CrossFit Recovery and Supplementation
The human body is an incredible machine! We prove that every day when we survive a grueling WOD and still show up the next day for more. CrossFit is by far my favorite method I have come across to unleash that hidden potential each of us has inside us! But in order to perform our best in the gym and to experience the greatest benefits that training provides, we also must take good care of our machine just like we would any other high performance machine. You wouldn't expect your car to last long or perform well if the only maintenance you ever did was put gas in the tank. No! You change your oil regularly, rotate and balance the tires, change fluids at specific intervals, and get it checked by a professional when something seems “off”. Your body is the most precious machine you own and so far it can not be swapped out for a newer model. But it can be rebuilt!. Good news is the body has an immense ability to heal itself and a scary tolerance for abuse. In fact diseases such as heart disease and cancer begin developing 15-20 years before diagnosis, sometimes even longer. As crazy as that is, the body can recover from those as well if given the right opportunity.
“ The body you have now is the result of everything you have done up to this point”
So what am I talking about? I'm talking about RECOVERY folks. Why? Because I see it as one of the most critical parts of our path to health and fitness that gets under appreciated. Recovery is where ALL the magic happens. During the workouts we are breaking down tissue and stressing all of our systems all in an effort to trigger our body's adaptive response. The benefit comes later when the body goes in to repair mode to put us back together. The fun part is that it deliberately overshoots the mark by growing more muscle tissue, hardening bone, growing new blood vessels, enhancing nerve output and coordination so that next time you encounter that challenge, you will be much more capable and efficient. It's very fascinating stuff if you are a nerd like me, but it happens whether you know how it works or not! That's why I really try to appreciate the recovery phase of training because this is the time your body goes to work rebuilding you into version 2.0 (better, faster, stronger). This is why it is so crucial to support your body's efforts by doing some specific things so that you can really optimize this window.
So what are some simple things you can make sure you are doing to get the most benefit out of your recovery? First off, SLEEP is critical! This is the only time your body really gets down to business and does all the wonderful things I mentioned above. Practice good sleep hygiene because QUALITY is still better than QUANTITY when it comes to rest and make it a priority. If you want the best results, you really need to be in that 8-9 hr window. Second is HYDRATION. Too many of us are chronically dehydrated and this affects our athletic performance and recovery maybe even more so than sleep and water is essential for every single biochemical process in the body. WATER IS LIFE! I recommend you get HALF your BODY WEIGHT in ounces of pure filtered water daily and more on days with higher perspiration...like FYF's ;). Last but not least, we need to provide our bodies with the right building blocks and energy sources. “You are what you eat” is more true than you may appreciate. So don't be fake, easy, or cheap. I prefer to see people get as much as they can from their food first. That means eating whole, high quality, unadulterated foods. Organic is best. Where we can't get it from foods easily is where I choose to fill in the gaps with supplementation. Appreciate that word “supplementation”. That means: something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.
“Food is too weak to replete depleted cells and bodies, therefore, it appears that nutritional supplements are advisable for EVERYONE.“
-Advances in Therapy, Volume 24, Num 5/ Sept, 2007
Here are my top 5:
1. Whey protein concentrate or isolate: Whey has a very high biological value and is easily absorbed into our tissue so its a very easy way to get more protein. Adding Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) can enhance muscle growth and recovery even more. Hemp is also a good option.
2. Multivitamin/Multi-mineral: A high quality phytomultivitamin provides you with a high dose of minerals and co-factors that are critical to healthy cell development and repair and easily depleted in strenuous workouts.
3. Omega 3's: These are in a category called“essential fats” meaning our body cannot produce them on it's own so it must come from our diet. Problem is these are very hard to get unless you are eating lots of things like Flax seed, chia seeds, certain nuts, or fatty fish. Omega 3's are anabolic and anti-catabolic and are overall important to the health of your nervous system and brain. These are very effective at promoting fat loss. It takes a 4:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio to prevent Heart Disease and 2:1 to prevent Cancer...most of us when tested are 25:1 or higher so getting more Omega 3 is very important!
4. Vitamin D: Even though this is more of a hormone that we can produce with sun light exposure to our skin, few of us get enough sunlight consistently to produce adequate amounts and this vitamin is crucial for a healthy immune and neuromuscular system, tissue repair, and getting calcium into our bones. Ideal levels should be 75 ng/dL or higher. If you don't know your levels, I STRONGLY suggest you get tested. Its a very cheap and easy test and is too important not to know.
5. Magnesium: Magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and it's estimated that 80% of American adults are deficient. This one is hard to accurately test as blood levels a tightly regulated so because of how ubiquitous it is for the body and how common deficiency is, I recommend magnesium to almost everyone. Especially if get muscle cramps post workout or get anxious easily.
Here is a link to signs you may be magnesium deficient: https://draxe.com/9-signs-magnesium-deficiency/
Remember, deficiencies are performance killers as well as detrimental to your longevity and long term health. Also, be careful buying supplements off the shelf. 75% of supplements found on sites like Amazon have been found to be tainted, contain illegal substances, and are unproven quality. Make sure you see GMP on the bottle at minimum before you try it.
*There are several others like Creatine Phosphate and Beta Alanine that improve performance but we must get these basics down before we utilize more advanced choices*
Hope that helps and gives you some ideas to be more efficient in your recovery so 2018 can be your best year yet!
WOD - 15 minute clock
1 min. Squats
2 min. Double Unders
3 min. Push-Ups
4 min. Russian Kettlebell Swings
5 min. Pull-Ups