Recovery Part 2: Body Recovery

No Pain, No Gain…wait, what?!

We all know how it can feel when we begin to make strides in our workout regimen.  Muscle mass increase, weight loss, increased speed and power make us excited and pumped up to continue on.  We begin to think that if we continue with the same pace or a greater pace then our results will also become greater.  But, of course as we all know, too much of a good thing can be bad for us.


The image of a bell curve that most of us are familiar with is something to keep in mind throughout this discussion.  On the rising side is where you will be working out with your maximum intensity with maximum metabolic benefits, and at the top of the curve is where you transition from benefits to loss.  The declining side is where a decline in your health can take place by training too much.


irst and foremost it should be noted that if you are reading this article most likely you are an active CrossFit member.  Congratulations!  You have chosen a style of exercise that is one of the best for your body, and that is high intensity exercise.  Studies show that high intensity training can decrease your risk for metabolic syndrome (factors that increase the risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions,  obesity, etc), and improve health and physical function (1, 2).  Sadly, high intensity activity is also the easiest to reach overtraining and oxidative stress on the body.


What are some signs that you are over training? 

Decreased physical performance, with difficulty to complete or recover from workouts, or increased injuries. 

Decreased motivation, depression, competitive drive, and poor sleep

Weakened immune system, increased or decreased body weight


Why does this happen? Physical and emotional stress

Cortisol deregulation: insomnia, energy crashes, depression, weight gain, and memory impairment

Hypoglycemia: depression, weight gain, poor digestive function

Inflammation: Causes more stress to your adrenal gland (cortisol deregulation), and increases gut permeability (chronic inflammation and food sensitivities AND weakened immune system)

Inadequate sleep, and poor food, water and electrolyte consumption for recovery: dehydration, decreased energy, cramping, poor sweating, etc.


Exercise creates muscle breakdown, depletion of energy stores, and metabolic stress.  It is important to realize that when you rest and recover you are supporting your body to rebuild, replenish and relax.  Along with this your body has time to adapt to the new increased physical stressors you have placed upon it such as increased frequency of working out (specifically if you are just beginning to work out on a regular basis), increased lifting weight, increased speed, and (what many of us forget about) new movement patterns.


So?  How do we cope? 

Long Term Recovery, which will help you to continuously work out on a yearly schedule:  For example: 4 weeks on and 1 off.

Short Term Recovery, which will help you work out continuously from week to week:  For example: 2 days on and 1 day off, or 3 days on and 1 off.  This can be unique to each individual too.  Maybe you like 4 on and 2 off.

Cross train: Keep high intensity workouts to about 3 days per week, and do something such as interval sprints, weight lifting, distance running, or yoga for the remaining work out days

Get adequate amounts of sleep!!!  ***See Recovery Part 1 post

Eat healthy, and remember when it is best to eat certain macronutrients (Refer to Pre/Post Workout post)

Drink plenty of water!


***Remember! Your rest days dont have to be zero physical activity.  Go for a light run or hike, do a light yoga class, or do a long stretch and foam roll session. The main goal is to keep your heart rate low (less than 50% of your max heart rate, which is 220- your age in years).






Post By: Vanessa Nordin, CSV Lifestyle Coach