by Coach Vanessa Dickens
When you work out, you’re essentially creating micro tears in your muscle. The act of breaking down those fibers can leave your muscles tender, sore and even difficult to move. Sometimes, that soreness may take a couple days to really hit you and you experience DOMS (delayed onset muscles soreness) So the next time muscle soreness strikes, here’s a few things you can do to speed up your recovery so you can hit it hard on your next WOD.
#1 Foam Roller
The foam roller is your friend. This simple and handy device can reduce muscle soreness, speed recovery, and it’s kinda fun. Taking a few minutes out of your day to roll out the knots in your muscles will help you train harder, perform better, and prevent injury. Here is a good starting routine for the foam roller. Make a pass or two over each group, pausing and taking deep breaths when you find a sore spot. Don’t overdo it, less is more here. Keep your attention on the experience in your muscles, breath, and mind.
Here is a great excuse to pamper yourself! Get at least an hour massage once a month, more if you are training 6+ days a week.
Pro-tip: after a workout is really the ticket to ultimate relaxation. Having a massage improves blood flow to sore muscle tissues, releasing micro-adhesions and encouraging muscle repair. Sometimes this can be painful but is an effective treatment if you can handle a little pain, which I know you can because you’re badass CrossFitters.
After pushing your body in the gym, you need time to reset and recover. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. The body repairs itself at night, triggering important hormones that signal repair to muscle tissue. Lack of sleep decreases the hormonal response, meaning your recovery (and results) will be slower.
#4 Cool down
You may think, “Hell yeah! I’m finally done with this WOD!” and you just want to pack up and go home. But that’s not the best idea for your body. So always try to do a brief cooldown after each sweat session. Stretch the muscles you just exercised to improve blood flow and increase your range of motion. Try holding each static stretch for 30 to 60 seconds for maximum benefit.
Remember, you don’t get stronger in the gym, you get stronger during recovery and allowing your body to adapt to the stimulus. You don’t grow muscle in the gym or when you’re lifting the weight, you don’t build endurance when you’re hammering through a WOD, all that happens when you are resting. So recover around your training and all will be well!