The CrossFit Open has come to a close and what a series of battles were fought! Five weeks of progressive and gut-wrenching workouts. With the highlights real no-doubt still stuck on replay, the time has come for athletes to shift their attention. It’s time to consolidate the gains made, rebuild battered bodies and nurse strained minds. It’s time for some active recovery.
Recovery is not something the modern world reveres. Productivity is measured in terms of output and recovery becomes an endless cycle of over-stimulation.
As athletes, however, we know that recovery is a crucial component of any fitness regimen. The recovery principle basically asserts that an athlete’s ability to recover from workouts is just as important as the workout itself.
In the context of CrossFit, if you are going to train like a professional athlete in order to break the ranks of heroes, then a systematic approach to recovery becomes integral for hormonal, neurological and structural recovery. Recovery is essential in order for your body to adapt, avoid overtraining and safeguard against injury. Most importantly, your general mental health is determined by the time you devote to proper recovery!
If your sport is your art, make an art of recovery.
Does that mean you have to hit the couch and read a book? Definitely not. Active recovery will push your recovery to the next level.
The immediate need to rest between bouts of exercise, longer time intervals between sessions, systematic warm-ups and cool-downs, active and inactive rest days or weeks, breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as sleep, hydration and nutrition are all key components of recovery.
Active recovery refers to engaging in low-intensity exercise after workouts. This is either done during the cool-down phase directly after a session or in the days following intense bouts of physical exertion. Low-intensity activity, usually at a 30% reduction of your general training volume, can help reduce accumulated blood lactate and speed muscle recovery. Factoring in relaxation, breathing and stretching can have positive psychological effects and relieve the nervous system from physical and mental stress.
Although active recovery is context specific, include some form of it in your routine.
Here are some short examples:
Find what works for you and help your body and mind recover from the stresses of training like a champion. Remember, this is for recovery. Take the ego out of the equation… Enjoy both the physical and mental break.
The CrossFit Open may be over but the next chapter has already begun. Work hard through active recovery and come back even stronger next year!