This is a story about CrossFit and overtraining, and how I listened to my body, but apparently I wasn’t listening well enough… I feel that’s it’s my mission to talk about the good times, and transfer my wisdom to you about how to get there yourself, but also about the bad times, and hopefully how to avoid them.
Over the last 4 or 5 months I’ve caught the CrossFit competition bug, and have been training my butt off! We’re talking, most of my training sessions are at least 2 hours long, and are extremely taxing on the body. All of this really hard training led to me having some of the best gains of my life. My strength numbers have jumped through the roof (for me). Looking back now it’s clear that as my body was adapting to the stress of training, and getting great gains, but it was also getting torn down. It was hard to completely recover from one workout to the next, but after a good warm up things felt fine. That lasted until a couple of weeks into June when my quads were just refusing to recover from all of the squats I was doing. I saw this coming for months, but didn’t take it seriously enough to add the recovery techniques that were necessary. It got so bad that when I got out of bed in the morning I had to avoid contracting my quads because they were so stiff and painful.
Because of the smart and observant CrossFitter that I am, it wasn’t until that point that I started icing every night, and looking into further recovery techniques (such as extra sleep, and contrast baths). Unfortunately at that point I was too far gone… it felt like I had an internal infection in my body, and nothing wanted to recover. The scary thing was that I decided to take the first week of July off of training completely, and nothing got better. I knew that continuing to not exercise wasn’t the answer, so I analyzed my diet, and supplementation, which is almost always on point, but I didn’t know what else to do. I found that I’d lost about 8 pounds from not eating enough food to sustain my training level. I immediately upped my total food consumption, and made sure not to miss any meals (even if I didn’t feel like eating). If you want your body to run like a machine, you have to treat it like a machine, and I was reminded of this.
Around this time I was also pointed to a website called MobilityWOD.com. This site is run by a physical therapist that either works with top CrossFit athletes or is followed by top CrossFit athletes. He directly attacks common CrossFit issues and injuries such as preventative maintenance, healing an injury, or creating more flexibility depending on what you need. Ever since finding MobilityWOD.com I’ve searched the site for posts dealing with my issues, which are quad tightness, and hip mobility. Now I’m trying to do a MobilityWOD.com (or two) everyday, and I’ve also laid off of heavy leg exercises for a while…
I’m finding that this recovery process is a long and lonely road that I don’t wish upon anyone, but what’s good about it… is that I’m learning so much about my body and how hard I can push. Actually what I’m learning is how much I need to put into recovery when pushing extremely hard. What this means is that my training day doesn’t stop when my training is over. There’s also Mobility and recovery (eating, drinking, ice, heat, etc).
Hopefully you can take some things from my mistakes and learn to not make the mistakes yourself. If you have questions feel free to hit me up.
Recovery resource list:
Mobility – www.MobilityWOD.com
Ice bath – 2 bags of ice should be enough. Fill bath with coldest water possible, but only fill to the point where you think that water will be above your legs (overfilling will only require you to add more ice). Then add the 2 bags of ice. Sit in bath for 15-20 mins.
***UPDATED!!! MUST WATCH THIS MobilityWOD VIDEO IF YOU ICE FOR RECOVERY! Click here to watch.
Heat – Hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom Salt added. Sit in bath for 15-20 mins. Warm bath can happen immediately after ice bath for increased results. *I’m going to be testing some sports bath salts that are supposed to be more effective than Epsom Salts. I’ll post my review soon. ***UPDATED*** Here’s my SoakFitness recovery review.
Foam rolling – Find the most tender muscular area and hold for 30-60 seconds. I like to hold until the pain goes away. Also, see my foam roller review.
Massage – If you can afford it, find a massage therapist that knows what they’re doing. You’re going to this person for performance recovery, and not just relaxation. They should target your problem areas and do work.
If you have any other resources that I should be using please let me know.