_ Well, I was planning a good, detailed post on recovery and it happens to be perfect timing; I am taking a solid week off! After only a few days off at most for the many months now, and the Superfit Games two weekends again, AND, the Outlaw Training Camp this past weekend… yeah, I am in some serious need for a break! So, after feeling like I got every inch of my body sledge hammered, I am focusing on taking today through Friday (or maybe Sunday…) completely off from serious training. So what will I be doing? Here’s what I’ll be doing:
I am dedicated to getting at least 7 hours of sleep a day, at LEAST! If I don’t get it during the night, I will nap during the day. The goal is to really let my body understand the importance of sleep and not only take advantage of it, but start to generate the habit of getting adequate sleep. If I have to sit here and convince any of you that sleep is really important, you’re an idiot, enough said. Sleep is needed so badly, and yet so many of us neglect it and don’t take it seriously. If you are serious about health and fitness, you better be serious about sleep. Lack of sleep will always catch up to you sooner or later, and you’ll begin to feel the effects of it in slow gains, stress, weight gain (thanks to the wonderfulness that is cortisol) and on, and on. Get your sleep!
Oh, this is a good one. Especially after the hundreds upon hundreds of calories I swam in last night (burgers, sweet potato fries, chili, beer, cookies and too many Courage Bars!). Granted, that was after burning off probably thousands upon thousands of calories at the Outlaw Training Camp, so, it was well deserved. But, for the week I am focusing on three things: eating enough, eating the right things, forming better habits. Basing my plan loosely off the plan I followed when I moved back East from California, I will be making sure my physical body is fueled as perfectly as possible. A vague sketch of it: 4-6 meals, tons of protein, TONS of veggies, a good deal of fats, basically zero sugar, and the only complex carb getting through will be sweet potatoes! I’m not going to get crazy obsessive with all of this, just clean it all up as the Open approaches. The extra time I’ll have this week will be perfect to get my nutrition dialed in.
I’ll be practicing a handful of Kelly Starrett’s “Mobility WOD’s” each and every day. These will be combined with a good bit of foam rolling and stretching to make sure my recovering muscles get their fair share of love. Honestly, besides my crappy ability to do upper-body body weight stuff, my mobility issues are the biggest holding me back. It’s so super important to be mobile people, and especially if you’re an extremely active person. The body very quickly adapts to poor posture and crap habits and making sure your joints understand good ranges of motion, and your muscles can stay flexible. My worst areas are the shoulders and hips. Yep, pretty big areas, but I am working on them!
Here is the new one I have recently added to the mix. I have always viewed message as a sort of high-brow, luxury, and really, I still sort of do. But if you are actually serious about your overall well-being, I think you should find a way to get one in on a somewhat regular basis. My girlfriend found me a great guy who works with athletes and I am now committed to getting work in with him at the very least once a week. Yep, that is how important serious recovery is! Check out Terrel Hale’s site HERE if you are in the greater DC area and want to get some legit work done.
Another large aspect of my recovery is in the hands of 2XU. A lot of CrossFitters and other athletes wear compression gear as a fashion statement, which as all well and cool (actually, no it's not, it's kind of stupid if you want my honest opinion), I use the best compression as a tool to get freaking better. this stuff is about as close to medical grade compression as one can get and it legitimately works. I have become a HUGE believer in this product and with all the other additions to my recovery process am pretty sure I have all the best tools in my arsenal!
It doesn’t matter how hard I go; in the end, its how my body reacts to the stresses and strains that matters. And food, sleep, mobility, message and so on are the things that allow my body to really soak up all the hard work and make it pay off.
The other thong Terrel has helped me out with is some good stretches to really focus on, and to really look into doing ice baths on a more regular basis. I now have a massive trashcan in the gym that I can fill up with water and a couple large bags of ice, and chill (pun intended) for a while. My buddy Blair Morrison (yep, the CrossFit legend himself) wrote some great things on the benefits of cold HERE.
