You kill yourself the moment you step into the box, until the moment you leave. Sweat angels abound, and you work tirelessly to do your best when you are there. You Pr’d your Fran time, set a new squat record, or ran your fastest Mile time ever. Kudos. Your workout was killer, but there is something you should know. You didn’t build any muscle during that WOD. That process, the growth from your workouts, begins as soon as your training session ends. When you lift your muscles actually tear themselves (super small, micro tears) and are actually broken down and then as soon as your stop your body jumps in to repair mode to starting fixing all that you did to it during that WOD. Wouldn’t you like to help it as best you can?
Follow these 7 After Action Steps so you can be sure you are growing from your words and not dying from them.
Step 1. Make it on Purpose
Most of my athletes understand that the idea of nutrition, recovery, sleeping and even some proper supplementation can play a huge role in how well you feel after your WOD, or even when Wodding again the next day. But let’s take a stand and add as much purpose to our recovery as we do to our workouts.
Lets look at a few things. What we eat before the WOD can play a huge role in how we perform and how we recover after. If you eat before make sure you are taking in protein from quality sources and good carbs, they will be in you during the WOD and after. Along with quality nutrients there have been numerous studies that show taking BCAA in supplement form can help greatly. Here is a great article about supplementation in general, Branch Chain Amino Acids are covered a few paragraphs down. http://Supps for Crossfitters
Along with Eating and Supplementation we should also look at hydration, which starts days before you Workout. Aim to drink water whenever your thirsty, and if you consume, alcohol, or coffee, don’t count it as hydration, nor the water (equal amount) that you drink to make up for it. My best advice in hydration is to drink water when you’re thirsty.( I know, repetition)
now after the WOD..
Step 2. Mobility/Stretching
Please. Don’t Skip this part. Not only in reading. (Self Serving) But in doing. You need to mobilize, roll, stretch, be purposeful about the movements you do directly following a workout. I cannot tell you which ones, not knowing what the Workout is that you just finished but I can give a few guidelines, generally speaking, static stretching the areas that were most effected by the workout is good practice. Working on mobility issues that prevented you from finding full range of motion during the workout as well and some you may need to improve on, and as a general rule I feel like it’s always a good idea to deload the spine for a minute or two.
Step 3. Find out the Best Protein Post WOD For you
If you aren’t getting protein in soon following your workout you are missing out. Just do it. Whether it is from Steak or a great Post Workout Shake get something in your body within 20-30 minutes that’s a crucial window for nutrient intake, your body wants it. Give it.
Step 4. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Mark Twight is the Founder of Gym Jones, and is responsible for training hundreds if not thousands of elite athletes from all walks of life. His number one rule when training an athlete, before what they do, or how they eat, or even their attitude is this, at least 8 hours of sleep per night. This is where so much, anabolic (muscle building) activity occurs. I realize we have limited time, and most of us are crazy busy. But it can change your performance and life in general. Please sleep.
Step 5. Did Someone Say Active Recovery
Please, move well, after the WOD, the next day. Even on your rest days get walking, hiking, light…(light) jogging if you are very sore. It’s often best to put some movement to your body. The night after, the next day, almost all the time. Move. Sitting hours after an excruciating training session is like hell reincarnate. Don’t do it if you can help it. If you are forced to, move as often as you can. Drink tons of water, and get up to go pee twice an hour. You will thank me the next time. Go up and down stairs……after Leg Day.
Step 6. Stop Stressing Yourself Out
Exercise is a form of stress. In our life it’s necessary stress, but it’s stress nonetheless. As is our job, our children, the way some of us breathe. Seek out resources, and activities that lower your stress level. Meditation, Massage, Hot Tubs, Hugs, laughing. All things we could use more of in our life. The bottom line is reducing stress, rather making a point to reduce stress will not only aid our recovery from one WOD to the next, but ultimately will vastly improve the quality of our life.
In closing, do your best to take action, and put more thought behind these 6 areas of concentration and you may find yourself accomplishing things you didn’t think you could.