About the Author

Dan Sullivan holds a BA in Communications, Psychology, and Business Economics as well as a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology. He is a certified Crossfit instructor in addition to being a Certified Personal Trainer by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and has worked in the fitness industry since 1998.
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Recovery for Crossfit

by: Dan Sullivan

The key to success in any WOD is directly affected by how you have recovered from your last training session. Just as you strive to improve your Fran time you should also strive to improve your recovery efforts. Admittedly, recovery cannot be measured as directly as your WOD time, but there are definitely ways you can get the most out of your down time. Believe it or not, getting into the gym and beating yourself up is the easy part. Providing your body the optimal recovery? Now that takes some serious work and effort! If you need help with exercise execution you work with a trainer and develop a plan. If you need help with your recovery program here is what you should know and be working on.

You are what you eat. Your recovery between workouts is most directly related to what you eat on a daily basis. Put junk in the system and not only will your workouts suffer but your body will not recover adequately. Remember, your workout is merely a stimulus for the body to improve, but the improvements do not take hold until the repair and recovery process starts. It is a shame to waste your hard work by eating poorly. Lean protein will support muscle growth and repair. Fruits and vegetables will provide antioxidants to protect against cellular damage and reduce inflammation.

Always make sure you have something in your stomach when you workout. Exercise on an empty stomach is never recommended, although a select few are able to get away with it. Providing nutrients to working skeletal tissue not only prevents muscle tissue breakdown but can also accelerate repair and recovery as the body starts to heal after the workout. Try a small protein rich snack anywhere from an hour to two hours before training.

Always cool down after your WOD. Although it is tempting to collapse on the floor after most workouts, it is definitely beneficial to keep moving. Try to walk around a little bit or jump on the rower and keep circulating blood and nutrients through the body. Then do some light stretching and your muscles will feel less stiff and sore afterward.

Compression helps a great deal during recovery. Compressed muscles function and recover better after intense exercise. Compression can come from any source -- massage, foam rolling or compression gear. A good massage therapist is always a valuable asset, but a foam roller can be purchased for about $10. Compression gear can be purchased from several places and can be used while you sleep.

Speaking of which, make sure you get plenty of sleep. Your body regulates the hormones that effect how your muscles adapt to training during your sleep cycle. Depriving yourself of the recommended eight hours of shut eye is a sure fire way to strip yourself of some much needed recovery.

Stay adequately hydrated. Drink at least half an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day and even more on hot humid days.