While I would never profess to be a nutrition expert, or even know the perfect formula behind post workout recovery and rebuild, I DO have some firsthand knowledge that I believe can help. I have been involved with, and now owner of a CrossFit gym for quite some time. That being said, I have seen some amazing workout recoveries as well as some crazy recovery failures in my time.
As I mentioned in a previous post, CrossFit workouts are very taxing on your central nervous system (CNS), and as a result, very sympathetic in nature – meaning that it puts your body into the fight or flight mode. In order to continue to work harder and harder, and essentially push your body past its limits, your body is going to have to go into some sort of survival mode in order for you to keep pushing and finish your workout. When this happens, your body will start to access hormones, cortisol and other essentials to keep you going.
Have you ever gotten those goosebumps toward the end of a workout where you’re so tired and shouldn’t be able to push, but the final minute you get numb and go HAM until the clock beeps? Or maybe you get an overwhelming sense of emotions during a workout that give you that spark that inherently makes you go harder? Well, if not, we should have a serious talk about hormones and overall nutrition…but that’s for a different day 😉
What I’m getting at here is, due to the sympathetic CNS response your body has during a CrossFit workout, post workout nutrition is, my humble opinion, the most crucial time to start rebuilding. Your body needs to start rebuilding not only nutrients, to help the rebuilding process of muscle tissue, but also to allow your body to start rebuilding your vital hormones that keep our bodies in a homeostasis of proper function.
In case you didn’t know, hormones play a HUGE part in your everyday life. They impact sleep, energy, performance, libido, stress control, etc. By continuously tapping these resources and NOT recovering them, you’re looking at a very dangerous and slippery slope. And these things take a LONG time to rebuild, and in some cases become so damaged that they DON’T rebuild, and require external support.
So, if you experience these symptoms on a daily basis, or even on a frequent basis, you need to think carefully about your recovery, and take action, or this could become a really serious issue.
- lack of energy
- feel “foggy”, or thoughts aren’t super pinpoint
- tired in the morning, and gain energy throughout the day
- lack of libido
- poor sleep, even though tired
- poor performance in the gym
- lack of “gains”
Essentially, you have a window (approximately 0 – 30 minutes) post workout, where your body is STARVING for that recovery. What is the easiest way you ask? It’s simple, an insulin spike (sugar). Why? This spike is the FASTEST way to take you from the most sympathetic state and drive you to the OPPOSITE side of the spectrum, parasympathetic (rest and digest). It is HERE where your body can actually start using resources to begin the rebuilding process. And once again, not just muscle tissue, but more importantly HORMONES! I don’t know about you guys, but I want EVERY SECOND of potential recovery, and every wasted second is potential lost progress, gain, or whatever you are working toward today.
When your body is in a state of crisis, it need fuel NOW – it doesn’t have time to try and bring you back to life and go through the difficult digestive process to get you the fuel you need. So, what is the easiest and most effective way to achieve this goal? SUGAR that is broken down into such a pure form you’re your body literally has ZERO digestion to break it down. We sell a product here at our CrossFit Chandler gym called Glycobomb, which contains both highly branched cyclic dextrin mixed with a quality isolate protein (IsoBomb) which has helped more people than I can count!
How many times after a workout, have you literally not been able to move? You feel brainless? You feel those symptoms of tanking hormones that we listed above? Well if that is the case, you DEFINITELY need a more effective post workout routine and nutrition. Remember, your window of effective recovery is small – use it to its best advantage!