If you are an avid CrossFitter, then you know the addictive results that it can have. If you are new to CrossFit, then you will soon find out. Just like with any other workout program, effective muscle recovery is essential.
It can be tempting to never give yourself time off in order to heal your muscles, because you see your body changing for the good pretty quickly. But, for your overall health, recovery is key. Here are some important tips for effective muscle recovery:
- REST: This may be the most obvious but most important one, so it can’t be overlooked. Some people will take no days off from CrossFit once they get into the groove of the workout program. As stated before, the results can be addictive. However, you must give your body adequate time to rest and repair the muscles within. Getting enough sleep at night and giving yourself enough off days from the workout are both so important. The number of hours slept that equals that sweet spot is different for everyone, but the general rule is to get at least eight hours of sleep. Also, aim for at least two days off from CrossFit. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do any other types of workout. Yoga or stretching in general is very good for the body and will increase your flexibility while still helping your strength as well.
- Eat a well balanced diet: As someone who does CrossFit, you probably already know that having a good diet is essential to the muscle recovery process. However, some people might not be aware, especially people new to CrossFit or new to any type of exercise. It’s important to eat plenty of carbohydrates and protein directly after you work out. That time directly after you’re done straining your muscles is when those muscles are most sensitive to nutrient intake. Don’t wait too long after your workouts to eat some chicken, an apple or a protein shake. Staying hydrated is also a key component to a balanced diet. Keep a jug of water with you at all times, and be sure to hydrate well before and after your workout. Bonus tip: Room temperature liquids hydrate you faster, so skip the ice if you can.
- Take hot baths and give yourself massages!: Probably the most fun tip on this list, both hot baths and massages’ positive effects on muscle repair and muscle recovery shouldn’t be discounted.
The New York Times contends that massage “eases inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces muscle tightness.” You can treat yourself to a professional massage a couple times a month, or, if you’re on a tight budget, you can invest in foam rollers. You place the rollers on the muscle you’re feeling tightness in, and simply roll back and forth. Hot baths increase the blood circulation to your muscles, in turn circulating oxygen and nutrients quicker resulting in more effective muscle recovery.