At the behest of several patients, I started doing CrossFit in Columbia, MO at CrossFit COMO. So far the experience has been great! I can’t say enough good things and would recommend the program to anyone who is looking for a nice place to work out and friendly people to be around while doing so.
Before joining CrossFit COMO, I was working out two times a week doing martial arts. Today paired with CrossFit, I am now working out up to five days a week. Because of this sudden increase in activity on my body, I have been reminded of some tips for recovering and dealing with the soreness that I would pass along to my patients and fellow readers.
Tip #1: The Importance of Supplements and Good Nutrition
When our bodies are sore it’s because we are stimulating hyperplasia of the muscles, meaning the muscles are getting larger. We do this through micro tears in the muscle, which our body uses as a trigger to grow (like many say, “no pain, no gain!”). With any type of cell growth, more nutrition is needed for those cells. To get the most out of our muscles in the future, we want to make sure the building blocks we are feeding them are top notch. My personal recommendation for added nutrition (whether in diet or supplements) is an increase in the following items:
Fish Oil or other Omega 3’s
Omega 3 Fatty Acids help with the inflammation we get after a good work out. They also help strengthen the cell membrane.
Magnesium and Calcium
These minerals are critically important to muscle health. They are vital reagents in the neurotransmitters (chemicals that our nerves use to send signals) and help our muscles relax when not in use.
Vitamin C plays a crucial roll in our ligaments and tendon strength. This water-soluble vitamin helps with collagen synthesis in our body and our body’s ability to create new connective tissue.
While most athletes know that our muscles need protein, I always make sure to tell my patients that we want a high quality source. This can come typically from organic meats or if a protein powder is a high quality whey or rice protein. While soy has its place, it’s the most problematic, and I recommend it be avoided.
Keeping our muscles lubricated is important for a fast recovery. For some more tips on hydration, check this article on How much water should you drink during exercise.
Tip #2: Exercise! (Don’t Give Up!)
That’s right – the hair of the dog that bit you – exercise! By getting back to exercising while you are still sore, you are actually helping your body produce hormones that help the body heal quicker. Although, it’s always advisable not to push yourself too hard and always have 1-2 days of rest a week. Exercise can be just what your body needs to help get over the stiffness from yesterday’s workouts!
Tip #3: Stretch!
When sore, stretching can be an uncomfortable proposition. Not only do you feel stiff, but your muscles are slow to respond and typically have a pretty good ache. However, in order to maintain your flexibility and get the most range of motion out of your muscles, it’s very important to stretch in this recovery phase. During this time while the body is healing, we are reprogramming a special cell called sarcomere. The job of this cell is to determine the “normal” length of the muscle. By stretching, we are telling the muscles to elongate and form a new set point – one that hopefully provides more length and strength than the muscle previously had.