At my last CrossFit competition, Battle at the Box Utah, I did as expected considering my back is still bothering me despite having twice-weekly adjustments by my chiropractor. What I learned was this:
I can no longer compete against girls 20 years younger than me
I got my butt kicked
Whatever I did at that CrossFit competition, I felt for days. I did nothing on Sunday, the day after, or on Monday. Walking up and down the stairs was painful. I did a recovery row, bike, and walk on Tuesday. I finally got a workout in on Wednesday. Still, as a 44 year-old CrossFit athlete, I can no longer do the things I used to do five years ago.
RECOVERY TIPS FOR CROSSFIT MASTERS ATHLETES
Listen to your body. Don’t hit the gym on Monday if you are not at least 75%. Give your body time to heal itself after all the work you did.
Drink lots of water. I mean, drink LOTS of water. This will help flush out the junk and wastes in your muscles so they are not quite so sore. I think this was a mistake I made. I did not drink enough on competition day because I hate using the bathroom every 30 minutes.
Roll out. Find a foam roller, and no matter how painful it is, roll out at least for a few minutes a couple of times a day.
Get in some light movement. This, too, will help flush out waste products and get nurtrients to your muscles to aid in muscle tissue repair and recovery.
Sleep. This is hard for most of us since most CrossFit athletes are A-type personalities and always on the go. However, sleep helps you recover and your muscles to repair, so force yourself to do so.
You’ve just done four workouts in one day. You’re tired. You’re sore. You hurt all over.
You return home and plop in bed for some well-deserved rest.
The next morning you feel it: sore to the extreme. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which is when muscles are stressed and tiny tears occur has begun to set in and moving is not exactly fun. You got new bruises. It may be hard to lift your arms and put on your clothes or even use the bathroom!
So what can you do?
Here are some post-competition recovery tips:
Hydrate. Drink plenty of water to get water to your muscles to aid and speed recovery and aid in diminishing the soreness.
Eat! Eat healthy. A good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and some fat will go a long way in aiding your muscles to feel better and grow stronger.
Rest. The day after a CrossFit competition should always be a rest day. Allow your body the time it needs to recover. Take a nap if you have a chance and get a good night’s rest.
Massage. Massage promotes blood flow to the muscles, which will aid in your body ridding itself of lactic acid build up from the extreme exercise. Research has shown this won’t necessarily rid yourself of soreness, but you will definitely feel better afterwards!
Creams. I personally use Hot Stuff to heat up my muscles. These creams ease your sore muscles and help with joint aches and pains. Cold creams work the same way in cooling down your muscles. The active ingredients in these creams are said to block the pain signals from the muscles to your body and don’t have an actual effect on the muscles themselves. Again, research is minimal in the effects of these creams so try it out for yourself and decide.
Let’s face it: depending on the competition, you just put your body through movements you’ve never done before, heavier weights than normal, a lot of moves, and multiple workouts. You’re gonna feel it.
The Results & Benefits of CrossFit Competitions
It does get better the more competitions you do. It’s like any stressor on the body; the more you do it, the more your body adapts. Give your body the time it needs to perform the miracles it does best.
Follow these simple tips above the day after a CrossFit competition and in a few days you’ll be back to “normal”–only stronger, wiser, and better for having done something not a lot of other people choose to do to themselves!