Here’s the deal. If you are in the business of educating others, connecting others, and trying to make the world a better place, then I like you: I will work with you, be interviewed by you, and if you have good things to offer, will recommend you. However, when the line is crossed and “connecting others” becomes into manipulating others, I am going to be a little bit upset.
A company who I had formerly respected and worked with asked me for an interview on recovery. I thoroughly enjoy the topic of recovery (or lack there-of) and gladly agreed to writing my viewpoint for them.
Here is my original post:
WE ARE UNDER-RECOVERED: The CrossFit Problem
by Emily Schromm
You know that saying, “When you are thirsty, it’s too late. You are already dehydrated”? I feel like I see this time and time again with athletes and members at the gym. We not only don’t listen to our body, we push through past what we should, and before we know, it’s too late.
How do we know the difference of being mentally weak and being under-recovered?
1. KNOW the difference of good pain and bad pain. This was a very hard one for me to understand myself, but my experience might help you. What do I mean by “bad pain”? Do you ache? Do you have trouble in your day-to-day non-CrossFit life, as in do you have weirdness in your shoulders holding groceries? If you move too quickly does your hip pop too loud? Does your lower back tighten up moving things around your house or when you clean? THESE ARE NOT GOOD PAINS. If you feel them, maybe give yourself an extra rest day or two in the week and let them heal before they get worse. Although immediately it might feel like you are slacking, you are doing yourself a favor by letting yourself heal a little while longer.
2. Stress of life: How much do you have of it? Do you only have the gym to de-stress and de-compress? Think of how much you are pushing yourself in that gym, in that WOD… The stress you are putting on your body might relieve your mental stress, but your body does not feel that way. Make sure you have an alternative for stress release other than working out. If not, your body will pay for it. My suggestions: those “active recovery” days we hear about. No, don’t sit on a rower for a 5k. Go outside. Get some sunshine. Breathe in the fresh air. Walk, run, jog, hike. Do whatever the hell your body feels like. Don’t force anything, just ENJOY.
3. Eat your freaking vegetables. We hear all about fish oil, and now magnesium. I myself am a big proponent in both. But imagine a world where all our dietary needs were met with the food we ate, not the supplements we swallowed. We have no full proof answer on how supplements are digested and absorbed. With the act of chewing and the process of digestion, we can guarantee certain vitamins and minerals being absorbed (with appropriate fat sources and lack of refined foods), aka OPTIMUM RECOVERY. We have to have vitamins and minerals in our body for all the vital functions as athletes.
Moral of the story, LOVE your body, don’t punish it. Love your body by recovering. I’m hoping to live a long, long time in this body of mine, and I don’t want it to shut down on me too soon all because of lack of appropriate rest days.
Who am I?
I am a certified personal trainer, CrossFit Coach/competitor, and soon to be Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who is out to change the way people think about food, weightlifting, and their body. Formerly on MTV’s Real World and Real World Challenges, my own journey of self-discovery led me to a full-time career in fitness and health, and my passion is to help every single person and client BE THEIR OWN SUPERHERO.
NEXT 21-Day Superhero Challenge? 2/22!
21 days of nutritional expertise and advice for optimum nutrition. You get a video email a day and log points at the end of the day for your dietary and lifestyle changes. Entry is $21. Join the party on Instagram under #21daysuperherochallenge!
Not bad, right? Ok, keep reading for why I am upset. Here is the revised version that was edited to “make it flow better”. Does the article below have similarities? Of course. But what makes me the most angry is that not only were my words DRASTICALLY changed without permission, their “edit” keeps plugging themselves.
http://daily.barbellshrugged.com/boost-recovery/ (since been taken down)
by Emily Schromm
Simple ideas can boost your performance.
Hydration is a great example. You might have heard the phrase, “Once you’re thirsty, it’s too late.” That’s true for most people. We get busy. We make a habit of slamming coffee and pre-WOD energy drinks. I love all of that, but I still feel and perform much better when I’m proactive and drinking more water.
Fatigue is a similar problem. I see it time and time again with athletes and clients, included myself. When you are driven and competitive it can be very hard to listen to your body. We push too hard for too long, which can make proper recovery a huge challenge.
Again, I think your best bet is to be more pro-active. If you can get in the habit of identifying signs of under-recovery early you can make better adjustments to your training and grow stronger.
Here are 3 easy tips that you can implement today.
1. Know when to unload
You have to know the difference between good pain and bad pain.
Are you having more joint issues? Do you feel beat-up and less-functional during the day? Does your back tighten or ache after standing for a few minutes? These are all examples of what I would call “bad pain,” or fatigue indicators.
If you experience these sorts of pains and aches you should consider taking a few day’s off to unload. Let these issues heal before they get worse, because they will. It might feel like you are slacking, but just remind yourself that these results you’re after depend on recovery, not the work itself.
Your Rx: Consider pro-active unloading periods every 4 weeks during hard periods of training. A great example would be to slightly reduce or maintain intensity while decreasing your volume (total reps) by 50% or more. This will allow for more complete recovery and fresh records month to month.
2. Make time for play
You can vary your barbell training but it’s hard to avoid getting stale from time to time, especially as you start train harder and get stronger.
Again, you should decrease repetitions periodically to freshen up and boost recovery, but that’s not always enough. You also need a break from the gym environment from time to time.
During periods of rest try something completely different. Load your body in new and creative ways, with something other than a barbell or kettlebell. Don’t force anything, just have fun.
These active rest breaks will help you train with more intensity when you return to heavy WODs.
Your Rx: When you unload make sure to also take a break from your training environment. Devote some days to active recovery. Go outside. Soak up some sunshine. Breathe in fresh air. Walk, run, jog, hike, bike, surf, do some squats with a tree stump, whatever you like. Just have fun and keep the fatigue low.
3. Supplements are supplemental
You have probably heard quite a bit about fish oil, vitamin packs, ZMA and many other supplements that are designed to aide fitness and performance.
Let me say, just like coffee and energy drinks, I’m still a proponent of supplements. They are valuable to my training, but still very supplemental. Other core behaviors are still far more important for performance.
Before you take anything, make sure you’re well rested and well feed. Sleep more often, and try increasing your intake of micronutrients from fresh produce. That’s more powerful than anything you’ll find in a bottle.
Your Rx: The most important thing you can do to increase recovery performance and health is to get 7.5-8 hours of sleep every single night. For more on sleep, check out Dr. Kirk Parsley on Barbell Shrugged. As far as diet goes, consider implementing a meal plan to ensure quality and variety of food. Here’s a great free resource from Robb Wolf.
Again, these are all simple ideas. But if you can master and be consistent with the basics you’re sure to amaze yourself with the results.
Train hard, recover harder!
Moral of the story: when you interview someone, don’t change his or her shit without permission. And…. Recover.