Recovery is a buzzword in the fitness industry- companies are always telling you how you can recover faster, come back stronger, and dominate the competition. But what really does it all mean? As we enter week 2 of the CrossFit open, we know a lot of our athletes are wondering how they can maximize their potential from one week to the next – and we’re here to help! Over the Month of March, we’re going to go over different ways that you can strategize, crush your workouts, and put your best foot forward on CrossFit’s global stage.
What is Recovery?
When we normally talk about recovery, we talk about it in the case of an illness or an injury.
Athletic recovery really isn’t any different – as there are a ton of processes that put stress on your body and mind during a workout. When you lift something heavy, your muscles may feel sore because there are innumerable micro-tears happening in the muscle fiber under load – which need to be repaired. When you push yourself, cortisol and adrenaline spike, putting strain on your central nervous system.
These things happen every day, and if you go from one workout to the next without focusing on some kind of recovery, eventually you’ll burn out.
The good news is that many people naturally recover in one way or another after a workout – so severe injury or burnout doesn’t occur. Whether it’s sleep, or eating a healthy meal after you do a WOD, recovery comes in many forms, and all are equally important.
What are the Different Types of Recovery?
Recovery can be different for everyone, but there are a few main types of recovery we look to when it comes to Athletic Performance. Throughout March, we’ll focus on one of these recovery methods in-depth, but for now, here is a short overview.
- Rest or Sleep
- Proper Nutrition and Hydration
- Active Recovery Methods
- Stretching and Massage
These may be things you do every day – which is great! If not, we’ll go into the finer points of each type of recovery so you know how you can get the most out of it, so you’re ready for every WOD.
Why is Recovery Important?
As we mentioned above in What Is Recovery, working out without focusing on recovery after the fact can lead to burnout or serious injury. If your body is a car, recovery is what puts gas in the tank. It’s a way of taking care of yourself after the abuse of a brutal workout, or even a stressful day at work.
These strategies are particularly important during the winter months! When you’re recovered, you’re less likely to get sick – you feel better, and are capable of tackling whatever life throws at you!
This is also a way to prevent soreness, and prevent those minor aches and pains that may keep you out of the gym. No one wants to work out when they don’t feel their best.
Finally, because recovery limits the stress on the body, you can actually see results faster! A buildup of cortisol in the body can cause you to retain water and resist losing fat – meaning that it’s harder to see what you’ve worked for!
Stay tuned as we dive into the importance of each type of recovery method in the coming weeks! And as always, feel free to ask the coaches at Beltsville CrossFit about their favorite recovery methods – they’re always around to help you reach your fitness goals!