If you’re looking to improve sports performance this article has you covered! In our 101 Program we talk about the importance of proper recovery. For some athletes it has been quite some time since the 101 Program was completed and/or the topic of recovery has been formally discussed. One of our roles as your coach is to make sure we are providing you with the required stimulus to affect change. During the WOD brief our coaches tell you the intention of the day’s WOD and let you know what stimulus we are trying to ignite in each one of you. As an athlete, it is your responsibility to make sure you are taking care of the recovery elements to maximize your results. Allowing the recovery process to take place is extremely important in the cycle of rendering results (Stimulus -> Recovery-> Results). We cannot get to the results stage as efficiently if we skip or neglect recovery components. Athletes who are looking to improve their performance and/or improve their performance at an accelerated/maximal rate should evaluate their recovery.
Rest days and recovery aren’t the same. Rest days are days where we do just that, rest. Perhaps your rest day consist of laying on the couch catching up on episodes of your favorite TV show. Unlike rest days, which appear maybe once or twice during our weekly routine, recovery is something that we should be doing on a consistent basis. When we say “recovery” we want you to think “active”. Recovering is something you should be actively doing. Some examples of ways that you impact your recovery are shown below with some basic questions you should be asking yourself to see how your recovery measures up and if there is room for improvement.
- Proper nutrition: (Eating to support your training/goals)
- Are you one of those athletes that have been working out for some time now, but has never paid much attention to your nutrition?
- Are you one of those athletes that give 100% in the gym, but fall short when committing to making sure you are properly fuel?
- Do you think you have an idea of how you should be eating to support your training, but aren’t completely sure if what you are doing is right?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, good news, you have potential to improve even faster than you are now! After multiple nutrition challenges and 1-on-1 consults your coaches know how to get you eating to optimize your results (health/fitness). Perhaps now is the time to take your nutrition to the next level. In our model, the hierarchy of development, we know nutrition is the base/foundation to our training. Are you setting limits on your training by working from a smaller/less stable foundation?
- Mobility (“A tool to globally address movement and performance problems” – Kelly Starrett)
Most people have this false concept of measuring how hard they are working by the amount of sweat they produce. Yes, it is important to get your share of grueling workouts in each week, but mobility is equally and/or more important at times (and I can’t speak for all, but mobility makes me sweat!). As coaches we find that many athletes don’t enjoy the mobility and or do not want to commit their time to mobility because they think “sweating” or “training via workouts” is more important and/or beneficial to their performance. The recommendation by Kelly Starrett who we consider the mobility man (besides Coach Mark) is that athletes need to mobilize 15 minutes for every 1 hour that they work out a day. Most athletes will confirm that they don’t do this. As your coaches, we want you to take a proactive not reactive approach to mobility. We find that once an athlete’s performance is limit (I.e, the have short or tight muscles/soft tissue restrictions that are causing them pain; knee pain, shoulder pain, etc.) they become slightly more interest in mobility. We encourage you to be proactive in mobilizing which will help prevent injury, speed up your recovery process (so you can go harder and obtain more fitness in your next workout) and improve your performance. If you want to get better faster and avoid nagging injuries, make sure mobility is a part of your daily routine.
- Are you currently mobilizing at least 15 minutes a day?
- When you feel signs of muscle shortness/tightness, signs that could eventually lead to pain/injuries, do you act and show your body some TLC immediately?
- Do you have nagging injuries that cause you to make modifications in your workouts?
- Do you only have one speed for your training “3.2.1. GO” (aka your training consists only of high intensity workouts)
If you answered “no” to the first two bullet points and “yes” to the third and fourth bullet point, then you’re in luck, you have room for improvement! It is easy for us as athletes to get caught up in the one speed style of training, but it is important for you to understand that our goal for you as athletes is longevity. It does us no good as your coach if you get a solid 6 months of hard work in and then need to take time off from training because a nagging injury got the best of you (we like interval training, but not in this regard!). We want you to be able to train with us forever and be independent/self-sufficient in your 70s/80s/90s/100s + years of age). Although, sometimes it is easy to get caught up on the short-term goals we set for ourselves, most of us can agree on the same “big picture”, we are here for the long haul, we want to stay active for as long as we can and don’t want to spend any time “sitting out/ on the bench of life” because we didn’t do something as simple as mobilize and show our body some TLC. If you don’t know what mobility drills, you should be doing spend 30 minutes learning some drills with a coach. If you know you aren’t the kind of person to sit down and do mobility on your own, schedule some 1-on-1 mobility sessions with a coach so you have a helping hand to hold you accountable. Your body will be happy you did – don’t ignore signs of a potential injury. It is much easier to mobilize than it is to recover from an injury (and no one likes to tell themselves, “I told you so”, when it comes to what they know to be best, but didn’t make the time to implement).
Overview of Recovery Days:
For those who can’t sit still, or who like to know they are continually progressing, active recovery days are huge. In addition to the recovery elements mentioned above on days that are not complete rest days, but active recovery days, there is a ton to be gained. Perhaps you skip out on these types of WODs when you see a form of them programmed (avoiding skill days). These days are so important. Not only do these days allow our bodies to physically take a break, they allow us to develop as athletes. On these days, we can work on training the mind body connection (the pathway in which we communicate to our body what we want our body to do), but it also allows us to slow down and focus on strengthening a skill and sharpening our technique. True recovery days can consist of light activity (something active that you enjoy doing outside of the gym), mobility, training technique (bar work/drills) and or working on sharpening a skill (perhaps advancing a gymnastic skill).
If you are curious about other elements related to how you could be improving your recovery, make sure to schedule a complimentary goal setting session with a coach to learn more!