Post WOD Recovery for the CrossFit Open

woman stretching during post WOD recovery on floor

The CrossFit Open begins TOMORROW, people! If you’ve done the Open, you know that the Open is always fun but also pretty tough. A solid post WOD recovery routine can help you feel great and perform well over the next few weeks.

In this post, we’ll talk about what a good post WOD recovery routine looks like. But first, let’s discuss what the Open is for those newer to CrossFit!

What is the Open?

The CrossFit Open is the official kickoff to CrossFit’s big competitive season.

Athletes all over the world participate in three specific workouts over three weeks.

The top 10 percent of individual competitors move on to the quarterfinals starting in mid-March, and the field narrows to the best competitors from each continent during the semifinals.

The season culminates with the CrossFit Games in August, where the top 40 male and 40 female athletes in the world battle for the title.

CrossFit releases the Open WODs (short for workout of the day) each Thursday for three weeks. And while the WODs are challenging, scaling makes it possible for anyone to participate regardless of experience level (meaning, you should sign up).

Why Do You Need a Post WOD Recovery Plan?

Our programming at Two Six prepares us well for the Open, but some people still find themselves a bit more tired or sore over those three weeks. This is often because athletes tend to push themselves harder during Open workouts.

A good post WOD recovery routine can help lessen fatigue and soreness, making for a better Open experience overall.

So what does a good routine look like? Here are a few tips.

Broaden Your Definition of Post WOD

It’s never a bad idea to walk it off and stretch after a challenging workout.

But a good recovery routine is a 24/7 endeavor.

Ideally, you’ll implement some daily habits that support proper recovery 365 days a year–not just after a workout or during the Open.

Get 7-9 Hours of Sleep

Sleep gives your muscles time to rest, and it’s also when your body’s anabolic (muscle-building) hormones do their best work!

In fact, many experts say that sleep is the number one recovery tool in your toolbox.

Aim for at least 7-9 hours per 24-hour period.

Schedule Active Recovery Days

You might think that working out as much as possible will make you better at CrossFit, but that’s not the case.

Working out too much actually decreases performance (while increasing the risk of injury, burnout, and illness).

Figure out when you plan to do the Open workout each week, then schedule at least two active recovery days.

Examples of active recovery include walking, easy cycling, gentle yoga, or stretching.

Eat Enough Food

Underfueling is a common mistake among CrossFitters, especially those looking to drop a few pounds.

The Open season isn’t a great time to aggressively cut calories, especially if you plan to push hard.

Make sure you get enough calories to support your activity levels, including adequate protein and carbs for muscle recovery and energy.

Be sure, also, to stay away from excess sugar and alcohol–both of which can inhibit recovery.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water helps your body flush away metabolic waste products and can also help your joints stay lubricated.

You don’t need to chug from an old milk gallon all day long, but you do need to stay hydrated.

Most people would benefit from drinking at least 2-3 liters per day.

Minimize Stress

Exercise is a positive stressor, but it’s still a stressor! High-intensity exercise on top of a demanding job, relationship drama, travel, poor sleep, illness, and other stressors can greatly increase your risk of injury, fatigue, burnout, and low mood.

I’m a bit biased, so I’d love to see you minimize stress in other areas of your life so that you can work out a few days per week.

But if that’s not possible, I’d gently suggest dialing back the intensity by scaling or modifying workouts and adding an extra rest day or two.

The Best Post WOD Recovery

As you can see, the best post WOD recovery routine doesn’t just happen after your workout.

It’s a 24/7/365 endeavor!

But that’s no reason to be overwhelmed–you don’t have to tackle all of these at once.

Pick the one that you feel you need the most work on. Identify a couple of strategies to improve your recovery in that area, then ask yourself how confident you are you can actually implement those strategies (don’t bet on getting more sleep if you have a newborn, for example).

And if you need a bit more help formulating a plan, I’d love to help! Click here and select the Free Intro button to schedule a free 15-minute call. We’ll discuss whether health and recovery coaching might be a good fit for you!

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