediately after you crush an Open workout, spend 5-10 minutes doing steady state, low intensity cyclical work. It's a great way to restore bloody flow to your entire body whilst providing a very low aerobic stimulus.
- Hot/cold hydrotherapy: GW athletes, if you haven't experienced the benefits of our ice bath then this is the time to bite the bullet. Although it can be a little uncomfortable to begin with, ice baths can reduce perceived fatigue and soreness which will make you feel better. Feeling better is BETTER.
- Eat & hydrate! I know you read yesterday's nutrition article so there isn't much to add here.
During the week
- Active recovery: Adding 1 or 2 weekly 30 - 60 minute sessions of low intensity (heart rate below 75% or so, while maintaining a rhythmic breathing pattern) activity in a relevant setting (stay within your sport during competition) is a fantastic way to speed up your recovery and to improve your conditioning.
- Avoid movement redundancy: thankfully your coach will do this for you, but if the first Event has mega-shit-tonne of burpees in it, guess what? You don't need to do burpees for the following week. Train smart, let the muscle groups and movement patterns that are of primary focus in one event get some rest during the following week of training.
- Mobilise, prehab and movement training: Quality training allows you to compete well each week. Restore ROM with mobility and proper warm up drills. Complete your injury prevention work every day. Above all else, move with purpose ON PURPOSE.
One last thing....
Whilst it is too late now to make any serious jumps in capacity, there is something you can do today and over the season to ensure peak performance:
As Jami Tikkanen, coach of many CrossFit Games athletes, says:
Your body recovers its neurotransmitters, repletes energy sources, repairs tissues, renews immune system, releases growth- hormone, etc. all during your sleep. Insufficient (in quality or quantity) sleep means reduced brain, physical and immune function. Not enough sleep = poor performance and reduced ability to adapt to training stimulus (never mind poor health). Quite simply, great athletes sleep well, and you should too.
You will need 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night. Here are some tips to help you clock up the ZZZZZZ's:
- Cool your room to 15-19 degrees
- Keep your room as dark as possible - blackout blinds and no lights
- NO ELECTRONICS - unplug yourself from the Matrix
- Wash your sheets, covers, etc weekly
A lot of these tips will actually benefit everyone year round. Compeition is a great time to develop habits. I challenge you to make a lifestyle goal to take on one of our tips, for example sleeping 7.5 hours every night, for the length of the Open and see how it can transform your performance in and out of the gym.
Part 4 of our guide comes out tomorrow and it is centred on the most important muscle of all: the one between your ears.
CrossFit | Strength & Conditioning | Personal Training