Hello again CFU Family!
Coach Kyle here! The Open is upon us and over the next few weeks I’ll be writing with some advice and help so that you can perform at your highest level. This week we’re talking rest and recovery. With the first week of the 2015 Crossfit Open coming to an end, you’re probably either extremely happy with your performance or you’re contemplating redoing it at the last minute to try and increase your placement by one or two slots. Either way the results of 15.1/15.1A and the workouts over the next four weeks are a cumulative effect of the workouts, dietary changes, skill work, mobility work, or lifestyle choices you’ve made over the course of the last year. Whether you’ve put in the time and effort only you know but at this point there’s not much you can change. However, there are a few things that you can change over the next four weeks to optimize the performance base that you have so far. Now’s not the time to start doing more Metcons, focusing on getting your strength up, or completely changing your diet in hopes that you’ll make up for lost time. What you can do though is take control over the little things outside the gym that will make a difference in your performance over the next four weeks. The biggest one that everyone knows that should do but is often overlooked is increasing your rest and recovery.
Rest and Recovery
While now’s not the time to try and get in extra workouts to try and get in shape, it is the time to let your body have some extra rest. While The Crossfit Open is listed as a new set of workouts each week, it’s not the same as doing the workouts you do week in and week out at the gym. In the end, The Crossfit Open is a competition whether you’re comparing yourself to the rest of the world or just trying to compete with yourself. These workouts are harder on your body not because of the movements, time, weight or reps in the WODs but because of the anxiety, adrenaline, and nerves that go through you as the clock counts down to one. When these emotions run through you they have a physiological effect on your body. Some of these effects are increased use of carbohydrates, increased sweat production, and increased muscular tension. Like any stress, these have an effect on your body. So during the next four weeks do yourself a favor and take a day or two off during the week. Plan your rest/recovery around the upcoming WODs. An example of this would be if your plan is to take your first crack at The Open workout on Friday then take Thursday off of training and go lighter during Wednesday’s training or take Wednesday off of WODing and get some light rowing or mobility work in. Also getting extra sleep in the days leading up to your attempt. Sleep works on a 24-hour delay. So just getting a good night’s sleep on Thursday won’t be enough for a Friday workout. However, getting a good night sleep on Wednesday will have a solid effect on Friday’s workout.
If your work schedule or other life things get in the way of getting a full night’s sleep each night, pretend you’re in kindergarten again and give yourself a nap time or five each day. Just a couple 15-30 minute power naps a day will make a huge difference in your recovery and energy levels. Adding in extra foam rolling, stretching, quiet time, and light aerobic work will all add to your ability to improve your recovery rate and get you ready to crush whatever Dave Castro can throw at you. When doing your mobility work or aerobic work, the thing that cannot be stressed enough is that these should NOT be painful or overly taxing.
The whole point of mobility work is to improve your muscle’s ability to go through a certain range of motion (ROM) and your muscles/tissues cannot do this if the brain feels that there is a threat. When foam rolling or stretching the pain you feel should be no more than about a 4 on a scale from 1-10. If you’re used to “crushing” yourself on the roller or in a stretch and having that “no pain, no gain” mentality, there’s a high chance you’re actually DECREASING your body’s ability to go through the desired ROM. You’re more than likely creating new tension up or downstream to take the pressure off the area you’re working on. This is because whenever we’re stretching or rolling we’re sending a signal to the brain, this signal can either be one that says “oh hey this feels good, let’s keep doing this” or it can be a signal that says “oh sh*t this is not good, I don’t like this, let’s make it stop.” The former is the one that we’re after, this would be letting our brain go into a “rest-digest” state and allow the positive changes to happen. When the “oh sh*t” happens we’re sending our body into a “Fight or Flight” response and any changes will be limited. Especially with The Open going on, use the mobility work to “treat yourself.” Think of it as giving yourself a free massage without having to undress for a stranger. This is a very brief description of how to improve your mobility work and the brain affects your ability to go through a certain ROM. As always I’d be happy to answer any questions you have if you’re looking for a more in-depth answer.
Just like with the mobility work, when doing extra aerobic work during the week to recover, we want to help our bodies get into the “rest-digest” state and out of the “fight or flight” state. Fight or flight is helpful when doing a hard workout or a competition or if there’s a lion in your house. It is detrimental when trying to recover, sleep, or relax. If you’re going to add in extra aerobic work, keep the intensity around a 4-5 on a scale of 1-10. This will be enough to get your heart rate roughly between 110-150bpm. I would recommend trying to keep it between 110-130 if you’re doing it as a way to recover. This will give enough of a stimulus to get the blood moving and nutrients to your muscles but won’t provide so much of a stimulus that you’re worn down from it. Try to keep these sessions to around 20-25 minutes at most. If you’re one of those people that “needs” to move the day before you do The Open WOD, this would be a good time to add this in as well as 1 or 2 other times throughout the week. If you’re planning on re-doing the workout on a Sunday or Monday, then adding in 20 min of light rowing following your first attempt at The Open WOD will help start your recovery process so you’re able to attack your second attempt even harder.
As always, I hope that these little tidbits help you on your fitness and health journey. If you have any questions please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Dream big and dare to fail”- Norman Vaughn
Sarah will be here today from Myo-Fit
Strength: 5X5 Dead Lift. #HAF
WOD 1: 8min AMRAP
12 hand release burpees to target + 8 chin-ups. 2 min rest
WOD 2: 4 min AMRAP: 10 box overs + 10 dead lifts #135/95