If you’ve ever been particularly wiped out by a tough WOD, you’ve probably wondered what you could have done differently to recover better. Before you chalk it up to your age or run out to buy a new recovery drink, cover the basics first–they are likely where you may be coming up short.
- Sleep. It’s not enough to say that 8 hours of sleep will help you recover– factor in the quality. Interrupted or restless sleep can be just as damaging as not enough sleep, or no sleep at all. Want to increase the quality of your sleep?
Black It Out. Make sure to keep your sleep space as dark as possible. Shut doors, pull the blinds, and eliminate any seemingly innocent sources of light.
Keep it Cool. Turn the thermostat down a few degrees. Most studies conclude a temp between 60-72 degrees F is optimal.
Eliminate Distractions. Sleeping with your phone next to you and the ringer on is temptation to check social media or your email one more time. Power it down.
- Hydrate. It’s completely critical to overall health and recovery. It is said that your body’s lung capacity can decrease by as much as 20% by being only slightly dehydrated–so imagine what effect chronic hydration will have on your performance. If you’re having difficulty keeping up on your intake, you may just need to create some new habits. Like, as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, drink two large glasses of water. Take your water bottle everywhere. Still forgetting to drink it? Download an app that creates reminders for you to drink regularly throughout the day.
- Don’t Skimp on Protein. By now you should understand how important protein is to muscle building and strength gains–and your ability to recover. A quick protein shake within 30 minutes of your wod is great, but focus more on getting adequate protein over the course of the day.
- Roll Out the Kinks. Foam rolling is great for mobility and flexibility based drills–however, it can also play an important part in the recovery process. Use a foam roller immediately after a strenuous workout to help increase blood flow to the stressed muscle groups, decrease soreness and speed up the delivery of nutrients to exhausted muscles.
- Keep Moving. Movement is probably one of the most important aspect of recovery. If you stop moving, your muscles will tighten up and become stiff. Continuous movements including light stretching, slow relaxed body movements, and light cardio-based movements like a jog, row, bike, or swim will help avoid stiffness and will help you recover more quickly.