CrossFit athletes display an amazing amount of will power to devote hours upon hours focusing on skill work, training weaknesses, and nutrition. Generally speaking, the typical CrossFit athlete trains 4-6 days a week, eats a relatively strict diet, and makes some lifestyle sacrifices all to help increase their level of performance.
However, when it comes to recovery, maintenance and mobility, it usually takes some type of significant injury to force the athlete to focus on self care. This shouldn’t be the case. Recovery, maintenance, and mobility should have just as much of a role in your training regimen as everything else.
The Thing You’re Ignoring? It’s Self Care.
In order for your body to perform at an optimal level, your nervous system must be firing on all cylinders so you can recruit the proper muscles needed for each movement. When an area of your body stops performing its necessary function, other muscles begin to compensate, sharing the workload.
For example, if your glute stops firing, the workload of the movement will need to be taken over by the quadriceps. This becomes a problem, because you’re using muscles that shouldn’t be working and this overuse of the “wrong” muscle will likely lead to injury.
Athletes who take the time to receive massage, acupuncture or apply other forms of self care techniques (i.e. foam rolling) have less injuries and a full range of motion during their workouts. Keeping the muscle tissues balanced gives an athlete the ability to fully function, having a positive cascading effect on the rest of our structure.
What Should My Self Care Regimen Be?
- Sleep. Sleep is the most important thing you can do for yourself as an athlete. It helps your body repair itself, and keeps your nervous system in check. We recommend at least 8 hours a night.
- Eat. It’s inevitable that our diet ebbs and flows, but it’s important to make sure you’re not only eating enough, but eating the right things. Make sure you’re getting a good ratio of macronutrients (if you’re not sure, start with 30% protein/30% fats/40% carbohydrates), and eating a lot of veggies.
- Hydrate. Especially if you live in Colorado, make sure you’re drinking enough water.
- Foam Roll. Foam rolling is a version of self-massage, and is hugely beneficial in reducing soreness, speeding up recovery and helping keep your joints healthy.
- Do Your C.A.R.s. Standing for controlled articular rotations, C.A.R.s are a great way to move your joints through their full range of motion on your own. Check out our lower body and upper body C.A.R.s videos for some exercises you can do at home.
- Massage/Acupuncture. On top of providing an athlete with full range of motion, massage breaks up scar tissue and helps muscles restore themselves. Similarly, acupuncture treatments are extremely beneficial for keeping the nervous system functioning at its highest level. Throw these into the mix every once in a while to supplement your self care regimen. We recommend at least once a month, but if that’s not in your budget, you can always focus on foam rolling to make up the difference!