INJURY AND OVERTRAINING (OR UNDER-RECOVERING)posted June 14
OK, we all love Crossfit, and we all love Crossfit Hollywood, but we have to be smart about how we train. Overtraining, or under-recovering, is not good for you and can lead to injury. Whether you were semi-athletic when you joined, or completely sedentary, you have to pace yourself in the beginning and ease your way into it. Yes, we prescribe a 3 day on, 1 day off schedule, but you have to build up to that. If you barely worked out before crossfit, and then jump straight into that, you will more than likely hurt yourself and have to take time off, and nobody wants that. Start off training every other day and see how your body reacts. If that’s ok, try 2 days on, 1 day off for a few weeks and see how you do with that. Build up slowly to an intense schedule. When I trained at Crossfit Oakland, one of the top female athletes there, Candace Hamilton-Hester, told coach Glassman (founder of Crossfit) that her body didn’t react well to 3 on, 1 off, and that she could only do 2 on, 1 off. His response was “Look at you. You’re awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing.” Candace just placed 6th in the NorCal Regional, and won the squat clean thruster event with a #165 lift. So remember, one size does not fit all, and you have to find what works for you. Leave your ego at the door and don’t worry about what other people can do. Just worry about improving yourself at your own pace.
Another component to this is recovery. I’ve heard coaches say “there is no overtraining, only under-recovering.” There is some merit to this. The 2 main reasons for under-recovery are lack of quality food and rest. If your diet does not support the repair of the muscle fibers you constantly break down during WODs, you are not going to recover fast enough. If you consistently miss a full night’s sleep, your body cannot heal itself and be ready to hit the next day head on. Over time, these things can lead to injury. So make sure you get a good balanced diet (preferably paleo or zone, or a combination of both) and plenty of good sleep.
An aspect of recovery you may not consider is time off from training. If you’ve been going hard for 3 or 4 months with no break, you need to take one. You’d be amazed at how good you’ll feel after returning from 4 or 5 days off. This doesn’t mean you do nothing. Maybe you do the stretch class, go for hikes, take a yoga class or something. Our concern is recovery, so low intensity is what we’re after. Last week I took 2 days off, and came back and got a 20# PR on the deadlift, and felt really good about it. We have to think in terms of longevity, and these periodic rests are necessary for longevity. The great Boris Becker played at a professional level for 15 years. This is an astonishingly long career for professional sports. When asked about how he stayed competetive for so long, he jokingly responded that every couple years he’d get injured and have to take a few months off. There is wisdom to this quip.
So remember people, think about the long term, and be smart about how you train. See you at the gym.
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