Oh, and one more thing. If you haven't already, please take a moment and vote for me for Best Personal Trainer in DC. And pass the link along to friends and family! I will entertain you all with something wacky if I win!
_Welp, that’s it for me here. I’m off to foam roll and lacrosse ball the crap out of my body before getting in bed for some good sleep!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
My first ever experience with Yoga came when I got to Florida before my first ever pro baseball season My mom had given one of those Byron Baptist yoga DVD’s with a mat and some blocks and said I should give it a try. So, one afternoon, in the little empty college townhouse room that I was crashing on before Spring training started, I slipped the DVD into my computer ad gave it a try. First impression: this is stupid. It was boring, way to fru-fru and spiritual for me I felt, especially with those damn cross-legged “om” chants at the end. So, I slipped the DVD’s into the bottom of my bag and went about my life.
A good 5 years later, baseball was over, and I had dedicated my time to training for my first marathon. Now, as an avid runner that this point, I was becoming quickly aware of the stigma of runners, tight as hell! So, I wanted to find a way to keep my flexibility and mobility even while looking ridiculous miles each and every week. So, I began doing a little research to maybe join a yoga class near by. I tried a couple places, and while I felt better than my DVD yoga trial, I still didn’t feel any sort of connection to the whole process. I honestly felt that all I needed to do was commit to stretching for a good 15-20 minutes after each workout I had and I would get all the same benefits. Still, I could not really find a logical argument against the millions of people worldwide who so passionately practiced yoga. The history of it, the greater benefits of it, not just increased flexibility and mobility, but strength both outwardly and inwardly. If so many people could feel so great about it, I wanted to feel great about it too!
I finally found a cool little place that practiced a form of yoga called Ashtanga. What attracted me to the place was it offered classes at a time that worked really well for me, the instructor for those times was an avid ultra runner, and Ashtanga, from what I could understand, was a pretty “strong” style of yoga. Very quickly I found out what all the hype was about! I hit a sort of “zone” within my second class and I just focused in on each and every movement and pose, trying to connect my breathing with each movement and trying to sink further and further into each pose. I was by no means “good” at yoga (what I mean by this is that I couldn’t even come close to finding the positions most of the other practitioners were finding), but the positive support by the instructor kept me going. This helped me realize that being “good” at yoga simply means you understand how to practice in the moment. It means you’re not crazy restless, looking around, thinking about random other things and so on. The second you are able to just exist for each breath, movement and pose, you become a yogi, and that’s what all the fuss is about!
I practice Ashtanga for about 6 months, twice a week without fail. Then, once my marathoning took a turn for the crazy (doing one every month, and doing that damn 50-miler), I just sort of stopped going. Until now. I have thought about returning for a couple years, I even took a class here and there at other locations, just never found that groove again. But now, I am about a month into the same class schedule I have almost 3 years ago and I am really feeling all the positive effects yoga has to offer.
Now, I realize that everyone’s practice means something different to each person. And this of course, is what I like so much about it all. But what I personally like is that I have an organized time slot where I can focus my mind and body in on the same thing. Each time I go in I am asked to push my mobility and strength to new limits, all while straying inward and focused. It is hard work but is SO rewarding each and every minute! I normally don’t like repetitive, redundant things, they tend to bore me; but for some reason, the amount of focus I put into all of this allows each movement to feel totally different each time. It’s a pretty cool experience.
So, if you are a yoga practitioner, keep up the good work (and make sure it’s not the ONLY thing you doing for fitness!). If you are not, if you’ve tried it and don’t like it, or if you’ve never tried it at all, take a new approach and give a fair chance. I would generally make a pretty confident assumption that if you don’t like it, it probably has less to do with the yoga, and more to do with your inability to focus. Take the time to find an instructor you have confidence in, and a space you feel comfortable in, and then begin to focus on YOU!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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