If you have been participating in the Crossfit Open for the past 5 weeks, you are at the end and you may be thinking of what to do next. The Open is an awesome time to test your fitness, find out where your weaknesses are and access yourself to move forward for next year. With all the fun and excitement of the open what happens after it’s over? It’s time to recover!
You might be thinking, well I'm not a regional athlete or a games athlete so why would one workout a week for five weeks need any recovery? You still need to recover because the Open is more than just five workouts for five weeks. It's a five week long competition no matter what stage you are at currently. The Open has a different feel than a regular workout, and it makes you go to places you didn’t know you could go. You have pushed your limits, tried new skills, and lifted heavier weights than you would have on a regular day in the gym. You also have had some stress going into the workout, from having a judge count your reps, having a crowd watch you and having a leaderboard to look at. This is all added stress to an already stressful and demanding workout. Now you have to repeat that for 5 weeks! So yes, you need to recover!
While getting your eating habits and body goals where you want takes time and there are different factors involved, right now you need to pay attention to what your body needs currently. You just spent 5 weeks in an intense workout setting with added stress to your body. Setting yourself up for success after the open with nutrition will lead to better performance in the future, or faster weight loss when the summer comes around. I'm going to lay out the groundwork for what you should focus on after the open.
Your time period that you need to recover is specific to you, there is not a certain amount of time that will help you recover, it’s Individual to the person and you should be paying attention to your bio-feed back. This would be sleep, energy levels, mood, and hunger levels.
You Need to Eat More Not Less
You just came out of 5 hard weeks of the open, with added stress on your body and the central nervous system. Your body is calling for you to feed it. If you are someone who has been tracking their food add 20-15% more calories to your food intake. Specifically more fats and protein. Fats will help your body repair hormonal changes that happened the last 5 weeks, and protein will help build back your muscles that you have been breaking down. This is NOT a time to go on a calorie deficit, you will only lead yourself down to trouble. This is not a time for fad diets, juice cleanse, or any other form of extreme weight loss. This is a time for real food, and more of it. Feed yourself now and later you will be ready to cut out some body fat.
Higher Food Quality
In Crossfit the energy pathway that you use has a direct effect on your gut and gut health, making sure your gut health is in check is important after the open.The food that you take in should be higher quality food, eating junk food and fast food won't actually help, make sure you are paying attention to your food quality when you do this. Things like bone broth, collagen protein, a wide variety of vegetables, and fermented foods.
You Need to Rest More
Sleep, is so important at any stage in your life but after a hard 5 weeks and your nervous system constantly being in the flight or fight mode you need some more sleep to help you recover. Your body can rebuild and repair when you are sleeping and if you aren’t getting enough sleep you are in a constant state of breaking down. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep and try to stick to a routine every night.
Many of us are wanting to ramp it up right after the open. You might feel like you need to work on the things that held you back right away. You need time to relax and destress yourself, and putting on a higher work load right after a 5 week competition will only hurt your progress. There is time to learn and improve skills and build your fitness up, but right after the open is not the best time. Take a few more rest days, get out and enjoy the outdoors, find a low impact activity that makes you happy, and you can even scale or change workouts so you aren’t going 100% all the time. There are seasons to everything and each season helps us grow into a better version of ourselves over time.
Even if you didn’t participate in the open you still need time to recover from time to time, if you had high stress the past month, not been sleeping well, working out too much you need to take a step back and recover. There is nothing wrong with slowing things down. This will only help you move faster in the future. If you have any questions about recovery, nutrition, or would like to work with me one-on-one, please email me email@example.com