After you have completed a competition, you might want to jump back into your normal routine, or push harder in the immediate week following the competition.
While your body may feel well rested, it is still taxed from four or five straight workouts. Going hard at the gym after just completing a competition might hinder your progress and potentially lead to injuries.
I reached out to Scott Layne from Surf and Shores Physical Therapy to ask him what mistakes he sees athletes make post competition.
“The biggest mistake I see after competitions is continuing the same volume the week after a comp. The body is sore and most likely the Central Nervous System has been heavily taxed. This typically either leads to injury or overtraining.”
Scott recommends a rest day or light cardio the day after a competition.
Shakas athlete Teanu Rickards says that after Regionals, his programming gave him two full days off.
“Then, the rest of the week would be super light and easy for the most part. Personally, I used that week to just relax and get other stuff done that I couldn't do while training for Regionals.”
We live in Hawaii, so going for a hike to catch a waterfall or one of the beautiful views around the island are always rewarding. We have several listed here that you can go on. If you think about it ahead of time, organize a box hike the day after a competition so you can get out and socialize with your fellow box mates.
Are you eating the right foods?
While at a competition, food might not be immediately on your radar. You might have to eat whatever is available at the venue, which may or may not be the best workout fuel.
It may not even be until after you get home that you realize you did not have much to eat during the day. How many Cliff Bars did you eat? Two, four? Maybe a Gatorade?
Before you go scrounging around for the cereal and ice cream, consider what your body just went through and what it will need to appropriate recover from all of the stress that was just put on it.
Find foods rich in protein so that your muscles can mend and get in a good mixture of fast and slow absorbing carbs. That way your muscles have a sustained fuel supply, and not something that will leave you feeling empty and guilty later.
If you want to read more about the science behind it, Breaking Muscle has a great article.
Also, drink lots of water so your body can flush itself out. Continuous hydration is necessary for the body to have a strong recovery.
Stretch and Sleep
Even if you do not experience soreness following a long day of competing, you still might find certain muscles to be tight and still in need of some recovery.
There are several video sites that are specific for Crossfitters who have a hard time stretching and keeping good mobility.
Crossfit Games sponsor RomWod has daily programs to use for more than just post competition stretching. They also have videos to target certain parts of the body, if you discover that one area is sorer or tighter than the one they are focusing on for the day.
Most of their videos are about 25 minutes long and, depending on your flexibility, you may need an apparatus to help achieve with some of the movements until you feel comfortable with the stretching.
Yoga is also a great source of stretching. I recommend not going to a “workout” yoga session but finding a purely stretching session to help with the tightness of your muscles.
Sleep is also a necessity that we take for granted after any workout, but especially so post competition. Sleep gives the body a chance to shut down and relax without having to fight gravity.
Not just sleeping when it’s convenient but getting a solid 8-9 hours of sleep is best for your body, in any situation. While competitions put a special demand for recovery, developing habits prior to your competition will lay the groundwork for solid habits after a special event.
While these tips are great for your after a competition, the foundation for it all starts in your daily routine. Establishing a solid rest day and eating habits can have a positive effect on your daily routine, and potentially lead to PRs. Sleep routine is something that has to be consistently prioritized as well. It takes habit to be able to shut off your brain and train your body to sleep the way it should for maximum recovery.
About the author
Samantha has been Crossfitting for 5.5 years, and enjoying desserts for even longer. A mom of two who are stuck to her like glue, she loves to meet other parents who WOD as much as she does. When she is not writing for Shakas and Snatches, she looks for places to do a pistol and throw a shaka. Connect with her on IG @pistolsandshakas