CrossFit Recovery Basics-Harnessing your body’s recovery

man after crossfit wod exhausted

If you CrossFit you’ve felt like this after a WOD

If you have ever done a WOD in a CrossFit box somewhere you walked out of there sore. The next day, you we’re even sorer. Usually in 15 or less minutes, one thing is for sure, CrossFit leaves its smiling, sweating victims sore and fatigued. Has your WOD programming left you feeling beat up and unable to recover as fast you would like? Successful recovery gives you time for harder, more frequent training, and increased performance. Who doesn’t want that? We all do.

What are we recovering from exactly? While exercising, the body releases hormones and uses substances like glycogen and lipids for fuel. Immune responses can be heightened, and one of the bigger responses that matters is that inflammation occurs. Recovery essentially comes down to clean eating, getting the proper nutrients, getting enough rest, and avoiding unneeded stress while mitigating some of that inflammation naturally.


There’s no questioning when it comes to eating that a Zone favorable diet, Paleo, or choosing some form of a “hormonally intelligent” diet is best. Your diet should be antioxidant rich “paleo” foods. Combining lean protein sources with fruit, yams or sweet potatoes, or squash for carbs, can be highly beneficial and provides low glycemic, high nutrient density. With paleo favored foods, choices are nearly endless. Because you are consuming antioxidant rich plant materials, inflammation is reduced. Not only that, but you are providing your body with alkalinizing material which is good for acid and base buffering. This allows your workout intensity to increase tremendously and can be extremely beneficial with sound sleep.

SCIENCE ADVANTAGE: In addition to eating a Paleo style diet EVERY person who works out should be using a Branch Chain Amino Acid product (BCAA’s) before and even during your WOD. The science behind BCAA’s is well established with decades of study. Branched Chain Amino Acids have been shown to one of the MOST beneficial and effective supplements in any sports nutrition program. Branch Chain Amino Acids are the proverbial building blocks of the body that make up 35% of a humans muscle mass. Just as importantly, BCAA’s must be present for molecular growth to transpire. When we are blasting through a WOD or if engaged in any other type of intense activity or training the body shifts into a highly catabolic state that “eats” muscle. Also, glycogen stores are being rapidly used up. The release of BCAA’s is generally recognized as the signal to the body to stop protein syntheses in the muscles, especially during times of stress. Providing the Branch Chain Amino Acids, especially during those times of stress may profoundly affect this signal and allow protein synthesis to continue onward. Find great BCAA’s by clicking here.

If you are familiar with the Zone, it is clear that following a basic Zone diet fits into these recommendations. However, there is a period of time where enhanced insulin sensitivity may mean moving some carbs from other meals into this after-exercise window. Intertwining hormonal control with food quality guarantees the nutrition portion of recovery is satisfied. I know we are Paleo heads (I am too) but the science is clear, if you want to maximize growth and recovery, you need to consume a protein rich food source that has around 50grams of the RIGHT kind of carbs as close as to immediately after your work out as you can.

I’ve tried a lot of post workout products and found a couple that are really good. Here is one that is top notch by NRG-X called Raptor Recovery. Don’t worry about the names. It has a great profile and will give your body what it needs immediately post workout to recover more efficiently. Do yourself a favor and get this product and use it. You’re welcome.

Get this and recover better. It’s that simple.


Sleeping is an essential component of recovery. Without sleeping 8-10 hours each night, you are not providing your body with the chance to regulate inflammatory conditions, autoimmunity, and insulin resistance and hormone status (things like growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen). Lacking sleep can also inhibit the body from absorbing essential nutrients, so even if you are eating clean, inadequate sleep may cause your good habits to go to waste. 9 hours a night seems to be the magic number. Sort out your sleep and your recovery will exponentially improve.


Although some stress is normal, concern exists when stress boots cortisol, jeopardizes immune function, and interferes with digestion and sleep. If you are feeding your body with the proper nutrients and adequately sleeping, you are indeed more resistant to stress. However, if you are experiencing a great amount of stress, it is even more important that diet and sleep are well managed. Become a master of your stress and recover better. It’s that simple.

Contrast Hydrotherapy

Contrast hydrotherapy’s basic concept is alternating hot and cold water soaking. One would essentially sit in a hot tub, ranging from 100-104ºF, for around 3-5 minutes and then directly switch to a cold tub, at about 34ºF, for close to 30-60 seconds. Contrast hydrotherapy produces an incredible feeling of relaxation. The process can be repeated at a recommended five times. Why? You see NFL, NBA and other pro athletes sitting in tubs of ice and hot tubs. You see the top CrossFit athletes at the games doing it as well. Some benefits of Contrast Hydrotherapy may include increased circulation, reduced inflammation, increased recovery time, reduce joint pain, to name a few.

NOTE: If tubs are not available, alternating the temperature of the shower is a close second in effectiveness. I suggest Contrast Showers to start. Don’t go to extreme in the temp changes at first and always talk to a doctor before trying anything new. If your box has showers go get in that bad boy right after your WOD and go as hot and cold as you can tolerate as described above. Employing contrast therapy is an incredible way to resurrect those muscles after an insane WOD.

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